I thought it would be one of those milestones you count down to and gear up for, like potty training, or college matriculation, but this one just crept right up on me. I’d heard the phrase “Cry It Out,” but, now that I think about it, probably assumed my baby would be so happy/advanced/well-parented he wouldn’t really need to succumb to all that nonsense. Then there it was, 2:36 pm. on an unsuspecting Wednesday…Sam was fed, diapered, burped, walked, “shh-sh-ed,” and VERY tired. I’d done all the usual measures, even taking extra precautions because I felt this was the kind of nap that, if I played my cards right, would give both of us a little rejuvenation. But to no avail. After seeing those cute persisting little eyes pop open one to many times, I walked away from the crib, thinking, “I’ll see what happens.” Of course, the crying happened. I heard about two seconds of REAL crying through the monitor and turned to rescue my little precious peanut, who, gosh darn it, NEEDED me!! Before I was out of earshot, Mom or Jenny – can’t ‘t remember which – casually commented, “He’s only fussying. Just wait five minutes.” This was said in the same tone as, “just order the vanilla,” or, “just take the interstate.” Easy for you to say. It’s not your baby undergoing psychological damage because the his primary care-giver is abandoning him.
Listening to the wails coming through the monitor (and through the walls, down the stairs, and across the kitchen) was awful. I wanted to cry or turn the monitor off or go to the garage. Just when I thought making your baby sleep UNATTENDED in a room a whole 15 feet away was the worst parenting could possibly throw me, here was a new torture. And apparently, a necessary torture? I asked mom in between anxious bites of tortilla chips if this was how she felt when she left me at school for my first day.
Despite the attempts to distract myself, the minutes were dragggging on. I think I made it 4 before I went up to “check.” I had been explicitly coached to do nothing more than talk to him and pat his bottom. He calmed down but was far from asleep. “I’ll give it one more try,” I thought. Of course the crying started again. The awful, gut wrenching, bottom-lip curling, heart-breaking crying. Mom seemed casually, cruelly confident it would pass. Three and a half minutes. Still wailing. If I had caught Mom’s eye I probably would have shot a look conveying, “Ha. I know my baby. I knew it wouldn’t…”
Wait. All of a sudden there was something new coming from the monitor…Silence. I stormed upstairs, certain that stupid monitor had broken, or that this was the world’s longest pause between outbursts, when, to my utter SHOCK, there was Sam, adorably, happily, peacefully asleep.
Once again, Sam, we made it. One more baby hurdle, CROSSED!! (But does listening to the crying get any easier??)