Second Child Syndrome
So before I even start this, let me give you a little disclaimer; I am, in no way, judging any other parents for how they choose to deal with their children. I am merely comparing my experience between the two of mine and how my parenting has drastically changed from one child to two.
When we went to Jordy's 2 month appointment, our pediatrician asked me when I was moving him to his bedroom and crib. "Uhhhh, what? He's like brand new. I haven't even thought about it." She proceeded to tell me that they suggest moving babies to their rooms in the 8-12 week period, and I looked at her like she had trees growing out of her head. She recognized the look on my face for what it was. Fear.
So then we spent a considerable amount of time talking about what I was afraid of and why I was nervous about putting him in his room. I didn't actually have a good answer. His bedroom was a mere 8 feet from my bedroom and I have a video monitor with night vision and zoom. Every excuse I had started with, "Well he,...". This was when I got the greatest advice I have ever gotten as a parent. Especially to a new baby. "Who's the boss? You or him?"
"Uhhhh, me I guess." YES. I AM THE BOSS. Not this tiny little baby who literally knows nothing, me! So, I became the boss. One week later, Jordy was in his room and his own bed and has never left. When he turned four months, I decided I wasn't going to rock him to sleep anymore. Oh, and he's rolling over so I'm not going to swaddle him anymore either. It took 3 nights of going to war with that child, but guess what? By the end of the weekend, he was going to bed in fleece jammies and was putting himself to sleep.
At six months, we had just suffered through the 4 month sleep regression, a double ear infection that lasted a month, and 6 weeks of a killer diaper rash from the antibiotics. He was getting up every 3 hours to nurse and I was losing my ever-loving mind because I knew he didn't actually need those night feeds. So, we went to war, AGAIN. Four, LONG, nights of crying it out and shoving the no-no(pacifier) back into his mouth 85 times and he was back to a short feed around 4am and going right back to sleep.
Naturally, when I got pregnant with Roscoe, I knew that my "going to war" method was going to be how I dealt with all the woes of a new baby. I was going to be the boss, right from the beginning and not let that little human rule my world. HAHA! Jokes on me!
Roscoe has successfully ran my life for the last 5 months. AND I'VE LET HIM. Between the postpartum anxiety and depression, his minor health issues, and just wanting to get more than 2 hours of sleep at a time, all while taking care of him and his toddler brother, I have unsuccessfully made my stand as the boss.
Roscoe will be 5 months old tomorrow and guess what? He's still sleeping in my room, in a swing, attempting to self soothe multiple times a night. And until two nights ago, I catered to his every whim. I bolt out of bed at the littlest sound, searching in earnest for the freaking no-no to shove back into his mouth before he starts screaming at the top of his lungs. I didn't want him to cry it out because I didn't want to wake up Nick, knowing he would have to get up and go to work the next day, or God forbid Jordy. Then I'd have to deal with two kids up in the middle of the night.
So in my room he sleeps, right next to my bed. But two nights ago, while I had just spent 4 hours of him fussing every 15 minutes, I'd had enough. As I stood next to our bed bouncing him up and down while trying to get him to let out a burp, I bawled my eyes out in frustration and exhaustion. Then, I remembered those three words from Miss Denise(our pediatrician and one of my favorite people ever). "Who's the boss?". I looked up at Nick, who was trying to console me in any way he could, and said, "holy crap, he's the boss of me!"
And that was the end of that. Last night, he started fussing much earlier than he normally does for a feed and I knew it was time. We were going to cry it out. Nick immediately went in to the living room and shut the door. Jordy's sound machine is on max volume so its always been very unlikely that he would hear him, but the fear was real, and before, I wasn't going to risk it. But now, I needed to be the boss. So cry it out we did. Seven long minutes later, I deposited the no-no back in his mouth for the 50th time, he turned his head, and went to sleep for close to 3 more hours. MOM WIN!
This morning, I woke up feeling like a different person. For the first time in just under 5 months, I felt like I had a little bit of the control back that I so desperately missed while wading through the chaos of a new baby. I think Roscoe felt it too. When I rolled over this morning and saw his sweet face smiling at me instead of screaming his head off, I felt like we turned a corner. I immediately unzipped him from his sack and brought him in to bed with me.
Roscoe and I don't get a lot of moments like this. Usually Jordy is getting up the same time as us and we have 500 things to do and I'm rushing to get out of bed and get our day started. But this morning, this morning we got some uninterrupted moments of just him and I. And from now on, mama is going to make a conscious effort to create more of these moments, just with him. Our reward for the hard work we've been putting in trying to figure out WTF we're doing. Because really, we have no idea, but damnit if we aren't trying.
I'm not saying this method of sleep training and parenting is what works for everyone or every child. We're going to try it out and test the waters and see how it goes. But if I had to bet, we're both going to be much happier with someone taking the helm of this runaway ship rather than the two of us floating aimlessly around waiting for someone to rescue us from this chaos. We're going to rescue ourselves.
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