Somewhere along the line, Dylan finally started sleeping through the night. I am only stating this in a public forum—which, as you know, is a cardinal parenting sin and almost always causes said child to begin exhibiting exactly the opposite behavior of what you just described; see also, “Gosh, our kids haven’t been sick in months!”; cross ref. with: “Madeleine is such a good eater!”—because he has in fact woken up the last couple nights to demand a drink (“HAVE MULK PEASE!”) and so I feel I’m in a safety zone of sorts where I’m able to tell you what he normally does only because he’s been acting out of the norm lately.

I don’t know. It’s a complicated algorithm.

Anyway, I have no idea what changed, only that he’s older now and probably just more capable of putting himself back to sleep. He’s certainly easier to put to bed than he used to be—I think back on all those months of sitting in the rocking chair and caaaaaarefully transitioning him into the crib then tiptoeing away with held breath only to hear the inevitable “eh-heh, eh-heh, eh-heh . . . EHHHHHH . . ” and I can’t believe how easy things are now in comparison. Read a story, have some snuggles in the chair, plop him in bed, and that’s it. He might be awake for an hour afterwards, rolling around and singing to himself, but he’s basically good to go.

It’s funny, you’d think after enduring over two years of a kid not sleeping through the night, I’d have some sort of useful experience to draw on. Advice to share, even, for those who ask. But no. I have no clue what I’d do if faced with another non-sleeper, not that I will be because, ha ha ha, oh BOY am I ever done having babies, I’ve got the FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY sign on my vagina and everything, but speaking hypothetically, I wouldn’t have any idea what I’d do differently. I mean, I tried nearly every sleep training trick in the books on this kid, and he resisted them all. Given his personality (which is sort of like . . . well, imagine if Hitler got really drunk and kept hugging you and being all, “Ich liebe dich Mann!”, before angrily cramming your dismembered corpse into the ovens? It’s a little bit like that), I guess it’s not surprising he was able to resist my attempts to bend him to my will, my will being the desire not to be awaked every three hours by a goddamned human foghorn.

I guess all we really did was get through it, clinging to the belief it would eventually work itself out. Like most difficult stages, there are things you can try and do to manage them, but really, it’s more about gritting your teeth and hoping to come out the other side with sanity intact.

I suppose that philosophy doesn’t sell parenting books, though. We don’t want to read “You Lost Control The Day a Human Emerged From Your Body and You’ll NEVER GET IT BACK”—we want the no-cry, easy, works-in-five-days solution to our problems. It’s nice to feel like you’re doing something about the problem, even when nothing’s working. Sort of like how I enjoy reading fitness advice for creating a sculpted midsection, even though my personal abdomen will always look like soggy crepe paper wrapped around a sleeping Sharpei dog. Hope springs eternal and all that.

One of our next big challenges is potty training, which I have not even remotely begun tackling yet. We got one kid potty trained, but damned if I know how to do it a second time. Maybe if the first time had been pain-free and fast, but uhhhh, no. Not so much.

I wonder if confidence in parenting is based on luck, coincidence, the personality of the child or parent, or what. Who are these people who constantly dish out advice to their fellow parents, and how did they get to be so secure in their knowledge of which tactics work best? Who wrote all those goddamned books? Because I can’t imagine ever feeling anything other than what I have felt for the last five years, which is an overwhelming sense of DUDE I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING HERE.

Well. At any rate, it keeps life interesting. Maybe being a know-it-all is secretly a terribly boring existence. Yeah, I’m going with that.

Comments

56 Responses to “Five years later, still winging it”

  1. adequatemom on July 16th, 2010 10:11 pm

    Good for you for keeping it real. None of us knows what we are doing, INCLUDING the ones who wrote the books. And I bet you’re right about them being terribly boring anyways.

  2. All Adither on July 18th, 2010 9:30 am

    Clueless here as well. I know I’ve muttered, “This too shall pass” about 15,607 times over the course of the past 7 years.

  3. Josefina on July 18th, 2010 4:34 pm

    I had friends who told me their child was a great sleeper (when my own kid was waking all the time). This was after they decided to try the cry-it-out thing. They declared it worked, she was sleeping…SUCCESS! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Uh. Yeah. We lived above them and when we were up in the wee hours with our kid, we could hear their kid “sleeping.” Really loudly. For a really long time. I don’t know if they decided to drug themselves and sleep through it, or if they were really drunk (not really; I kid) or if they were THAT exhausted that they didn’t even wake up for her screaming (waaaaay more likely). Anyway, when people say their kid is a great sleeper? I take it with a grain of salt. I know that things are not always as they appear.

    Potty training? I have two kids and no clue. I just let them go until they were bored of crapping themselves. Then they used the toilet. Only one or two accidents per kid after that. Highly recommend if you can keep from puking while you change the diaper of a kid who is technically way too old for one.

  4. Karin on July 19th, 2010 11:13 pm

    I love this post. Too damn true on not having a clue on what I’m doing. I swear I felt way more confident with the first one and the second one came along and made me realize I have no idea what I’m doing. We have two kids who sleep through the night. The first one we worked for, the second we suffered – too damn tired to try and do any sleep training – and she eventually figured it out. Now we are starting on potty training and frankly…its a bit too scary.

  5. Honey, will we EVER get some sleep? | Say, honey! on August 1st, 2010 7:12 pm

    […] my surfing this blogpost made me laugh out loud, and also reassured me that I was not alone in my experience as a new mum. […]

  6. Pookie on August 1st, 2010 8:31 pm

    Ah, Sundry, I discovered your blog for the first time today. Thank you for this post! I feel a heck of a lot better…still tired though, but at least with sense of humor intact.

    @Josefina – “We lived above them and when we were up in the wee hours with our kid, we could hear their kid “sleeping.” Really loudly. For a really long time.” – ROFL!!!

    @Carolina – you made me laugh too, but I REALLY hope I never do anything to cross you! :D

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