Today was a rough day, parenting-wise. Harder than even the newborn stage, I think. Sleep training has begun. And it fucking sucks. There’s just no other way to describe it. Stella’s a champion sleeper at night. She’s been sleeping in her crib since the day we brought her home from the hospital. Some nights she’ll sleep nine hours and then wake up to eat and some nights she’ll sleep 13 hours. Yes, I know we’re incredibly lucky.
But the napping has been less easy. It’s hit or miss. Some days she’ll nap for an hour or more in her crib and have no problems putting herself to sleep and staying asleep. Other days she’ll cry and thrash for a few minutes before falling asleep and then she’ll wake up 30 minutes later, still tired but wide awake. Some naps she’ll cry so hard that I give up and let her sleep on me because a) snuggling a baby doesn’t get old, really; and b) it gives me a chance to nap as well. But those naps are never that good. She can’t reposition herself in my arms like she could in her crib because the only place to roll over to is the floor.
So what it comes down to is that she’s not sleeping enough during the day. She’s a grumpopotamus throughout the day and by the time Wes gets home from work he barely gets any happy time with her before she’s exhausted and ready for bed. So today we decided that it was time to start teaching her to sleep in her crib. By which I mean: cry it out. I know it’s for her own good. I know that teaching her to nap in her crib will make all of our lives easier, and our time together less cranky. But listening to your child cry for any length of time is just fucking awful. I wanted so badly to scoop her up and snuggle her close but I know that only teaches her that if she cries long enough she’ll get what she wants. And, seriously, I’m doing this for her. so that she can sleep better. Can you tell I feel awful about this?
Before I had Stella I thought for sure I would be fine with dealing with sleep issues. Sure, cry it out, I’d think. How hard can that be? Within 15 minutes I was crying silently in the next room. And she cried for another 45 minutes only to sleep for 30 minutes. When I went in to her room she was still crying, still tired but now probably hungry as well. I made a few funny sounds and smiled even though I wanted to start crying again and she followed my lead, elated to finally see me.
I know (hope) that this will get less awful. I know that it won’t take months of this to get her sleeping regularly in her crib and I know that when I take her out of the crib she’s not thinking about how I didn’t respond to her cries. I know that when she finally does get this down that we’ll all be happier. She’ll be more rested and her awake time will be more involved because I won’t be worrying about her napping. I know all this but it doesn’t make it any less painful to deal with.