Wednesday, February 8

"Cry it out"

I always thought I was against the bedtime sleep method of "crying it out" for kids who've lived in orphanages since they've had enough crying it out to last a lifetime. But after five months of sleeping with Gwen, I'm ready to try anything new. Also, everyone I know who's done this has been successful. EVERYONE. Everyone gets a good night sleep and is so much happier. Lately, I've been having fantasies about being one of those people!

As you might remember, Gwen didn't have a front on her crib anymore. She climbed out of it at about 15 months so we had to drop the mattress all the way down to the floor to keep her in. Then she would only sleep if I layed down with her next to the crib. Finally I put a mattress for me there and, ultimately, we took the front panel off the crib completely.

Today, I put it back on. And I moved the twin bed back to its intended place in the nursery. While I did this, I felt incredibly guilty. Gwen was playing at my feet and being her usual beautiful little self. Little did she know that in a few hours, she was going to be dropped into this white cage and left all alone in a dark room for 11 hours. I really dreaded sunset!

Why are we doing this? You see, Gwen's pretty easy to get off to sleep. But she doesn't stay asleep. She wakes up several times per night and Mommy is the only person who can make her happy. And the only way Mommy can make her happy is to lay down with her.

Lately, though, that's not been enough. She's started insisting on climbing off the bed and banging on the closed door of her room and screaming. I'm pretty sure she's half asleep when she's doing this because she's incapable of reason. If I try to touch her, she'll scream. If I try to carry her back to bed, she'll scream louder. Monday, it lasted for 90 minutes and I thought I was going to lose my mind. Tuesday, it happened again and I actually had to leave her in her room - screaming and banging on the door - while I went back to my room and tried to compose myself. Those were very bad nights! But even a good night isn't much better. Gwen's hard to sleep with. She makes all sorts of noises and she throws herself around. I can't tell you how many times she's headbutted me or kicked me in the face. I've learned to sleep with both hands guarding my face! I've learned to survive on as little as 3 hours of sleep per night. I can't even remember when I got more than four hours of uninterrupted sleep. I don't sleep with my husband anymore. And there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

So, tonight was our first night of letting Gwen cry it out in her crib and put herself to sleep. We went upstairs at 8:30 and read to her for 15 minutes. She cried the whole time. Then we kissed her goodnight and turned off her light and closed her door.

At the 8 minute mark, she was still screaming at the top of her little lungs.
At 13 minutes, she was silent. That was an hour ago and all seems to be well. We'll see what the evening brings.


Blogger Gracencameronsmomy said...

This is so hard, but we did it and now Gracue sleeps 12 hours at night (after waking every hour screaming the first 6 months). Gwen knows she is loved and she will be might take a while, but it will get better. Good Luck! Lisa

February 08, 2006 10:37 PM  
Blogger ExCindrela said...

Good Luck Donna!!! I hope it works for you: after we were home and had Tenley on a schedule...we tried for several days, but after the night when there were **6 hours** (no joke) of Ten screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs we gave up. Sometimes she's just awake at 3...just like her Mommy, although ironically not on the same days as Mommy. She's better now, but she still has "nightmares" where we'll find her wailing and inconsolable. I hope Gwen goes gently into that "goodnight"!


February 08, 2006 10:38 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

Good luck! This is not an easy transition and yes terrible guilt. But, you have to have your sanity (via actual sleep) in order to be the great parent in the daylight.

February 09, 2006 3:39 AM  
Blogger Amy C said...

I am the same way with Natalie from day one... She has maybe went to sleep without me, daddy or grandma holding her once.... I actually tried last night to have her lay on the couch head on the pillow and cover her up that way she is near me but I'm not holding her well... It didn't work... We were up till after 11pm and I had to wake at 5:30 for work... She is a stubborn as I am...
I need to do that with Natalie I hate to see her cry though...It breaks my heart...

February 09, 2006 4:07 AM  
Blogger Lisa and Tate said...

Oh Wow... this would be so hard!!! Let's hope that she remained asleep and you finally got more than 3 hours of sleep last night. Waiting to hear the outcome....BTW, Gwen is so cute!!!


February 09, 2006 5:17 AM  
Blogger Lauri said...

How did it go? I'm was thinking the same thing as you about not letting children from orphanages 'cry it out' but I guess in the long run, a routine is better and healthier for everyone! I hope it works for you guys! (I love her nursery)

February 09, 2006 6:28 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

I am a HUGE fan of this method, and I wish the same outcome for you. Our son was waking 6-7 times a night, I was getting NO sleep, and nearly fell asleep at the wheel when driving. That was the final straw that made me realize something needed to be done. The first couple of nights were not fun, but by the 5th night, he was sleeping thru, 11-12 hours. So in less than a week, we went from having a child who needed our help 6-7 times a night to fall back asleep to having him sleep completely thru the night....this happened 10 months ago...he's now 20 months, and has slept thru since. He wakes up so happy and ready to start his day.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. Gwen could not be any cuter!

February 09, 2006 6:57 AM  
Blogger Bridget said...

Did you put a nightlight in there for her too? I did the cry it out method with my two younger girls and things went better with a nightlight.

Also, what you discribed with how she acts when she is asleep, sounds a little like night terrors and sleepwalking. You can talk to your pediatrician about that.

February 09, 2006 8:30 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

hard as it is...the kids need to go to sleep on their's no fun when they scream...been throught it 2 times...but when we all sleep, the world is a MUCH better place!

night terrors could be what Gwen may be having from time to happens to a lot of kids...Meigan would have them when waking from a nap...could go on for 45mins. or more at times the first year home...we would leave her in her crib safe until she came out of it... i hadn't seen terrors waking from naps before Catie had them after she was first home, but they didnt' happen for very long...some kids have them for quite a long time..

it is hard ..but you'll all be better for having sleep and Gwen will get past may take you a week or more, but it's worth it!

if you need a good book on sleep..Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Children by Marc Weissbluth is a FANTASTIC book on sleep...not a Ferber type book..just a good book on the facts of sleep, kids, etc....

good luck!

February 09, 2006 10:31 PM  
Blogger Dennis & Amy said...

You have a beautiful family!

I love your nursery... I was curious what the paint color is called? I've been looking for that exact shade for our girls' room.

LID 6/28/05 for our 3rd blessing!

February 13, 2006 7:40 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Amy, it's called "Christopher Robin's Swing". It's one of the Disney paint colors available at Home Depot. :)

Kristin and everyone else --- We're on our 5th or 6th night of this new process and it's going SO well! Gwen really doesn't cry at all when we leave her room now. We do read to her for about 20 minutes while she's laying in her crib. Then we say goodnight and turn off her light and leave her room. She sleeps 11 straight hours and we all wake up happy!

We can't use this method for naps though. We let her take her nap on the twin bed in her room.


February 13, 2006 8:07 PM  

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