We've had a bit of a sleep regression around these parts lately. Ok, so that's putting it mildly. Mia's been sleeping for shit, and therefore I've been sleeping for shit too. (Chris sleeps like a log, thanks, I'll let him know you inquired after his well-being). It takes at least an hour, more likely two, of screaming and whining and crying and coddling to get the kid into bed and asleep every night, and then I am damned lucky if I don't spend another three hours in the middle of the night either getting her back to sleep in her bed or giving up, bringing her to bed with me, and then getting her back to sleep with the added bonus of losing my pillows and getting kicked until morning. It sucks.
Do not give me advice. No really. Step back, take a moment, and read this again. Do not give me advice. I've heard it, I've either dismissed it as cruel and insane or tried it, it didn't work for shit. Do not, under any circumstances, give me advice.
And don't get me wrong, I let her try to work it out on her own. The new rule at bedtime is she has to scream for the entire time it takes me to complete a Soduku puzzle from the book Chris gave me two Christmases ago before I go back in. Because it's screaming, not crying, not anything really wrong, just a tantrum. At night, she has to overcome my overwhelming desire to be in bed, which with the combination of being out of practice at this and pregnant to boot is pretty hard to overcome, before I go see what her deal is. I am not jumping at her every murmur, but neither am I letting her cry it out. When I hear crying, I move on the double. Screaming gets a longer leash.
Invariably when I ask her in the morning what the problem was the night before, she tells me "attitude." Hey, at least she's honest and we are all on the same page here.
I've been beginning to feel like I did it all wrong, made a huge mistake, like regardless of how absolutely against everything I believe about parenting and nurturing this child it is, I should have sucked it up and let her cry it out at 4 months and had done with it. And I don't even really believe it works - I think sleep is an individual thing and draconian methods of trying to control it are inappropriate and that leaving a small child to cry alone in the dark has to be, simply must be, damaging to that child. And yet, I was still thinking maybe I should have done it, that maybe I should do it with the next one.
And then yesterday morning, we were playing Naptime. This involves Mia tucking her dolls in for a nap and then getting them up to change their poopy diapers and then tucking them in for another nap over and over for hours. It's scintillating. Mia had Dolly, and Dolly was all wrapped up in her blanket ready for naptime, and Mia had already sung her Rock A Bye Baby and the ABCs, and then Mia said to Dolly "Don't cry, Mama right here, Mama always get you."
And with that, she saved me. Sure, I may have to rock her to sleep every night until she's 35, but my kid knows that Mama is always there for her, Mama always comes, Mama will always help her. And that? If I never do another good thing in my life, that is enough.