Monday, December 01, 2008

"I Don't Make Monkeys, I Just Train 'Em"

First off, kudos if you recognize that quotation from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. Second, I don't actually train monkeys. What I do train, apparently, is Harry: I am the proud mother of a "trained night crier" and a "trained night feeder," according to the pediatrician.

Today was our 6-month visit. Harry weighed in at a healthy 17 pounds, 4 ounces and is 26.5 inches tall. This puts him on pace to be 5'6" or maybe even 5'7", which is more than my diminutive self and likewise Kevin could have ever dreamed, but that's projecting an infant's adult height based on a few measurements, so I'm not holding my breath that Harry will be able to get things off the tallest shelf for me in 15 years.

Anyways, back to training monkeys. I mean, babies. The pediatrician was sympathetic when I explained the sleep situation at our house. She promptly xeroxed and handed me three pages. As I read them after dinner, I found that I was guilty of the following:
  1. Nursing the baby until he is asleep.
  2. Feeding often during the day.
  3. Holding or rocking the baby until he is asleep.
Apparently any one of these is enough to train a baby to cry upon waking instead of soothing himself back to sleep. So what did I do? All three! The only one I'm not guilty of is putting Harry to bed with a bottle, but if we were using formula, I'd probably have that one on my rap sheet, too. Kevin and I are particularly fond of #3. It's been our standby for basically Harry's entire time here on Earth. And now we are so busted.

So, tonight we got serious. We started a bedtime routine tonight: lotion, pajamas, rocking with me and his blue puppy, and a story (okay, three) from Kevin before Harry was put in his crib awake. We checked on him every five minutes while he cried his little heart out, taking turns so he would know that Mama and Daddy were both still around. It took half an hour, but he's been asleep for almost 20 minutes now. I'm expecting a long night of broken sleep and no REM cycles, but the xeroxed advice proclaims that "if you try the following recommendations, your child's behavior will probably improve within 2 weeks."

Update in two weeks, Dear Reader. Wish me luck.


Bria said...

Good luck with that!! When I babysit for my friend's baby boy, it always breaks my heart when he cries when I put him down for bed. I want so badly to rush back in and hold him until he sleeps, but I was told this is a no-no. I can't even imagine how heart-breaking it is when it's your own baby!

By the way, I hope you mean "Dear Reader" and not "Dead Reader." I'll chalk that up to tired mommy syndrome!

Kate said...

Good edit! I'm sure "Dear Reader" got crossed with "dead tired" in my baby-addled brain. . .