Adventures in sleep training

[Note: I took a workshop at school this week on teaching writing, and the best part was that we actually got to put ourselves in our students’ shoes and write!  Here is the result, with a little bit of help from my peer writing partner!]

It was dark in the room, and so I woke with a fuzzy head.  I had to struggle from under the blankets to be able to see the clock.  1:00am, exactly.  “How funny”, I thought, “that I woke at 1:00am on the dot.  Reaching my arms from under the warm cozy cocoon, I felt above my head for the baby monitor and pressed the VIDEO ON button.  Just as I suspected.  Awake and fussing.

1:00am turned to 1:10am and the fussing dissolved into crying.  1:10 turned to 1:20 and the crying wasn’t stopping.  Uh oh, I thought.  I’m in trouble.

Twenty minutes is a long time.  Should I go down there?  Should I not?  1:24, 1:25…

1:30am, I’ll call Fred.  Hopefully he hears his phone.  He’ll tell me what to do (why am I incapable of being decisive at all hours of the night?  Daytime is a different story.  We have routines and plans, and expectations.  I am the boss.  Nighttime, all bets are off).

“Hello, you’ve reached the voicemail of Fred Follansbee…”

Once, twice, six times, nine times, no answer.  Damn him.  Probably had a couple beers down there in Florida, and maybe even went to bed at 8pm.  Because he could.

I pull the book off my nightstand.  I didn’t bargain for doing this sleep training thing by myself.  Surely reading will take my mind off the screaming baby and hopefully calm my nerves too.  But the sentences blur together, and I read and re-read the same paragraph.  1:46, 1:47.  Should I go down there?

I pull my phone off the nightstand.  Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest.  I try to get lost in the beautiful pictures of things I could make (if I had the time), clothes I could buy (if I had the money).  But still, the crying and the choking sobs pull me back.  I press the VIDEO ON button every 90 seconds, checking for…what?  I don’t know.  She’s still there, kicking violently.  She’s still there, flailing as if she were falling.  Watching her is worse than just hearing her.

1:58am, it’s been nearly an hour and it seems as though she’s wearing herself out.  The cries are thinning, and no longer sound like her vocal chords are ripping to shreds.  She even takes a few breaths here and there, leaving me with a nanosecond of quiet.  I close my eyes.  I can, maybe, go back to sleep if she does.  An hour isn’t really that bad, and thank god I don’t have to work tomorr…

1:59 crap!  I jinxed it!  Her cries swell again, and with their every rise I feel new beads of sweat slide down my forehead.  I sit up.  I lay down.  I looked for my Ferber book to tell me what to do.  Should I go down there?

“Hello, you’ve reached the voicemail of Fred Follansbee…”

I can’t.  I shouldn’t.  The last 59 minutes will have been for nothing.  She will only have learned that if she cries long enough, Mommy will come.

It’s another sweaty, guilty nineteen minutes before I resolve that in the morning, we are DONE with cry-it-out sleep training.  As long as she can actually go back to sleep tonight.  Pillow over my head, baby monitor on Fred’s side of the bed.  Somewhere around the 90 minute mark, she stopped.  2:32am.  Will she hold a grudge?