Things have gone awry in our households, specifically in our cribs. We have a problem, and I think I am most likely the main culprit.
The problem began when the babies realized they could sit up (and in Elliott's case, pull up) in their cribs. On the floor they know how to go from sitting to lying to sitting to kneeling to crawling. They can move fluidly. In their cribs they seem to forget that they can just lie back down and go to sleep. They will sit up and scream or stand up and cry because they are tired. They are tired...but they want to sit up.
So, I have been going in for several weeks and laying them back down nicely and rubbing their back. Then it progressed to rubbing their back for a while. Then to rubbing their backs and making sure they stayed down until they were asleep. It has turned into this routine of me rubbing backs and pulling feet out to unbend knees and laying them back down and holding them down so they don't get up. It has escalated into madness. My madness.
For those of you who don't have young children right now The word in sleep training is self-soothing. As a parent, you want your child to be able to soothe themselves. This means you don't rock them until they are asleep. You put them down drowsy but not asleep. Self-soothing means you don't create a routine that requires your unending or repeated presence. A noise machine or a CD on repeat are fine because you can just let that play. A lovey is fine because that can stay in the crib with the baby. Nursing a baby to sleep is not fine because the baby associates that with falling asleep. The baby becomes dependent on that action for falling asleep. It may seem harsh, but babies go through sleep cycles too. There are times when they sleep more lightly during the night. If you nurse your baby to sleep, eventually they will need that nursing at various times throughout the night as well. I know. I went through it with Mazie.
Here is another lesson I am learning that I should have just known from common sense: Rubbing a baby's back until they are asleep is not fine because they will wake up and need to you come back in and rub. I fear I have taken away their ability to self-soothe.
Yesterday was a terrible day. The afternoon nap was pure torment. For me as well as for them. It took an hour and a half to get two babies to sleep. Lucia never did take a nap (the second time in less than a week), so she was so fussy the latter part of the afternoon.
I called in my support team: Randi and my sister. (I didn't call Rachael because I just picked her ear about feeding a few days earlier.) These are my three moms I take most of my questions to. After talking with Randi and Karen, I feel like a have a clearer vision of what is going on. Now, H and I just need to formulate our plan. They biggest key is consistency so she and I have to be on the same page.
The good news is that we have a good foundation of sleep. For the most part, the babies have been great sleepers. And, once asleep (knock on a hundred pieces of wood a hundred times) they don't wake up. Also, they are smart. Hopefully our transition back to self-soothing will not be too difficult.
I think one of our biggest challenges will be our schedule. We have had company this week, we are home a week, and then we go to the beach for a week with a group of friends. So, I have a week to shape up. Sleep boot camp here we come. I am not excited for the next few days, but I know it will make things a lot better in the long run.