Monday, June 20, 2005

Bedtime Ritual

The parenting book I'm reading now is pretty anti-Ferber, and it's guilted me out, so I try to put Sofi to bed easy at night, rather than just dump her in crib and walk away and let her wail.

I've got a whole system - I rock her in the glider chair in the dark while a wind-up Eeyore plays Brahms lullaby. Usually, she nods off before the lullaby is even over, or soon after. Holding her arms still against her body helps. Then it's a process of ever-so-slowly getting her from chair to crib. I let go of her arms. I wait 30 seconds. I adjust my grip so I can carry her. I wait 30 seconds. I stop rocking. I wait 30 seconds. I slowly stand up - she's very sensitive to vertical changes. I take her to the crib and slowly lower her - the hard part. I leave the gate open for this part, so I don't have to lower her too far. Lowering her is much more likely to wake her than the click of raising the gate. Usually she wakes up in the process of trying to lay her down and get my hands out from under her, but usually she nods right off again. Then I slowly raise the gate--the click usually makes her twitch, but she doesn't wake--and make my escape.

Tonight didn't go so easy.

If she wakes up on the dismount, I can usually rock her body, holding her arms against her stomach with one hand and her head with the other hand, and she nods back off again, and I can let go. Not tonight. She woke up and stayed awake. All right, back to the rocking process. This time, after more rocking and final nodding off, as I was lowering into the crib, her pacifier came out, and fell on the floor. Do I find the pacifier or just raise the gate? She didn't wake up, so I go for the gate. Bad idea. The click wakes her, and she notices the missing pacifier. I find it for her but now she's wide awake. She's not crying though. Sometimes we can just leave her in the crib awake and she doesn't complain, so I give that a shot and go for the door. Nope. Cry. So I come back and resume the rocking process again. This time I'm extra-careful, introducing a new step in the process, the "Get a good carrying grip that you can also easily extricate yourself from once she's down" step. The step doesn't wake her. Good. Once she's in the crib, she does wake, but only for a second. I win.

All told, it took from 8:30 to 9:30.

Hope it's not going to be like that every night...


misterorange said...

This is the easy part man. Wait until they're 2 or 3 and won't go to bed without a certain blanket, how you're called back into the room for kisses and hugs, and of course the occassional 4AM bellyache.

Enjoy this time while it lasts, but no one ever said it would be brief (ie, expect an hour or maybe a little less as they get older and you read them stories, brush teeth, etc)

Anonymous said...

Man it was only eight months ago but it seems like eternity... we had a physical therapy ball about 36 in in diameter that we'd bounce Becca to sleep on. Then I'd sh sh sh sh her to sleep, too, but the lengthy repetition would make my ear drums pressurize in this weird way... ugh, so glad that's over. Dump her in the crib (after Jude nursing her in the rocker), let her wail. Works here but Lord knows these things aren't commutative.


Jamie said...

Rereading this 6/18/07 (Father's Day, fwiw.) misterorange was right on - it's over an hour every night, and we're used to it.