Pragmatism sounds like a positive word doesn’t it? It feels nice to use such a positive word. Even though I feel like a big fat failure. But the word is good and that’s something.
I always said I would never let my babies cry. I’m sure there are a bazillion blog posts on this very blog about how I wouldn’t let them cry and even more specifically I wouldn’t let Piper cry just because she was a second child. And even more specifically that I wouldn’t let her cry as a form of sleep training.
I can see now that some of the things in the past that I’ve said, well they kind of make me an asshole. Because I was that person who looked down on controlled crying. And would say that I didn’t believe in it. And you know what the hardest thing is? I still don’t. And I still did it.
The easy thing about having one child is that you have a lot of freedom to parent whatever way you want. If they need to be held or worn to sleep for the first year you can do that. You might have conflicts with work you need to get done or housework or the need to shower occasionally but usually you can do it if you really want to. The problem with Piper’s sleep wasn’t that I was sleep deprived. I’m not sleep deprived at all. Because she generally sleeps very well once in bed with me. It’s that Riley was attention deprived. And unfortunately if I was spending half of the day parenting Piper to sleep, Riley was drawing the short straw. And her behaviour showed it. She was acting out and aggressive and just generally not her normal delightful self.
And all of a sudden I’ve got a decision to make. And it’s bullshit. Either I do some sleep training with Piper and actually get to spend time with Riley during the day or I put Riley on TV babysitter and parent Piper to sleep and hope it doesn’t last that long.
So we started sleep training. And it was hard. Really hard. And even though I am comfortable with my decision, it made me deeply sad to do it. And it still makes me sad that it was done. And it continues to make me realise just how judgemental I’ve been in the past. But mostly it makes me sad. My twitter and facebook people got me through the first day. That and alot of wine. And they were understanding and supportive and lovely.
Sometimes when you put yourself out there you get another kind of comment as well. Which I got on Twitter. Which I was ok with because I got so much more loveliness than anything else. But it did remind me that there’s a time and place for things. And even if you are passionately anti sleep training, that first day where a parent has committed to it and is doing it – that’s not the time to voice your opinion. It is not the time to make them feel worse. Somebody asking me if I would leave my husband shaking and screaming alone in a room did make me feel worse because I was vulnerable and I was having a horrible day. The next time I think about expressing an opinion about someone’s parenting choices I’m going to think about that.
And that first night after she’d finally gone to sleep (and woke up after a few hours) and I scooped her up to take her to bed with me I was so relieved to snuggle with her in bed. And glad that I was still co-sleeping.
It’s now been about a week. Riley is back to herself. Piper has started going to sleep on her own without protest (she hasn’t started sleeping through cycles yet but she has started sleeping a little bit longer at night) and I have a house that occasionally looks clean. Things are improving, so I’m happy to keep going.
Pragmatism is a positive word but I still feel sad.