Thursday, April 10, 2014

You and Me and Ferber Makes Three

So my son sleeps now.

And not just a little sleep---ALOTTA sleep.

 Liam had this nasty little habit of going to bed at 9pm SHARP, after I've satisfied his need to rock and cuddle and sing and talk, and then he wakes up at 11:30pm every night screaming.  I'm more than happy to bring him into our room and cuddle him and press our foreheads together and go to sleep with my life sized teddy bear.  If you've been following the blog, you know my son doesn't sleep.  He goes through phases where he does, but they're short lived.

A few weeks ago, my husband decided (through sleep deprived, clenched teeth), "This kid HAS to sleep.  Read.  The.  Book."   This was after a night long vigil that ended with the contents of Liam's drawers thrown all over his room after screaming for a full 45 minutes (after which Andy laid wide awake audibly wondering if he was dead or asleep.)  It was a long night.

When Liam was in the hospital, the ped's neurologist said, "Try Ferber.  You won't regret it."  And I smiled and nodded.  Went home, downloaded the book...and never read it.  THIS, Andy deciphered, is why Liam hadn't slept the night through since 5 months old.  Because I had not read the book.

How was I supposed to do all my mommy/wifey things AND read a book?  If I would have time to read a book, I'd take that time, and do something else.  Something less frivolous- like vacuuming, or loading the dishwasher, or maybe shaving my legs properly.  The mere NOTION that I was not reading the book ON PURPOSE infuriated me.  "YOU read the book, Andy.  Since you want it so bad.  You read it."  But alas, it was on MY Kindle.  (Yeah yeah, you can exchange books on the Kindle.  Not doing that.)

So, as fate would have it, our whole family simultaneously come down with the stomach virus and I got ALOTTA time to read.  Amazing how sleepy a book on sleeping can actually make you.  I'll admit, I skipped like 5 chapters.  Spare me the science, Doc, just tell me how to get my son to sleep.

"Put him down drowsy, but asleep."  Um, yeah, we tried that.  LIKE A MILLION TIMES.  He screams.  He comes to find us.

"Close the door."  Nooooo.  Not closing the door.  He could die in there and then what?

"Check on him in increments of 3-5-10 minutes."  See, here's the clincher.  Not only do I have to leave him, and make him scream.  I have to do it MULTIPLE times?  This isn't sleep training, it's punishment for the parents.

So we started.  It was automatically MY job to carry out this training.  Fine.  I would prove to dumb old Dr. Ferber that his method was stupid and it didn't work on my kid.  Besides- I already miss MOST of my son's life.  Why not take bedtime snuggles away from me too?  We brushed teeth, listened to three Sesame Street songs, prayed, and then into bed we went.  I kissed him and told him I loved him and that I would be RIGHT BACK.

And then it was 6:45 the next morning.

That's it.

And it's been two weeks now, and we've had probably 2 rough nights out of all of them.

I've been following that same schedule to a T, and it's worked every night.  Never even had to USE the 3-5-10 minute checking times.  Teeth, three songs, prayer, bed.  Every night.  And he's just been AMAZING.

But I stick with the fact that we have tried it all before and it didn't work at any of those points.  Maybe it's the toddler bed.  Maybe it's the fact that he's 18 months and he's a smidgen better at reasoning.  I stand by all the choices we've made pertaining to sleep thus far- as I really do think we've always done the best we could with what we were handed at the time.

Is it a phase?  Maybe.  Hopefully not.  The test will come, I suppose, when we leave him overnight with Nana or something.  In the meantime, Andy and I have rediscovered how much we really like each other.  And as it turns out, there's much you can get done after 9pm without someone at your knees.  Also, sometimes I save my special Del Monte peaches for this moment, so I don't have to share (read: relinquish ALL OF THEM) to a toddler with an insatiable appetite for whatever you may be eating.

And MAYBE the doctor and Andy know what they're talking about.  But don't tell them I said that.