Monday, April 21, 2008

A whole new world

I am a fan of sleep training. No, fan is too weak a word. I love sleep training. I adore sleep training. I want to marry sleep training. Or a great sleep trainer. Which is what I did!

We are through night three of the great sleep experiment, and I am going to call it a success. Last night, we got Jacob to sleep after his "bedtime ritual" of a diaper and clothes change, a bottle, a story or two, and a little nursing to calm him down. I decided to be brave and help with the training this time so that the husband could get some sleep. I put him in his crib, and he started crying before I walked away. It was heartbreaking, but the video monitor was unexpectedly comforting. He was crying up a storm, but I could see that he wasn't hurt, and I knew he wasn't hungry (he'd just eaten more food than he'd ever had in one sitting, actually) or wet so I could watch (somewhat) calmly. And he cried...and then stopped, after just 8 minutes or so. And we couldn't believe it, so we watched and waited...and he stayed asleep. And eventually we left command central and went into the other part of the house...

...and I didn't know what to do with myself! I folded clothes. I cleaned. I thought about all the cleaning and organizing and grading and reading (!) I could do in the future with some free time in the evenings. And I almost cried for the second time this weekend! It's remarkable to think about having my nights back for sleep and whatever else I need to do. Because Jacob stayed asleep all night, with just a short crying bout at 11pm, which we think was just a bad dream. But every other time he woke up (and there were only two), he ate and then went right back to bed without a whimper. He's even found his fingers and was sucking contentedly on them for quite some time this morning before I got him up to eat.

Actually, the real winner here is the baby, as evidenced by his behavior just two days into the training. Jacob has always been an affable baby but has had a tendency toward the frenetic. No longer. He slept halfway through church, ate, and then sat calmly through the rest. When it was time for another nap, he went down (okay, to his swing) without a fuss and slept for two hours, unheard of during the day. He is more cheerful in the mornings, happier throughout the day, and ready to go to bed more or less when it's time. To think, the trying parts of his personality were largely the result of lack of sleep. Go figure!

Ah, I've found the light at the end of this particular tunnel and it's beautiful, baby!

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