Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I've always found comfort in the philosophy that there are no absolutes. As though there's a Get Out of Jail Free card waiting around each and every corner if you can just remember to look for it. But although I find comfort in it, I don't live my life around it. I suspect that's true for most of us. And that can make things more complicated than they need to be. Getting caught up on something, anything, because that's the way we expect it to be. Or because that's the way it's supposed to be.

Am I making sense?

If I'm not, it's because there's a baby crying in the background. And with every little tear that is shed, a piece of me just crumples and dies.

Because I'm letting my babies cry.

On purpose.

Because there are no absolutes.

In my heart of hearts, I truly believed I would never resort to sleep training. To "crying it out."

I have.

What we were doing was not working. Not for the babies. Not for us.

For seven months, Kyle and I have dutifully responded to every cry within seconds. We have stayed up around the clock rocking, bouncing, and nursing the babies back to sleep. I don't really want anyone to know how many nights we got up every twenty minutes all night long and then dragged our exhausted selves out of bed the next morning to face the day. Sleep deprivation is scary. Dangerous.

It. Was. Not. Working.

I've agonized over this issue. Advice has been abundant. I've been terrified to do the wrong thing. And although I hate to admit it, I've been loathe to be judged.

And here I am.

Feeling confident. Feeling heartbroken. Feeling like I'm doing the right thing. Feeling the weight of responsibility that comes with really doing this right. Understanding commitment in a new way. Commitment that impacts my children.

Letting the babies cry breaks my heart. But this is ultimately not about me. It's about them. For them. Because they need sleep so that they can grow and develop. And because setting loving boundaries is our job as parents.

I would protect them from every sadness, every harm, every disappointment, if only I could.

I hate that I can't.

And I owe it to them, these babies that we have brought into this world, to be honest with myself about that.


Jenera said...

I went through two rounds of cry it out with my oldest. Once when he was about 9 months old and again at 2. It's terrible. It sucks. You feel like crying and giving in. I know I did. But now, I don't regret it at all. And I am taking what I learned from my oldest and applying it with my youngest now before it gets away from me.


Christa said...

It is really hard but it works and it is very worth it (sleep is super important to us all.) Our twins love their beds and ask to go to bed, it is a comfort spot for them. Do they share a crib?

Sades said...

Stick with it April. You are right that you all need some sleep in order to get by. I know so many wonderful moms who have successfully used sleep training, and they have happy, healthy, growing babies, who are now getting enough sleep! And happier parents because of it as well! If you ever need to chat through the tears, we are a few hours back from you guys, so just give me a call. Miss you all.

Daryl said...

You know if they came with a manual it would likely have been originally written in Sanscript or some other ancient language and translated poorly so it wouldnt have helped... I mean look at all those electronics that come with badly written/translated manuals ... trial and error seems to be the way to go and you erred, so .. no one is perfect ... every parent has erred. Suck it up. Move on. You are now righting something that wasnt really wrong it just didnt work for you, your boys.

You are strong ... look at all the obstacles you've overcome to get here ... a week or two of listening to them cry themselves to sleep isnt going to kill you or them (even if you think it will).

I think you need to fixate on toilet training and getting them to leave their nudgies or binkies home when they start school.... come on you know these things will be on your list of hurdles .. why not make a list now to distract you.

Arent I always offering wonderful advice? ;-D

Talina said...

We aren't there yet. She does have to cry for like a min or two before naps though and that is hard on me.

Sleep is important for kids and when they aren't getting it something DOES need to be changed. Good for you for trying to do what si right for your babes.

Anonymous said...

Say this over and over...
Kyle and I are the best, most perfect parents for these two boys, and every decision we make is the best decision for us and our children... Every since Stella was born, I have felt as though there is some perfect formula that would make her perfectly happy - but I just didn't know it... :-) Bri, on the other hand, always tells me that there is no perfect way to do this, but that if there is, it is whatever we are doing... Life is trial and error, and that doesn't end with parenthood... But you and Kyle are two exceptionally smart people who are madly in love with your kids. I know that each and every decision you make about your kids, you haven't come to lightly... So trust yourself and trust that the universe gave Rhys and Quin you guys because you both are the perfect people to raise them :-)

Grade A said...

You are doing the right thing. For all four of you. Great job, mama.

Joy said...

Hi April-- I'm a mama of 7 month old twins also and just as I was reading this post I was pumping at the computer-- and listening to my baby GUTTURALLY SCREAM herself to sleep. The did the old Fur Burger Method (as we call it)a few months back but I've recently taken away the karo syrup that I put on their pacis (that's right) that they MUST HAVE to sleep. Because they are getting teeth. And I have no choice. You are not a bad mom. You are a great mom. You are loving them and loving yourself and feeling guilty and hating yourself. All emotions of a great mama. You are a MOTHER OF TWINS FOR CHRIST'S SAKES! I know what this means. I know the emotional burden. I know what crying it out means with TWO SCREAMING BABIES. You are obviously made of steel. You have come this far without throwing them into the road (I'm assuming . . .). Take a breath, drink a beer (even if it is 10:54 am) and come over to my blog to see how we did it and laugh a little bit. You are not alone in this mania-- I'm sending some encouragement and goodness your way. Cheers.