An Apology

I have to apologize for something I did. A couple of days ago in the afternoon you were clearly exhausted and needed to nap, but you just would not nap. You’ve been doing this a lot lately, fighting sleep when you are visibly tired. We’re not sure if you’re trying to transition to one nap a day, if you’re teething or not feeling well, if you’re going through something developmentally that is making it hard for you to sleep. We just know that oftentimes it’s hard to get you to sleep. Sometimes you’ll fall asleep in my arms, but the instant I put you in your crib you wake up screaming. This happened today, multiple times. After I’d spent over an hour with you, feeding, rocking, putting you in the crib, picking you back up, starting the process over, on the third attempt of laying you, asleep, in your crib and you waking back up, I decided to leave the room and see if you’d settle down.

You used to do this – wake up right when we laid you down – and you’d cry for about 30 seconds and then fall asleep. Even now you often awake in the middle of the night, cry for a few seconds, roll over and settle back to sleep. So I told myself I’d give you five minutes to settle (admittedly, in retrospect, this was way too long) and I’d keep an eye on you on the monitor. I went into the next room and watched you. You stood up, holding onto the side of the crib, and cried and cried and cried. After about two minutes, right when I was about to give in, you sat down, sucked your thumb, bent forward and appeared like you might be going to sleep. I was so relieved and happy. And then, in about 5 seconds, you sat up again, then stood up, and resumed crying. Since you’d come so close to settling, I decided to wait the five minutes I’d already set for the limit. You stood and cried the entire time. Finally after five minutes I went in and picked you up, and held you tight while rocking you. You rested your head on my shoulder and slowly settled down. You had tears running down your face and you were still gasping to catch your breath. It was awful. I started crying too, and apologized for putting you through that, putting you through something that accomplished nothing.

It’s so hard figuring out what’s right and wrong, what works and doesn’t, what method of the seemingly hundreds that are out there are best for us. Obviously this is all trial and error, and everything we do we try to balance between what intuitively feels right, what research says is best, what we hear from others works, and an abundance of other drivers. Add to this the fact that often once we find something that works, or settle into a routine, right when we think we have this parenting thing figured out, you change. You sleep differently, or become mobile, or react differently to things that once used to make you happy. It’s a constantly moving target. So please always remember that we are doing our very best, that we’re learning as we go, that we love so you much and that at the bottom of all of our actions is that love for you. And please accept from me my first, of what I’m sure will be many, apology.

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