Crying it Out

6:28AM: The harder she cries, the deeper I burrow under the covers. It started at 6:14. Hubby’s in the shower. Every Friday, he wakes at 5:30 to be on the air from his studio in Manhattan by 7:30.

“I’m going in,” he says about 6:38.

“Then I have to rush,” I grumble. “I’m not gonna rush. You’ll have to walk out on her, and that’ll only make it worse.”

She’s shrieking by this time, but I’ve come to learn her sounds intimately. There’s a magical, biological interplay between her sounds and my responses to her sounds.

David says, “This is the kind of crying you normally can’t stand.”

I say, “At night, yes, going down. But not in the morning.”

At night, after I walk out of the nursery, if my baby cries, it can make my skin crawl and my legs ache to walk back to her. Sometimes I heed the call; if it’s been 20 minutes or more. That’s undue stress. Last night she alternated between babbling and crying, running through her entire vocal range, for 55 minutes before she succumbed. With the advent of video monitors, we can see and be entertained by our infants practicing their skills in their cages—I mean, cribs. (Ours has a deluxe model, of course.) But the technology isn’t perfect.

One night we were convinced Adela had cauliflower ear. We couldn’t make out what we were seeing on the monitor, which uses infrared night vision. Also, a bump in the night can sound like a thunderous calamity. Last night, David saw Adela clunk her keppe, and he insisted on going in to check on her. I saw him pat her on the back. She sat up, gave him a kiss, and miraculously went back to sleep for the night. The noise began earlier than I desired in the morning. Seven AM wake up would be just perfect. I’d say, three mornings a week, she lets us sleep til 7. Other mornings she might stir as early as 5:28, but I refuse to get out of bed before 6:45.

My philosophy is 1) to set precedents that teach our boundaries, rules, and preferences, and 2) make sure our own needs for sleep and food are met, so we can be energetic and collected parents. My husband and I resolve a million times over to go to bed earlier; but, when my life begins at 8pm, I have a lot to squeeze into a short while—my editing, my cooking, my shows… (Yes! “Breaking Bad” is back! I’ve watched the first two episodes of the fourth season, and it’s, in my husband’s words, “EPIC.” He interviewed the starring actor, Bryan Cranston, yesterday. I can’t wait to hear the piece. And they took a photo together where Bryan has his hands around my husband’s neck in a chokehold.)

But here I am obsessing about infant sleep habits. There’s a whole section in the bookstore on the subject, and certainly the “momversation” revolves around sleep (then planning cocktail hour). I even hear my husband talking about sleep with fellow dads.

Now I will go back to denying that this is a mommy blog and do something more exciting than nap so I have more photographs and writing to share. What should we do to amp it up this summer? Glider plane ride? Wine tasting? Waterfall climb?

The red lights indicate noise being made. Notice how the baby goes from sleeping to serenading us. Then Daddy goes in to greet her so Mommy can catch some extra shut-eye and grab a hot cup of java before starting her 13-hour workday.

About MommyTheorist

Editor, writer, photographer, and new mom
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4 Responses to Crying it Out

  1. karen levy says:

    there is a new show in Chicago called the Mommies – a musical blog! Would love to see it with you and Mel when you are here!! I think we all would get a laugh!

  2. Olia says:

    Stay strong. I know it’s hard but when you are on the other side it is easier. I love the momversations. That is a great word!! Ok now I am falling asleep.

  3. Oh man. Sleep training is the worst thing ever. At least you have a monitor! We don’t need one. We can hear everything in this tiny apartment. Yikes. But the other day I actually spoke to this amazing sleep consultant, should you have any interest — she was so encouraging and lovely! —

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