Friday, July 15, 2011

Christmas in July

One of the nice things about Cruz's pediatric check-ups is that they keep me in check.  It's funny - in today's world, it seems you can't do a whole lot without some kind of training.  You are required to take a course before obtaining your driver's license.  When you want to learn to play piano, you take piano lessons.  You go to school for four-plus years in order to work at a job, yet, you don't need any prerequisites for the absolute most important 'job' in one's life.

Parenting, that is. 

Nope, you get pregnant, and have the option of taking a class called, 'Baby Basics,' which promises to teach you everything there is to know about bringing a baby into this world in just two, two hour class periods.  Then, once you have the baby, they keep you in the hospital for two days, make you watch a video on The Purple Cry that explains how not to strangle your baby when they cry (which scares the living out of you), and send you on your merry little way.  The day we brought Cruz home, we desperately wanted someone to reassure us that our carseat was buckled in correctly.  A lady escorted us to the parking lot, checked to make sure we had a carseat, then left.  When we asked her to check it, she said she couldn't touch it for 'liability issues.'  What???

So, every three months, I take mental notes of various questions to ask our pediatrician.  Questions about what Cruz is eating, how much Cruz is eating, sleeping habits, behaviors, and lots of 'is this normal?' questions.   I get the reassurance I need, and always take away pieces of interesting advice to apply at home.  I'm a teacher, I understand the importance of homework.  

Yesterday, Cruz had his nine-month appointment.  This was a good one, as he wasn't due for any shots.  Cruz turned up the charm for the nurse; that is, until she started sticking stethoscopes on his chest and thermometers in his ear.  At six months, Cruz weighed 18 pounds, 4 ounces.  At nine months, we gained three and a half pounds!  At 21 pounds, 12 ounces, Cruz went from the 50th percentile to the 75th!  The funniest part is that his height didn't change!  In fact, according to the measurements, he actually lost a quarter inch!  When his doctor saw the charts, he laughed and replied that, 'we can't shrink 'em!'  So, Cruz Man reversed in height and weight.  I guess it's proof that I'm feeding him well ;)

As far as my homework goes, I've been pondering two pieces of advice since his appointment.  The first one - shoes.  To get his feet ready for walking, it's important that he get used to shoes.  Cruz has never worn a pair of shoes a day in his life.  To be honest, I'm not a fan of them.  There's nothing cuter than a pair of tan, bare baby feet, and I've never understood shoes on a baby when they can't walk anyway.  Well, I guess I learned my lesson today.  Cruz is getting a new pair of kicks this week.

The second lesson was a little less obvious.  We've always considered Cruz an exceptional sleeper.  Bedtime is the same routine every night...pajamas, a blanket, a bottle, and a good snuggle while Cruz passes out on either Beau or I before we put him in his crib for the night.  Rocking him to sleep is one of my favorite times of the night.  According to the nurse, however, we aren't teaching Cruz to console himself by rocking him to sleep.  In order to get him in a sleep routine where he falls asleep on his own, we have to put him in his crib drowsy, but awake.  And if he cries, we let him cry.  After a few attempts, he will learn to put himself back to sleep.  This way, when he occasionally wakes up in the middle of the night, he will be able to fall back to sleep on his own instead of crying for us to come get him.  

This sounds easy, right?  After all, I want Cruz to someday put himself to bed, to listen to a few bedtime stories, say his prayers, then climb under the covers, blankie or whatever in hand, and drift into dreamland without a rock, or a bottle, or a shoulder.  So, last night, we tried it.  I gave Cruz his bottle, stuck his paci in his mouth, and laid him in his crib.  He was very tired, but awake, and started fussing the minute I put him down.  I took a deep breath, shut the door, and sat in the livingroom for what was the longest ten minutes of my life.  

It was excruciating.  After ten minutes, I went in to check on him.  There he was, arms draped over his crib rail, alligator tears streaming down his face, standing straight up with his blankie tangled between his legs.  And the worst part?  He had worked himself up so much that he had puked on the floor beside his crib.  He looked so relieved to see me, and the minute I picked him up, he snuggled in, let out a sweet sigh, and fell asleep.  I rocked my Mom-guilt away in the comfort of the Lazy Boy, and read countless 'Cry It Out' message boards for answers, before putting my fast asleep baby in his crib where he slept until 7 am. 

So, for all you pros out there, what are your thoughts on the Cry It Out method?  Did you try it?  Was it successful?  What strategies worked for you?  

 And for those of you opposed to it, what did you do to develop a successful bedtime routine?  How did you transition away from a bedtime bottle and rock to sleep?  I'm not planning on giving up Cruz's bedtime bottle anytime soon, but also don't want to encounter a situation similar to our shoes predicament.  I rock Cruz to sleep during the day, at night, and if he gets up in the middle of the night.  I'm I creating a sleep monster?!  

Cruz has turned into a true 'crawler' this week, and it's really changed things.  He's all over the place, following me and Jade around throughout the day.  He's also less bored, as he has a whole new world at his fingertips.  So much to explore that I'm afraid his toys are a distant memory. 


Why wear shoes when I don't even wear clothes?

Oh, and the post title?  UPS arrived on our doorstep the other day, and created a sea of boxes, bubble wrap, and paper goods for Cruz to explore.  Amazon came through on three essentials for me, creating what we referred to as Christmas in July the other night.

A rear, or front facing convertible carseat.  I researched for five minutes before finding 'the one.'  Cruz has definitely outgrown his infant seat, and looks much more comfortable in his new one.   

A Vtech Learning Walker.  It's a walker for babies.  This toy has an identity crisis.  It has farm sound effects, a plastic phone, a bumblebee rattle, and a piano.  It's a headache on wheels, but Cruz is a big fan.  His little feet can't keep up with the wheels quite yet, but he'll be tearing through the house all too soon.

This cute little sprinkler was $9.99.    

...And all he wants is his dad's baseball cap.


  1. The cry it out method... I know how tough this is, but TRUST ME when I say you will be thankful later on if you can get him to put himself to sleep. Once you have TWO kids, life will be much easier if bedtime isn't a battle. :) Both of our boys learned to put themselves to sleep (unless they were teething or sick) -- when they were around four months old. I saw Cody's sister struggle for a very long time... about two years... to get her daughter to go to sleep because she spent so many months rocking Ella that even as she got older Ella would scream when she had to go to bed. My doctor always told me to do it in stages... when you're first starting... wait maybe ten minutes. If they're still crying, go in, show them you are still around, pat their back, and force them to lie back down. But don't pick them up. Over time increase it to 15 minutes - and then to 20. (Never go longer than 20, he said). Eventually it will work. Develop a new routine, a book, a bottle, cuddle while he gets his bottle and then put him to bed. It won't take long before he forgets that old routine of you rocking him to sleep and he adjusts to the new routine. This is what worked for us -- but everyone is different. I wish you good luck -- and hang in there!

  2. I think it's really up to the child, if they're ready to sleep on their own or not.

    During our son's first 6 months or so we would let him sleep in the cosleeper or in bed with us...he is breastfed so it made night feedings easy on my wife.

    Now at 9 months he is out of our bed and sleeping in his crib. Does he sleep through the night? No. But only gets up once or twice and then I go in and rock him back down and put him back in his crib.

    My opinion...he's a baby. He can't communicate and he's helpless. If what he needs to sleep 6 hours straight is for me to rock him for 5 minutes at 3:00am, so be it. Once he is older and can understand me or my wife when we explain to him its bed time and we have to sleep, then I'd feel more comfortable letting him cry a little bit. But as a baby, I don't agree with the cry it out method...even though it obviously works for some.

    I think what you're doing is fine...and if my wife and I and you end up with a 9 year old who's sleeping in our beds every night, then I will eat my words.

    Stay strong, don't feel like just because she's a nurse/doctor you need to listen to her advice on non-medical topics like sleeping.

  3. I have similar suggestions. Jani has been a rockstar with the bed routine since around 4 months. We followed my sisters' lead. I read a number of books. One of them was Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and another was Baby Wise. Both gave great information. We started small. We put her down and let her cry for 3 minutes, went in a patted her back and tried to calm her. We never picked her up or talked to her. Just let her feel that we were there. Then we waited 5 minutes. Then 7....then 10. You get my point. It took three nights and now she puts herself to sleep at night and for naps. It's wonderful and I know it will come in handy whenever #2 comes into the picture. I know it's hard and the older he gets the harder it gets because he will become more aware of everything. Like Nicole said, that's what worked for us but it isn't for everyone :) Good luck!!

  4. We put Jack down awake -- groggy -- but still eyes open. At first he would SCREAM! Crocodile tears; near-panic-attack cries. We'd always give it 15 minutes, then go snuggle for just a minute, then try again (up to 45 minutes). After about two weeks we had a baby who actually liked to be in his crib awake, and to this day he doesn't cry to fall asleep. You can do it! I also read the book Baby Wise, and it helped me form that sleeping pattern. I'm sure since Cruz is aware of what's going on it might take a little while...but it'll be worth it! Our friends still have to crawl into their 3-year-old's bed to get her to sleep after rocking her as a baby. Also, Puma makes cute little velcro baby shoes that Jack isn't able to kick off, and they match all the Baby Gap gear!!

  5. I have Baby Wise if you want to borrow it :)

  6. We used to let Maisy cry herself to sleep but she would work herself up so much she also would end up puking. We tried for weeks with no improvement. We now rock for 5 minutes or so until she is drowsy and then lay her in her crib awake. We put our hand on her back and she is sound asleep within 2 minutes...I think she just likes to know we are around. If she wakes in the middle of the night we let her cry...usually only lasts 5 minutes. If it is longer we go in and put our hand on her back. I feel this is a good compromise to the "cry it out, rip your heart out." Honestly every kid learns how to be a good sleeper eventually...I don't think we will ever regret our rocking time. They are babies for such a short time! Good luck.



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