Sunday, 22 August 2010

My Amazing, Consistent Parenting...

Over the past two days, Roman has been napping less and playing a lot more. Oh what a joy it's been. I have my baby back. (Although, in other ways I have found it hard with sore joints and this added "bonus" of pain I seem to be suffering with: sore ribs! What the hell?).

I'd had an idea in my head ages ago about using an oversized hat and snapping some photos of him wearing it. I thought this would be an absolute nightmare because whenever I have ideas involving clothes he does not want to play along with those ideas and I can't very well take snaps of an un-co-operative baby and a baby who seems like he doesn't want his photo taken. That would be cruel... whole point of this post:

So, since Roman decided to grow at a rapid rate all of a sudden when he was four months old, and grow out of his baby crib - legs were sticking out the sides, as were arms - I considered buying him a "big boy" cot bed.

My mum told me not to buy a cot bed. Her quote (probably paraphrased and psychoanalysed a million times by me) was; "They're crap quality, they're hard to put together and they fall apart." I think it was my mum who said it. And this isn't me stating that she is a nag, because she is anything but that. She also isn't an interfering mother, just in case you all start thinking that and my Mum reads this and never speaks to me again...

I digress.

Since it was like stuffing an elephant into a mini (hmm...maybe I should have used a better analogy!) when he started to outgrow his crib and he'd wake up crying and I felt like the worst mother in the whole world - sorry, I meant to say the worst mother in the universe -we started to think about where he could sleep as an alternative. The pop-up cot wasn't really an option as it didn't fit on our floor (well, that's my non-crazy reason, the crazy reason is that I was scared I'd fall out of bed and squash then kill him. My lazy reason is that I didn't want to have to vacuum the bedroom floor every day. Yep, I am working on my "Mother of the Year" acceptance speech already). So we were running out of ideas quick. I also didn't want to put him into a separate room from us so getting a cot at this stage wasn't on my mind.

Co-sleeping wasn't an option at this point because we'd done that and Roman really didn't like it - and that's not me saying we hated it and using him as an excuse. He would cry until he was in his crib and then he'd settle down. If we had him in with us he'd just cry and cry for hours. Nightmare scenario and none of us happy.

Then we thought about what we used to do on the nights he was new and wouldn't sleep; the buggy. I felt bad about doing this (take note of how many times I feel bad or guilty) but then it did make life happier for us all. Roman slept, we slept, we were all happy. So I was happy.

However, this presented a problem. He associated sleep with the buggy and nowhere else. When we got our cot (kindly donated by a's amazing how much we've been given or had a loan of) I put him in it and he settled down for a snooze. Perfect. We'd cracked it. Own room, own bed and fast asleep on the first night of trying! Then he woke 40 minutes later. Screaming like I have never heard anyone scream before.

And after about an hour and a half of rocking, feeding and changing him he still wouldn't stop. I think I actually screamed at him in this hour and a half and shamefully this wasn't the first time. Lack of sleep was to blame for all the other times (yep, I said "times", which means more than once) and this time I felt so annoyed at myself. I had been so smug that I had cracked his sleeping associations with the buggy and here we were me all wound up and him all wound up.

So I cracked and put him back into the buggy after I screamed at him. Whenever I get angry at myself and start screaming at a baby I know I have reached my limit and I need to stop and walk away from the situation there and then. That I did. And do you know what? Within seconds of going into that buggy he was out. And he didn't get up until 10am the next morning. Poor boy worked himself into exhaustion.

With a lot of pressure lately about him not sleeping in the cot (I know, I know, I shouldn't listen and follow mine and Bryan's way we want to do things, but occasionally I think "they know better than me" and I crack under all the pressure) I decided tonight that we would get him back into the cot. We put him in no problemo, he went to sleep, everything was great. I felt accomplished, but just in case we had a waking like last time I said to Bryan: "Whatever happens, we don't put him in the buggy." I even said it to him about 5 seconds later just to impress the point further.

"Okay, whatever happens," he said in a knowing tone. Knowing in this context being that "whatever happens" means if he's crying and not settling we just crumble like the weaklings we can be sometimes and put him into the buggy. Terrible, terrible parenting. So twenty minutes later I hear the cat-in-the-bag screams eliciting from his bedroom. My stomach churns and the devil on my shoulder is jumping up and down shouting; "Put him in the buggy, put him in the buggy!".

I want to remain consistent with this, even if this takes all night, he WILL stay in that cot.

Looking back I am being very unfair on Roman. For a start what people don't know is that his curtains fell down about a month ago. We have tried on numerous occasions to put them back up again, but it doesn't work. I have even resulted to climbing up on the window frame, with the threat of falling out the window, and hanging a purple sheet up - I would use black but seeing as we're not goths, we don't own such bedding and to be fair the purple is a dark purple. None of these tactics work.

So tonight I had Bryan climb up on the window sill, life in his hands, and pin up a bigger sheet. This worked but it looks a bit ridiculous - we really need curtains, not blooming sheets, up there. So I plopped him in the cot. All was well until the twenty minutes later he woke screaming. And I don't blame him.

At least in his buggy it's dark. It's smaller but he can stretch out and feel secure, whereas in the cot he does look swamped. We have a sleeping bag, a night light, a favourite toy so according to every one else I know whose moved their children into cots and every book I can get my hands on on the subject, we're all set up for success.

The only two things in our way are the lack of curtains. And the buggy.

I just hope he's not trying to sleep in a buggy when he's 20 years old. That could get embarrassing for him when he tries to explain that to his room mates at University...