Big Bad Mommy

If there’s anything else in this world that makes you feel more like a monster than letting your baby cry himself to sleep, I don’t want to know about it. It just took 45 minutes of tears (him) and struggling (me) to get him down for his nap.

Before you write me off as the worst mommy ever, keep in mind that I put him in his crib after gently rocking him to sleep for 15 minutes. I told him a couple of stories, hummed softly, the works. Finally, he was asleep.

The instant his head hits the crib mattress, he’s awake again. And this is the way it has been for the last six days. Not good.

So, in the immortal words of that seminal 80’s band Heart, I had to “harden my heart, swallow my tears and turn and leave him there.” Sure, I went back in every 5-10 minutes, comforted him and then left again when he tried to sit back up.

Finally, thinking I could not stand it anymore and was just going to pick him up and be done with it, I went in, stroked his little head, and he calmed down. In a few minutes, he was off to Dreamland (again).

This is a moral victory, I would say.

‘So, why’s it so important that he put himself to sleep?’ you may be asking. Well, let me tell you. It’s our opinion that it is important that August be able to fall asleep without using us as a crutch. I don’t want to scar him for life by leaving him alone in a dark room all by himself while wide-awake and terrified, but if he’s been cuddled and sung to and read stories to, etc., and he’s on the verge of sleep, it’s our opinion that he should be able to lie down in his bed and fall asleep the rest of the way easily, while we stand by with a comforting hand on him.

It has worked before. We just got sidetracked a few weeks ago when he started teething. And then Kim came to visit and we didn’t want to disturb her. And then he caught a cold. So what started out as a few nights of waking up in the middle of the night has evolved into a full-fledged, I-don’t-sleep-anywhere-except-in-bed-with-my-mommy-while-nursing disaster.

So there.

But it still doesn’t make me feel any less guilty. I hate to hear my son cry.