Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Desperate nights call for desperate cages

When it comes to babies and sleep, we moms tend to fall into one of two camps: the Schedulers or the Non-Schedulers. I am a Scheduler. In fact, I might be The Queen Of All Scheduling Mothers Dead, Alive, Or Yet To Be Born. I do a flexible form of Babywise, I Healthy Sleep, and I let them cry it out. Unapologetically.

As you probably know, people can and do get downright ugly about which choice you make - as if it is any of their business. For the record, I don't give a poopy diaper whether you schedule your kiddos or not. To each her own.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Schedule.

Because aside from Jesus, sleep is the only thing that keeps us sane in the House of A Thousand Diapers.

Therefore, my children have all been excellent sleepers who will vociferously let me know it if I keep them up past their bedtime, and typically go down with the same look of joy over being in bed as I do. We lie them down, turn out the light, walk away, and wake up to their happy chatting twelve or so hours later.

Until they turn about two. Something evil this way comes once they turn two.

And Maggie just got the memo.

About a month ago, Maggie began screaming bloody murder at bedtime. No known cause, just did it one night, and never quit. For two or three hours, y'all! Sweet easygoing Maggie, who has only thrown a few short fits her little lifetime, suddenly usurped even her big sister in the Tantrum Olympics, and believe me, Eva Rose has clutched that title tight for years.

Each night she would crawl out of her crib, come to the door, lie down and just scream. Kick the door, bang her head, she even bit herself one night - I saw the tooth marks the next morning. Nothing we did helped. If I went in and tried to console her, it would make her twice as upset, so we let her cry. Walker sat outside her door, and I sat downstairs, crying along with her.

This went on every night for over a week - including one night with each of her traumatized grandmas, who both threatened never to return. I kept thinking that it would get better, but it didn't. So each night I would wait with a lump in my stomach and my heart broken in two for her to finally wear herself out and fall asleep

and then we would lie her tired little body back in her bed. It was absolutely excruciating! Plus, she was miserable the next day from shorting herself all that sleep.

Walker was going to be out of town for almost a week and I knew I would not be able to stand it while he was gone. I knew she was exhausted and theorized that if she were in her own bed, she just couldn't help but fall asleep. And I remembered seeing those crib tents in One Step Ahead, a catalog I (until now) referred to as The Paranoid Parent's Wishbook.

Have y'all seen these? They are for kids who climb out of their crib. I had never seen the point in them, because after Shep and Eva Rose climbed out of their cribs, we just made sure the room was babyproofed and put a doorknob cover on the door so that they couldn't roam the house and raid the fridge while we cluelessly slumbered. Both of them would play nicely and quietly in their rooms until they would call out loudly enough for us to come open their door. Ergo, I considered these cribtents a superfluous luxury for those who could be duped into paying the very high price tag.

Ten days of Maggie screaming her heart out for hours, and I would have sold a kidney for this blasted thing.

I found it quite cheaper at Walmart.com and gladly shelled out another $20 for the two day shipping. Walker and I assembled it the morning before he left. That night, Mags went in her "cage", as the kids love to call it.

She wasn't crazy about it. I kissed her good night, and listened to her cry for...45 minutes! Only 45 minutes! WHOO HOO!

The next night, twenty minutes!! Go cribtent, go ca-age!

The next night she backslid a little and cried almost an hour. But ever since then, she only fusses for about five minutes and then we hear blessed silence. An added bonus is that she is now sleeping in about an hour and a half later in the morning!

We're back on schedule.

Life is good again.

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