Tuesday, November 8, 2011

you can't please everyone so you gotta please yourself

OK so I started to feel like a real hypocrite trying to get parents of children with autism who I work with to tow the line with their children when I go home and get manipulated by a tiny drooling baldy myself.
MOM!  I need you...you and I are ONE!

Sloane had been stretching out the night routine of holding and rocking for well over an hour and then was still sleeping poorly after that waking up to nurse numerous times a night and not sleeping well unless she was in bed with me.  I had to draw the line and I wanted to draw it before she could crawl out of her crib (she already pulls herself up and stands there).  Enter Dr. Ferber's Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems (revised 2006 edition). 

I wanted to be one of those awesome Dr. Sears (author of, Nighttime Parenting: How to Get Your Baby and Child to Sleep, The Attachment Parenting Book, and The Baby Book, among several others-- like that highly controversial Vaccine Book) moms all the way.  But in all honesty my sanity was suffering.  I haven't slept for longer than 4 hours in almost 1 year. And frankly, Dr. Sears method was awesome for my preemie, for my newborn, for my infant...but for my emerging toddler it wasn't working. 

This is one of those topics. You know the ones, the ones that start mom wars and mompetition (see also bottle or breast, private or public, stay at home or work outside the home, cloth or disposable, vaccinate or not, etc ad nauseum.

Immediately when I read the Ferber method the scientific language appealed to me i.e. "gradual extinction".  It also sparked my interest in the area of separation anxiety.  Part of the reason I keep Sloane with me so often is that I can't bear not to nurse her, hold her, sleep next to her because she is SO anxious, after I read the book I began to see this anxiety from a separate viewpoint. 

Ferber asserts that Sloane needs to see her and I as two separate people and the nursing and sleeping relationship (that we have) may be hindering that and that she needs my help to learn that gently (although that does involve some tears, which hurts).  Also I had the "cry-it-out" fears in my head, that I was just going to have to close the door and not open it til morning.  But gradual extinction involves leaving her for longer periods of time and going in frequently (and fading that) to reassure her that I am still there (easing the separation anxiety and feeling of abandonment).  I liked that part because my other worry was "what if she is crying for a reason?" (my mind goes right to the craziest most unlikely scenario: kidnapper). 

Also I wasn't sure that I should continue night nursing (upwards to 6 times a night!).  Ferber has a way in his book to continue but I found that it might be too confusing for her (since she does not understand time she would not understand why sometimes I come in and pick her up to nurse and other times I come in only to comfort her briefly).  She is not nursing for nutrition at night she is nursing to comfort herself and have herself drift back to sleep.   

She does not seem to have "shut down syndrome" as Sears cautions in his Sleep Book   (the reason I have tried to avoid any and all tears for eleven months, which is frankly exhausting) although it's only been 2 days of this method.  She did not cry at all for naps today.  She snuggled in to me and I said "it's nap time." took her to her bed and laid her down.  She gave me an anxious look and I reassured her that I would see her in the afternoon.  She rolled over quietly and closed her eyes.  This.is.huge.

For us this is working, now.  I fully expect that no one method is a cure all. 

And now, something non-controversial....

how cute am I?

And a series of shots of Sloane and her cousin (14 month old) Kolten....

trust me, I'm a doctor

this is your first problem

It's not a tumor

I'm going to listen to your heart

Don't cry
You were a good girl for your exam
title courtesy of Ricky Nelson: Garden Party


Chris said...

The crying is rough, but it works! We did Ferber back in July and after the first week or so, it's been wonderful!!! Sleep is a beautiful thing.

Ashley said...

11 months?! Get OUT of town. I don't even believe it!

That series of Halloween pics is TOO cute!