Compassion

Compassion: from late Latin, com (with) + pati (to suffer); to suffer together

So, I’ve had it. Not sleep, of course, but the lack thereof. For almost ten months, I’ve averaged four or five hours of sleep a night, total. I can’t do this anymore.

Enter, sleep training.

Why can't it always be this way?

Obviously I should’ve done this seven months ago. But I didn’t. I can give you excuses about Baby J’s GERD and sleeping in a swing and me making bad decisions when I’m sleep-deprived, but none of it matters at this point. The fact is, I didn’t do it earlier, so I have to do it now– now, when my child can stand up and shake the bars of his crib, when he can throw things out of the crib and pull things into it, when he can babble “mamamamama” and “dadadada” so plaintively one might think he actually knows what he’s saying. I am not looking forward to this.

Part of my reticence about sleep training comes from my morose outlook on life. Life is hard. Life stinks. People will always let you down. Sad, but true. (That said, I consider myself an optimist. Because even though I know people will let me down, I love them and trust them anyway. Maybe that’s more stupidity than optimism though.) I kind of think that, given that life is generally a stinky sock full of cockroaches and old cheese, shouldn’t there be someone who is in your corner no matter what? (Yeah, yeah, God always loves you. Blah blah blah. So, ok, someone in addition to God.) And shouldn’t that person be your mother? I want Baby J to know that I will always, always be there for him no matter what, and that he can trust me. I kind of think (thought) that sleep training sends the opposite message.

But I’m just so tired.

So I picked up a couple of books from Borders yesterday, including The Baby Sleep Solution. I like this book because 1. it is cheap, 2. it can be read quickly (even by my standards), and 3. it allows for limited crying only. The author says, speaking as a parent to the child, roughly paraphrased, “I can’t do this for you, but I am here with you while you do it. You are not alone. I love you.” And I realized, yes.

Would I ever do my child’s homework for him? No.
Would I ever take his place on a sports team and hit the home run for him (ha ha)? No.
I can’t eat his peas for him, I can’t learn to walk for him, I can’t take his bath for him, I can’t go on a mission for him, I can’t do his career for him– but I can be there with him while he does these things.

The fact is, he needs to learn certain things. If I don’t teach him, then maybe Life will, and, as I’ve said, Life is not so kind. So, I’m gearing up for Mean Mom Boot Camp tomorrow night, in which I begin to tell J things he doesn’t want to hear because it’s for his own good. Because he can trust me– he can trust me to do what’s genuinely best for him (as far as I can tell) at the expense of our mutual comfort. Because I am on his side, because I do love him, we are going to do this hard thing. But we are going to do it together.

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3 thoughts on “Compassion

  1. It is best for BOTH of you that he learns to fall asleep and stay asleep all night. He will be in a better mood and so will you. With my first baby I refused to let him cry it out. I felt like a horrible mom! I finally got to the point you are at and couldn’t handle not sleeping anymore. After a couple of nights of screaming he did it! We both finally got some sleep and were better for it. It has gotten a little easier with each of my kids. I know that for everyone’s health and happiness we need to go through a few rough nights. Maverick is about to turn 8 and is the BEST sleeper I could ever ask for. You would never know 7 1/2 years ago I let him scream himself to sleep. Good luck the next few nights. I hope it goes quickly and smoothly.

  2. GOOD LUCK!!!! I can’t imagine how hard it will be on the both of you, but you are right, certain things you have to teach him despite the difficulty… now I need to go potty train Eliza. 🙂 And remember your post title while I do it! 🙂

  3. Ugh. I remember those times with JA. So hard. I remember the distinct moment — when she was actually about J’s age — where I realized that getting up was no longer easier than letting her cry it out. And she did it. And it was so worth it. Hugs in the meantime.

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