Right. So before big boy bed there was family bed. BIG family bed but Mommy and Daddy slept on slivers of bed on each side and Lord Muck was in the centre. Not comfortable, not conducive to a happy, healthy marriage.
When we moved him to his campcot next to our bed there were lots of tears. Mostly mine! He would fall asleep in our bed and I would transfer him when he was asleep. Or he would fall asleep on my lap in the rocking chair and I’d put him in his cot. The second he woke up, he would stand up and scream to be let back into family bed. I allowed this to happen for far too long as I was tired and at night he only wanted ME not Daddy. We came very close to having a huge fight about this. But I knew I was the problem. Husband would try to soothe him and he’d persevere through all the kicking and screaming and punching but I’d be the one who couldn’t bear it.
Until one night when I was just dead tired and needed to SLEEP. I put Thomas in his cot, slung my one arm over the rail, patted and patted and fell asleep. Once I stopped patting he started howling but I was beyond my limit. Told husband to leave him and let him cry it out. He used to cry for anything from 5 to 15 minutes and I just let him. My reasoning was you’re fed, dry and not in pain… so sleep. And all he wanted was to get to my BOOBIES. Once he understood that Mommy had shut shop for the night, he quickly cut down his crying time as well. And so with a little less crying every night we got to where we are today. There were of course nights when I could hear it wasn’t just a ‘I want to be in your bed and under your boobies’ cry and that something was amiss. On those nights it was either the ear infection he had during that time and the last bits of his molars breaking through his gums. And on those nights I held him tight and had him in bed with us.
Once Thomas understood that A: It’s possible to sleep away from Mommy and survive and B: that when he wakes up Mommy WILL be there and C: Mommy is no longer falling for the fake crying that usually led to him being set free from his cot . . . things went a whole lot better at night. He started drinking milk formula for the first time at 18 months. Because the kids at creche still drink bottles he started asking for a bottle as well. It’s so funny now. He first asks me for ‘booby’ at night and when I tell him no booby, he then asks for bottie. And when we cuddle in the morning I still give him booby if he’s just too irresistable! So an ocean of tears later – some very fake tears too – I can say that my version of controlled crying and self soothing worked and I survived the snot and tears. And every bit of that “Oh I’m a crap mother” jol that echoes through those long, lonely and hard hours when they cry is all forgotten once they sleep through.