Friday, August 20, 2010

Hardest.Thing.Ever.

After a visit to our pediatrician's office, it was recommended to us that we start the "cry it out" method with Arlo because of his age and his lack of "good" sleep.  Being a first time parent is rough, because you really have no clue how to initiate anything. Arlo still does not nap on a consistent basis( probably part of our problem) and will only do so if you nap with him. At any rate, it seems this is the method we will take( as long as we can take it). I know I said earlier that reading advice sucked... and it still does, because I get SO confused. So many contradictions out there. But my pal Tori( thanks again, my dear) sent me an article about other folks who had to go the cry it out method-- and one mother's mantra made me realize that maybe I really WAS hurting Arlo more by soothing him than by teaching him how to self soothe. It went something like " my baby is crying because he loves me so much. And because I love him, I want him to be rested and happy and learn how to sleep on his own." My father went on to say  something similar in nature-- " Laura, he's a baby in a crib with a roof over his head, well-fed, well-loved, that just needs some help to sleep."  And then again I am reminded of infantile amnesia...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childhood_amnesia and that developmentally, unless I drop an anvil on Arlo's head every night, he won't remember having to cry it out or have any emotional scarring because of it. Similarly, my fear of reactive attatchment disorders are unfounded as well- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_attachment_disorder because my kid obviously has awesome attachments to many folks right now. And duh... I worked with kids with attachment disorders for years.  It's just different when it's YOUR kid you're worried about.

And yet, even knowing all of this... it's still hard hearing your kid cry. Here's hoping what I'm doing is "right".

4 comments:

Sicily said...

Laura dear, I'm almost positive you are doing a wonderful job with Arlo. As a new/sudden "parent" of two teenagers, I am also constantly questioning what is the right way to do things because I don't want to mess these kids up, even if they aren't biologically mine. I can only fall back on my years of education, training, and experience working in psych & behavioral health with all of those children. I'm sure you remember those days and once Arlo gets older you'll pull from those experiences more than you could ever imagine. Your father is right. You're not abusing or even neglecting your child by teaching him how to soothe himself. I undestand how difficult (and at times maybe a bit annoying) it may be to listen to your child just cry on, but stay strong and remember the bigger picture.

maggie said...

Lovely Laura - you know I don't have a baby, but I just want to tell you that I think you are doing an awesome job being a mom. The fact that you are putting so much thought and heart into taking care of him, no matter how hard it is on you, means that this little man is very very lucky to have you. Also, he is adorable, and you rock. -- Mags

Amanda said...

You hit the nail on the head. It is definitely a different story when it is your kid. We've seen all these kids who have been so screwed up by the people who are supposed to love them and it terrifies us to think that we could ever do something to harm out prescious ones in any way. In addition when they are so little and can't tell you what they want or need it is terribly frustrating. Trust me you are doing the right thing by teaching him to self soothe. It will teach him how to manage feelings in the long run and to problem solve. If we rescue our kids all the time then they develop learned helplessness. You are not being unkind or abusive. Hang in there... he will figure it out and so will you.

Tara said...

Laura, we let Maddie cry it out at about 4 months and I found that we traded a few really bad days for such a super happy baby in the end. She was so well rested and almost never cried after she learned to put herself to sleep. I have seen babies that have no self-soothing abilities cry and cry for months on end at every little thing and was so glad that we made Maddie cry it out. Now with Jamison, he's more laid back and everyone comments on what a happy baby he is and how they've almost never heard him cry. Also, our doctor told us once, when I was accosting him with questions about how I should do things with Maddie, that as long as you provide your baby with food, shelter, clothing, and most importantly love, all the details are unimportant. I know that you love Arlo more than anything and he'll know that even if he has to cry some now. Hang in there...