For 37 weeks, I nurtured my little Ladybug as she baked in my tummy. We sang and read stories to her as if she were already part of the family. Bean would talk to her daily and even share toys with my belly anticipating a response. Since her birth, I have religiously nursed her on demand. When she's in my arms I cover her face with kisses. Every night before going to bed, I will stare into her eyes until her lids get heavy, leading her into a peaceful slumber. As she drifts off she will pinch any object in arms reach, kick her restless legs, and pacify on her helpless binky. I carefully hug her and let her use me as her comfort object until she is sound asleep. This has worked exceptionally well, except the fact that she has been in our bed for the past 8 months. ----- This is when the record stops with a loud scratch and the peaceful music stops. ------- Hello sleep training.
I nervously sat on my bed holding a full glass of wine as the volume on the TV was slightly one decibel above the screams coming from Ladybug's room. It's been a miserable hour and a half and nothing will stop the crying. Of course, I KNOW what will stop it, but a sudden flashback enters my mind of the same pain we endured with Bean only two years earlier. Brett entered our room and said, "40 minutes". A heavy feeling overcame me. "If she is still crying in 40 minutes....", I started to say with an attitude. "We HAVE to do it. She needs to learn", he interrupted.
I sat there, angry and frustrated knowing that we were causing this little baby so much pain. All she wanted was me. She wanted to gaze into my eyes for a moment, to see the love, to study the only face she probably has memorized. To hold my hand until she couldn't squeeze any tighter. To know that I was there to protect and comfort her. "She probably feels like I've abandoned her! She's never gone to sleep without me before, damn it!" I yelled hoping that he'd give in. As we argued about the pros and cons we started to notice that we were getting louder so we stopped. There was silence, no crying, no whining, just silence.......She did it. She was a s l e e p. We waited. We muted the TV. Even the dog poked his head out from under his cover and cocked his head as if in disbelief.
Five nights later we were all enjoying the new sleep routine. I must admit, I did enjoy getting more than 4 hours of rest, but I deeply missed the feelings I shared with Ladybug before falling asleep. After laying her down in her crib, Bean and I went outside to enjoy the cool breeze while chatting about the day on our porch swing. I had tucked her under my right arm and started brushing her hair with my hand when I noticed that she was overheated. 103.4. "Let's get you some baby Tylenol and see how you feel in the morning", I said. As we started to head upstairs she looked up at me and asked, "Can you sleep with me tonight? Like you used to when I was a baby?"
I gasped, "How do you rememb..." I caught myself. "Gladly" I said with a comforted smile.