We started Operation Sleep Through the Night last night, and it was . . . well, it wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t what I would call a relaxing hot stone massage with an epidural chaser, but it definitely could have been worse. My plan was to go in and comfort if needed, but eliminate the bottle feedings completely. His reaction to the missing bottle was quite dramatic (oh, the arched back! The furious screaming! The attempts to squirm from my arms and plummet headfirst onto the wooden floors!) it actually sort of made the entire process a little bit easier, because I can deal with anger much better than sorrow. JB and I took turns and went in three times, doing our best to pat and soothe and rock him back to sleep, but really there wasn’t much we could do. He clearly wanted the bottle, and since we weren’t going to give it to him we were at a sort of Tarantino-esque standoff — guns pointed all around, tension crackling in the air — and so we mostly just put him back down and tiptoed from the room while he kicked the mattress and howled baby cuss words at us.

He loudly protested the situation from about 12:30 to 3 AM, and then slept soundly until 8. I have no idea what we’re in for tonight, but I hope we’re on the right track. I also took the advice some of you gave about putting him down a little earlier. It didn’t seem to make a difference in terms of when he first woke up, but maybe once we get into a better routine it will help.

Oh, and for anyone else dealing with this sort of situation in a house where you cannot escape the noise no matter what you do, may I recommend the “3D Ocean Environment” from Darwin Chamber? You can find it on iTunes, it’s basically 90 minutes of ocean waves going into and out of your ears in this trippy full-sound kind of way and I found it to be very soothing. Every now and then I’d hit the pause button to make sure the crying hadn’t escalated, but the rest of the time I was mostly listening to water and seagulls and the occasional boooooooop of a . . . I don’t know, a Relaxing Oceanic Horn Of Some Kind. Boat? Lighthouse? Something.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on with that. I’ll keep you posted on how it all plays out. The good news for me is that I’m leaving town again for a couple nights this weekend (for SXSW, any of you going?) so ideally by the time I get home on Sunday Dylan will have got the whole thing figured out and all of us will start getting eight uninterrupted hours of sleep each night. Also, there will be a pony waiting for me. A magical pony who shits gold ingots and enjoys vacuuming.

God. Eight. Hours. In a row. I hadn’t truly realized how much I want my sleep back until I started actively taking steps to make this situation better.


73 Responses to “First night”

  1. Melis on March 11th, 2009 7:38 pm

    ChelseaLI, you pegged it with the asshole comment!! Little man is 4 now…great during the day but even the whisper of the word “bedtime” and so help me, the kid’s head spins around and he becomes Linda Blair with a weiner.

    We were a CIO family (he cried, I did too) that over time has become a sippy of water WITH ICE CUBES (don’t ask what we do when the ice maker quits) every night, with the longest, most dragged out stalling attempts but when I ask him to recite the rules, here’s what he says: “No coming out unless it’s for potty, and no calling you in unless it’s a mergency.” Tonight he asked why I keep asking him the rules and I told him because even though he knows the rules, he doesn’t obey them. He followed this comment with a dashing smile and 10 minutes of “secrets” which turned out to be the worst made up song I’ve ever heard from someone not exposed to the Wiggles or Barney.

    I suppose I should just be glad he doesn’t try to come into our bed or wet his own with all the damned ice water that kid sucks down at night.

  2. Deanna on March 12th, 2009 3:57 am

    Hi from Austin!
    BRING: raincoat, rainboots, umbrella, inflatable raft.
    Oh, wait . . . you are from Seattle.

    OK- but don’t laugh at our reaction to this rain. We were in a drought in January. JANUARY!! Plus we kinda freak out in rain. It is just drizzle where I am, not even thunderstormy.

    I would be all star struck but LOVE a small meet up. Agree on above food comment- tex-mex & bbq are great but we have other good stuff, too.

  3. Red on March 12th, 2009 5:31 am

    One question: did he barf? Cuz that is what mine does when we leave the room.
    Have decided that cio will wait until we move into new house next month or so. Then I’ll be washing barf out of a machine-washable rug and hardwood floors rather than wall to wall carpeting in a rental.
    Go you and like previous commenters, I hear night 2 can be worse, but after that it gets better. Good luck!

  4. Jean on March 12th, 2009 6:10 am

    I’m dying to know how night 2 went.

  5. Sarcy on March 12th, 2009 6:30 am

    I’m curious whether Dylan uses a pacifier. I don’t think I’ve seen any photos of him with one.

    If he doesn’t, it might be worth a try, so he can comfort himself rather than having the middle-of-the-night bottle. I read an idea in a baby book about scattering a few pacifiers around the crib so that if he wakes up, he’ll be sure to find one.

  6. Tia on March 12th, 2009 6:44 am

    I’m so excited to see how this turns out. I love how everyone gives their two cents on the situation. This site makes me laugh and omg, I really feel for some of your readers. My 17 month old sleeps only 7 hours but man after reading some of these post I would feel like an ass if I complained! Good luck Linda, I think you have lots of folks pulling for ya, I know I am!!

  7. Tia on March 12th, 2009 6:58 am

    The “brisk clap”…Looove it!!

  8. Christine on March 12th, 2009 7:07 am

    Did CIO with both kids and never looked back. It was, hands down, the best and smartest thing I ever did as a mom. My kids are now 2 and 5 and both sleep through the night with no problems at all.

    My first one was a tough nut to crack (she was about 8 months old and still waking up 3 to 4 times a night) so for TWO WEEKS she cried for anywhere from 30 min. to an hour either right when we put her down or whenever she woke up during the night/very early a.m. – the first night she cried for two hours then conked out and sleep through the night and the last night of CIO she cried for an hour. The night after that was a 10 min. fuss and down until 6:30 a.m. the next morning. It was HEAVEN!

    My second got it after 30 min. of fussing for the first 3 nights (she was 4 mos. old at the time and slept through the night on her own for 3 nights straight before I decided she didn’t really need/want the bottle during the night anymore) and has slept through ever since.

    Be strong and it will be all over before you know it…

  9. spacegeek on March 12th, 2009 7:27 am

    Just had a rousing 4am fight with DH (and the D does not stand for “dear” this morning) about whether I’m being “manipulated” by the children when they wake up at night. I figure a wake up here and there isn’t a problem. DH didn’t work nightshifts this week, so he was home while I got up some nights this week. And he hates it. Even though I’m the one getting up!! So he’s all pissy about how *I’m* not getting enough sleep. SOrry for the rant, but it just seemed timely. CIO may apply to me and the children soon…

  10. Nancy on March 12th, 2009 7:35 am

    One thing that helped me get through CIO was remembering that my daughter needed the sleep as much as I did. She was a much smaller PITA during the day after she started getting a solid night of sleep. :-)

  11. Debineezer on March 12th, 2009 9:20 am

    Ok, no one made a wise crack about Deb’s typo:


    Here I am thinking that I’ve missed some suggestion about moving into a cave to get some sound-proofing. I was wondering where one would FIND a cave around here.

    Tee hee.

  12. victoria on March 12th, 2009 4:04 pm

    What does “2 girls 1 cup” refer to?

  13. cakeburnette on March 12th, 2009 4:07 pm

    wow-oh-wow…I read almost all of the comments on this post and the one before and I just don’t even know what to think. Baby #1 had his days & nights backwards for the first 6 weeks of his life. He would sleep 2-3 hours at a time during the day between nursing sessions, but at night would only nurse for 5-10 minutes before falling asleep. But he could only sleep for about 20 minutes before waking up hungry. Now, I know this is completely different than your situation. Fortunately we were able to figure out a way to get him to stay away for a complete feeding and once we did that, he was sleeping 6 hours in a week, 8 hours in 2 weeks and 10-12 hours within a month. I know how tired I was during those first 6 weeks and I cannot imagine being like that for over a year. Baby #2 slept 8 hours on day 2. And always did unless she was going through a growth spurt or sick. I honestly must be the luckiest woman in the world.

  14. cakeburnette on March 12th, 2009 4:08 pm

    stay awake, I meant…not stay away

  15. Bel on March 12th, 2009 8:12 pm

    THANK YOU for recommending the ocean sounds. I do not have screaming children, but I have a shrill co-worker in an open plan office, and I could not get any work done with her constant attention seeking.

    I’ve downloaded the ocean sounds and have stuck my earphones in this morning and…bliss.

    You literally saved my job =)

  16. Marcie on March 12th, 2009 10:54 pm

    Welcome to Austin! I love reading your site and I hope you have a great time in our fare city. SXSW never disappoints.

    BTW – I am a firm believer in letting them cry a few nights. They will learn very quickly, they’ll never remember, and they will be happier in the long run.

  17. Maria on March 13th, 2009 8:00 am

    My 16 mo old son is pretty good about sleeping through the night, but he’s still not at the point where he goes down in his crib awake. I always have to hold him to calm him to sleep. We’re starting “learn to sleep on your own bootcamp” when the weather is a little warmer in a few monhts. We heat the house with a wood pellet stove, so our bedroom doors are always open. Come warmer weather we can shut the doors so he wont wake his older sister. I’m not looking forward to it, but we’ve been through it before. CIO defintitely works. You just have to plan on a week or so of hell. Good luck! Hopefully things are already starting to get better.

  18. JudithNYC on March 13th, 2009 9:55 am

    Re babysitter piffle–just say NO!!! This is very alarming to me because my sister has been taken advantage of so many times by my late father’s caretakers that I want to scream.

  19. Melissa on March 13th, 2009 10:30 am

    I agree with JudithNYC – just say no to the babysitter. That is too much for someone to ask for. We pay our sitter $15 an hour…I have no idea how much you are using her but it can’t be worth it and it sounds like she is trying to take advantage of you guys. I’m sure you can just say that money is tight these days.

  20. wordygirl on March 13th, 2009 12:06 pm

    Just catching up on my blogroll so I’m sure the magical pony and the 8-hour sleeps are already in evidence by the time you read this. But just in case, here’s what worked for us!
    – early bedtime (7-7:30)
    – take the ocean waves out of your ears and play them for Dylan (my daughter sleeps next to the DreamSurf CD on repeat every night)
    – Blackout blinds on the window
    – Consistent bedtime routine (dinner, bath, pajamas, bottle, story, song, PUT BABY IN CRIB WHILE STILL AWAKE)

    The last one is the major one. If you rock Dylan to sleep at 8pm, he’ll expect the same at 11pm, 2am, 5am, etc. He doesn’t know he can fall asleep on his own. Once we figured this out and started being consistent with our daughter, sleep got a helluva lot easier.

    I got all this info and more from Sleepsense.net.

    Best of luck! And I LOVE the video of Dylan walking!

  21. patois on March 14th, 2009 11:48 am

    I want a pony.

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  23. schmetterling on August 28th, 2009 9:40 am

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