Dad power

Dot writes: it may have been subtly intimated before on this blog that Hugh, although clearly the world’s best baby in all the categories that really count, is not the greatest at sleeping. In fact we’d got to the point (by gradual degrees) where I had to go to bed with him every evening, and although in theory I would creep away once he was in milky slumber to engage in adult activities like starting the dishwasher or checking facebook, increasingly this just meant my day ended when his did. Fortunately he stays up late by baby standards. Anyway, yesterday, with me feeling cheesed off and grumpy, we decided that from now on Ken would put Hugh to bed, in his own cot, in his own room, with the aid of a bottle, and we’d start to work him towards staying there all night. (Hugh won’t take the cot treatment from me. His stamina for hysterical sobbing is considerably greater than mine for listening.) Last night he was asleep in his cot at 8.15 and managed to stay there until a bit after eleven. But this evening he may have worked out how to foil us. It’s half past nine and he’s still awake, vaguely waving a wooden toy around and occasionally hitting his father.

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4 thoughts on “Dad power

  1. Meri

    May I offer a huzzar! of support? I can well imagine the torment of leaving Hugh in a different room, but I think teaching him to sleep by himself is really useful; to him as well as yourselves..
    I have a friend who never managed to stop herself answering her childs cries; with the babe now over a year old she has to go to bed (in utter silence and darkness) at 9pm at the latest. The child wakes if my friend leaves and if there’s any noise or light, she also cannot go to sleep without her mother and sleeps in their bed most nights….

  2. Dot

    Well, I feel very ambivalent about this issue, because I do love to cuddle up to him and it makes up for being apart on the days when I’m at work. And the reason we started co-sleeping in the first place was because we all got more sleep like that. Hugh sleeps more lightly on his own and wakes sooner.

    When you say your friend ‘never managed to stop herself answering her child’s cries’, that doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me. Imagine being a tiny baby, waking to find yourself alone in the dark, crying out and being ignored. Isn’t that a very sad picture? It’s a pain for the parent, but the child needs to know s/he’s safe and mummy and daddy haven’t abandoned him/her. What I’m hoping is that we can stretch Hugh’s tolerance by having Andrew rather than me go to him. When Hugh went through a bad patch at four months that worked well, because he learnt he wouldn’t automatically get fed if he woke up. (We never managed to get him through the whole night; at about two a.m. Andrew would run out of steam and we’d return to Mum and her Magic Boob of Sleep. But after doing this for a few nights Hugh went back to sleeping through until two or three, which is manageable.)

    Maybe we will have to try ‘controlled crying’ at some stage, but I do hope not.

  3. Meri

    What i meant by ‘never managed to stop herself answering her child’s cries’was that she cannot let her child cry even for a few moments- even when being comforted by the father. This is an extreme case. It has seriously effected the parent’s relationship as their life is totally controlled by the child. The father is very wound up by it and they regularly don’t get enough sleep.
    I wanted to offer my support as I know it must be awfully hard to try controlled crying- even on a very minor scale. If Huge can learn to sleep without the need for such techniques, then that will be sooo much better!

  4. Dot

    Well, as you know, I’m actually quite callous about letting someone else deal with Hugh for a bit! And indeed, he is so vocal that I’ve learnt unless I make him wait sometimes I will never ever get anything done at all, including such vital tasks as preparing his breakfast. I think we can tell the difference between various kinds and intensities of crying now, even though we are still sometimes mystified about what exactly he wants. There’s the blackmail cry (sudden increase in volume as Mum shows signs of going to the bathroom), on one end of the scale – I am quite hardhearted enough to ignore that one; and on the other end there is pain (e.g. if he falls and hurts himself) which makes me come running immediately. The not-wanting-to-sleep- alone cry is a difficult one because he does sometimes seem very distressed, but on the other hand he sometimes seems to whip himself up into a ghastly gurgling tantrum that persists on its own momentum.

    Well, this evening he seems to have gone down a bit more easily – earlier, in any case…

    Thanks for your support.

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