July 08, 2010

The Cry-It-Out Method

When my daughters came home from the hospital, I quickly decided to be a "cry-it-out" mom. I didn't have much of a choice. They ate every three hours. Sometimes it took 2+ hours to finish a feeding. If I then checked on them for every fussy moment I wasn't going to get much sleep. Hubby and I alternated feedings overnight. There were some nights when we passed each other in the hallway: one of us was headed to bed after a feeding, the other was getting up for the next feeding. Crying it out became the only way we could get sleep.
And now, here we are four-and-a-half years later and I'm having to resort to the cry it out method again. Cakes and Tortilla fall asleep right away most nights. Sue Sue goes to sleep in a reasonable amount of time if Roo isn't bothering her. Roo is my hold out. I blogged awhile ago that Roo is having some separation issues. Something has really scared her and she doesn't like to be in a room without Mommy or Daddy.
Bed time hasn't been a huge issue, but it's definitely a drawn out process. Roo needs to say good night over and over until she falls asleep. She'll yell it out her door after I've gone downstairs. Or she'll need to ask me a question, something mundane like "what are we doing tomorrow?" The other night I reached my breaking point. She had been upstairs for more than an hour and was still shouting the occasional "good night" out her door. The next night I took a stand. I tucked everyone in, gave them all their hugs and kisses, read stories, etc. Then I told Roo good night and told her I would not speak to her any more until morning. It was hard. She yelled, she screamed, she cried. We have a camera pointed at her bedroom door due to a recent habit of disturbing her sisters while they sleep. When I switched over to see what she was doing I thought I was watching an episode of Super Nanny. If you've ever seen the show, then you've seen the night vision camera where inevitably one child has an extreme meltdown. I ate my dinner and when I was done, I realized it was quiet. She conked out in less than an hour. The following night, her rage lasted maybe 20 minutes. Last night? 10 minutes.
I don't want to traumatize her. I want her to know I'm downstairs and that I'll certainly come running if there's a true emergency. But I think we're finally making some progress in getting her to understand that at bed time we go to sleep... and if we can't fall asleep then we stay in our bed and be quiet.

8 comments:

MaryAnne said...

Sounds like you're making great progress! I had a bad experience with cry-it-out with Emma, but could see it working for Johnny and Lily. I haven't tried, though, because our house is small and I don't feel like it's worth waking up the kids who are sleeping (they don't sleep through the screaming, unfortunately).

Quadmama said...

Strangely enough, the others have been able to sleep through her fits. I wouldn't be able to... but maybe they're used to it?

Sadia said...

I'm sure it was hard, but go you! I doubt that she'll come out traumatized; you clearly have four very well-adjusted daughters.

Stephanie Barr said...

Sometimes, it's the only way.

Christina said...

Good for you. :) I think you did perfect!!

Marilynne said...

She's old enough to know how to push your buttons. Being firm with her is a way to let her know you're in control and she can go to sleep.

jungletwins said...

Not easy, but you did right. Sometimes, love hurts.

Denise said...

Congratulations! I agree, I think that you are making progress. It is hard but you are strong. I think that this is what they mean when people talk about "Tough Love".

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