Friday, March 13, 2009

The Schedule, Day 2

Is it going to be totally boring for me to give you daily updates on Executing The Schedule? Well, since I might not even be able to post every day, I'm just not going to worry about it. And since this is my first attempt at real discipline in the daily lives of my children, I'll just jot something down when I can, for posterity.

Day 2 wasn't great.

While our day started off really well with a 7:50 wake-up (which is better than the 6am awakenings I've been getting), the Morning Nap was a flop. Shoghi slept for an hour, but when Max woke up after his typical 30 minutes, I couldn't get him back to sleep.

max visiting in shoghi's crib after morning nap.
look at those red cheeks max has. in the middle of all this sleep madness,
i am also trying to figure out if he has a milk allergy.
we've tried him on soy and powdered goat's milk so far...
let me tell you - the smell of digested goat's milk is NASTY.
tomorrow i'm putting him back on soy.
i don't think i gave it enough time on our last go.

So, when they were both up and fed, we immediately packed them into the car so we could go to a little shopping district for a nice walk in the sun, and I needed to go to a bookstore for a little professional research. Unfortunately, even though they'd both been up for less than an hour, they proceeded to fall asleep in the FIVE MINUTE DRIVE to Hawthorne. Sh*t! I was exasperated and uncertain of what to do. We woke them up, thinking (in error) that they would continue to sleep in the stroller.

Two hours later, at the time they should have been getting ready for afternoon nap, we headed home. Guess what happened: Max fell asleep in the car, while Shoghi had a complete meltdown because he was hungry. So, due to the screaming, we drove right home, and then Max woke up (after sleeping for 5 minutes). He slept for a total of 30 minutes again in the afternoon, giving him total daytime naps of an hour. Worse than usual, and of course he was a complete mess until bedtime at 7. Then, Shoghi crashed from all the crying, slept for 20 minutes, and likewise wouldn't go back to sleep after his bottle. For a total of an hour and 20 minutes of napping. The No Cry Sleep Solution says you don't even count a 30 minute nap, so basically, Max didn't nap at all today. How do you think tonight's going to be?

You might think I'm just crazy or stupid for trying to get them on this schedule without doing some CIO (cry it out). Well, like Devon, I agree that there is a difference between fussing and all-out crying, and I can live with fussing. But crying just seems to violate a trust that I believe is between me and my children. They have their own Self - they have volition, they have sovereignty (so beautifully explained in "Everyday Blessings" by Jon & Myla Kabat Zin), and if they are just left to cry, I feel strongly that I am betraying them, even if my motives are ultimately going to "help" them. They can trust only very few people at this point in their lives, and they have to put their entire existence into my hands. They cannot come to me if they are upset; they cannot call to me except by crying. And while crying takes many forms, and I can distinguish between some of them, I know the cry, the language, the message and meaning of their cry if I leave them to do something (fall asleep) they've never had to do on their own (ok, aside from when they were in the NICU. Let's not return to that time, if you please).

Aside from all this falling asleep theory, there's also the whole dilemma of what to do when they wake up. It would be - ok, it will be -nice if they could fall back to sleep by themselves. During the night, though, I find myself empathising with them: we spend the whole day together, so what if they just want a little touch point in the night? Am I going to leave them to cry back to sleep? I don't think so. I know that when I have shared a bed with a partner, I have often rolled over in the night for the sake of taking comfort in that person's presence. Isn't it strange that the adults will be cuddled up while the babies lie alone? Why shouldn't the babies want the same thing we do? Why shouldn't I give that to them freely? Yes, it will invariably mean that I won't sleep as well, but they will not be so small forever, and if they wake up and we settle back down into a family bed, we'll all have room to return to sleep easily, in the comfort of each others presence.

You may find it funny that I can leave this relationship entirely up to other families to evaluate and choose for themselves - I really do understand the pros of CIO sleep training and know that it can sometimes be just a short transition. I worked as a nanny for years and know the ease of putting a baby to bed who has been trained. I also know the rigors of babycare and leave it to the hopefully throughtful discretion of other parents to choose their path without my judgment. I'm not here to say that my way is right - I just want to share my process and try to explain it the best I can. (I'm not a person big on debating politics, if you hadn't guessed that already).

a simple, small ikea crib is what i chose for both boys

So, here I am... on Night Two of The Schedule... we'll see how it goes. Oh, and as I was explaining to my mom tonight, I am envisioning this as a several-tiered process -we establish the schedule, then we see the boys anticipate their naps and nighttime sleep, then we start decreasing the amount of bouncing, then they are laid in their cribs before they are complely asleep, etc. My ultimate goal is to be able to put them both down in their cribs for whatever sleep they are needing, and allow them to fall asleep themselves. I know they can do this. I know I waited a long time to get to this place... but we were living with another family, and then visiting my family, and then in transition in our new home. This is really our first opportunity, and it feels right to do this slowly and deliberately so I can watch the boys and see how they react to each step of transition.

So there you have it. Day 2. Feels like a long way to go.

Edited To Add: I also wanted to be clear that I have not ruled out sleep training that involves CIO, believe it or not. Maybe that's why this is so hard: I'm considering all options. I just feel like this process I have described is the most in line with my beliefs about my relationship with my boys, so I will pursue it as an experiment and see if we can make it work. I've been doing a lot of independent investigation on sleep, reading materials I had previously frowned upon. Just so's you know... And I know some of you will think I'm feeling like I have to defend myself here... no, it's not really that. I just want to do my best in describing how I'm making these big parenting decisions. There is a lot of debate over these philosophies, and it's important to me that I am clear within myself as to how and why I am choosing this course. Make sense?


  1. What a beautiful post!! I love it :) I am sending you loads of good schedule sleep vibes, you are awesome!!

    Noah, the 7 mo old I am taking care of at the moment (he's 8/5/08, a few weeks early so almost the same as your boys), has red cheeks often and his mom says it's from teething... is that possibly what's going on with Max?

    Though I do often tie not sleeping in with allergies. I have a seen many an older babe be completely turned around by removing wheat. So hmm. Good luck!!

  2. I've read that about the cheeks, Devon. Max's have been red and rashy since pretty early, though, so I'm guessing (and so is our ND) that it's milk. Teething is definitely part of the terrain, though!

  3. Celeste, I would absolutely love to have a long mama chat about baby sleep with you! I also know of another family that used a sleep consultant that went very gently and wonderfully. xo's and it was so fun to "play" the other day!

  4. I'd agree that the red cheeks could be teething, but the dry rashy nature makes me suspect food allergy too.

    1. the first pix... shoghi looks just like you!
    2. I think the process sounds good. YOu can't just read one book and jump into a sleep plan, figuring out what works for you and your babies is the only way.
    3. I'm thinking of you and sending you lots of sleepy luck vibes!

  5. Mine sleep pretty good but even so, I feel like my life is ALL ABOUT SLEEP! My rule for naps is - if I have to go in 4 times to try to put one of them back to sleep, I give up!

    The boys are lucky to have you so concerned with making sure they sleep well. Don't be too hard on yourself! You're doing awesome. :-)

  6. I wish you well. We all have to make hard decisions. I know that night weaning was a hard one for us. He SOBBED. I just knew I had to get up at the butt crack of dawn and constant nursing ALL NIGHT would kill me. We snuggled and rocked and patted and cried. Sometimes the best decisions are the hardest ones to make. I'm not a big CIO fan but I am a huge Celeste fan. You do what is right for your family. Remember, you rock.

  7. Girl, you don't need to explain your reasons for not jumping to CIO...but I appreciate your perspective. Having one child that I do not feel right letting cry, and a second that in my opinion NEEDS to on occasion, I obviously feel a little differently, but the one thing I do believe is that NOBODY knows your children and your relationship better than you do. And you have to do what you feel is best to honor that relationship and care for the little people God has entrusted to you.

    Anyway, it's HARD getting babies on a schedule, and even though I don't know how to do it any other way, I imagine it's even harder when you're dealing with TWO babies with distinctly different needs and personalities. The three of you will figure it out, in your way.

    As good as my two are on their schedule, Rowan consistently shorts her naps. And Evan sneaks them in when I think he shouldn't. That's just how it goes some days. And some of the nights STILL suck as a result. You'll get there.

  8. Allergies could explain the lack of napping as well as the red cheeks. Salicylate sensitivities are often the cause of red cheeks. I think food sensitivities are common with PCOS, although I don't know why.
    Each baby is different. I actually know of two that have, from the start, liked to be put down to fall asleep -- no training needed. These are the ones that everyone is comparing their babies to, unfortunately.

  9. Oh, and if it is food allergies, you will be amazed at the difference once you eliminate the allergen. I am thinking dairy, wheat, soy, corn would be the ones to start with, except for the red cheeks, which scream salicylates. Hmm.