baby sleep, motherhood, parenting

Crying-it-out: Because for you my toes

Separation Anxiety, the doctor said yesterday at his six month check up. That is why he is waking up screaming in his crib for the past few days. He’s playing you, she said. He’s messing with you because he knows he can. Let him cry it out. I shook my head feeling tearful, but if I’m crying I don’t want to be ignored I want to be attended to, how can I let him cry himself to sleep needing me. She shook her head, a crying baby isnt rational. Its okay to let him cry. I went home feeling a weight on my heart so real it felt physical. Maybe after Thanksgiving K and I decided.

Last night, I dreamt I was touching an open flame. I woke to find him snuggled against me, his skin red hot. Fever check: 104. We bathed him. Warm compress to the head. Tylenol. Frantic call to the doctor. I rocked him to sleep and am monitoring him today.

I cant properly explain what it felt like to feel that hot skin against my fingers. The burden of motherhood is heavy but the weight is not on your aching back, the burden is on your heart, knowing that as desperately as you want to fix things its not in your control. Moments like this make me wonder how deep is the well of a mother’s love? I thought I’d scraped my fingers along its murky floors, but today I realize I’ve been treading in the shallow end. As I rock him to sleep I know I’d sell my toes to the highest bidder if it meant he would never feel pain again.

So I won’t be crying it out. I want sleep. I need sleep. I dream about sleep. But Im not in a place where I can let him cry-it-out. In the past I’ve let him cry for ten minutes when nothing I did worked and the ragged breath, the grateful smile when he saw me, his arms reaching up and then clinging to me like I was the last rescue boat on a sinking ship- I can’t handle it. I’m sure he’ll be fine. I’m sure like the doctor said, there will be no lasting psychological impact on him but I’m not so sure about me. His cries may stem from an irrational place, but my own tears are not always well justified. I know there will be times I’ll have to let him cry like when he wants the toy, or the wire to chew on, or the car, but right now he is six-months-old, and though I know excellent parents who do this and it works- its just not going to work for me. My eyes are more defined by circles than they once were, and the tea makers are noticing a spike in sales, but I can’t handle knowing that in order for him to sleep through the night, he has to accept that no matter how hard he screams, his mother won’t come to him to make it better. This time feels enduring and all encompassing but its not- it will be over before I know it.

12 thoughts on “Crying-it-out: Because for you my toes”

  1. Oh, sweetie. I had tears in my eyes reading this post. SO much love for little Waleed, so much tenderness & caring.

    It is so hard to be sleep deprived, I know. Sometimes you can taste it & feel that you would do anything to be able to sleep just 15 more minutes, to not be so tired all the time.

    And, you're right, even as adults we display irrational behavior, and the last thing we want is for loved ones to ignore us and leave us alone in misery. I can only imagine how much more intense it is for an infant, who is dealing with so many new sensory, physical, and mental experiences every day and needs comfort and help in processing all that.

    It's really hard. But you will get through this. Looking back at the first 6 weeks when every minute was so hard I thought it would never pass, and yet it did. The only thing that remains constant is that as soon as you adjust to his schedule, he'll change again. Hopefully he'll get through this interrupted phase soon, love. Hang in there!

    And when you said this about motherhood – 'I thought I'd scraped my fingers along its murky floors, but today I realize I've been treading in the shallow end' – I found myself nodding. So true – beautifully said!

    Lots of love & hugs coming your way, today & always.

    – Baraka


  2. After the first vaccination he had just very mild fever. Now it is higher. So I just gave George some paracetamol suppository as per the doctor's instructions. I nurse him more often than usual and he appreciates it, both the extra fluids and the cuddles. I kept him in the sling practically all day. And it seems that the fever is slowly getting back down. Not the fussiness though.

    'Sleep training' is just wishful thinking. I know that crying won't hurt him as much as can hurt me, but still… If I stay by his cot and touch gently his head and talk and sing, he calms down. But that is it, no falling asleep by himself. And I honestly do not see that happening soon. But I am trying.


  3. Aww Aisha, sorry the poor little guy is sick. Its really so hard when they're like that. J had a fever last week and all I could think about as I was holding him was that I would literally do anything to take his pain away. As for crying it out, I couldnt do it either. I lasted about 5 minutes before I gave in. I also thought he wont be a baby for too long, he needs me so much right now, I cant just walk away. Take heart, J now sleeps through the night and he's been doing it since about 8 months. You'll be there soon too, hang in there.


  4. i am 100% with you on the crying it out thing, i don't buy it. when my baby is crying my instincts tell me to pick her up, so that is what i do. i think it is easy for me to feel this way because louise is a good sleeper. most nights she sleeps through the night, once in a while she will wake up, sometimes once, sometimes twice, occasionally more than that, but most of the time i get a good night's sleep. if she was not a good sleeper i might have caved from lack of sleep, i can't imagine letting my baby cry, but we all need to sleep at some point.
    louise is sick as well, second time in the last month, boo. i hope waleed (walleed?) feels better soon.


  5. I will never let my baby cry it out. They obviously need something if they are crying whether it is a pat on the back, a hug, or a bottle. I thought by responding to a crying baby it teaches them trust??


  6. Baraka- a friend once said to me when I plaintively complained “he was sleeping five hours- I thought it would increase to six, then seven. . . ” and she said it doesn't work that way- kids evolve every single day- she is so right. Thank you for sympathizing with me and as always thank you for your support ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kmina- thanks for sharing what worked for you- as for sleep training- i think he's sleep training me more than anything.

    Maleeha, Thank you for relating to what I'm going through and the kernel of hope that this too shall pass. Eight months huh? Nearly there!

    Kate, I remember you talking about that a while back and like you I think I have instincts for a reason- so far I'm not able to ignore them. Maybe I might reach a point where something will have to be done, but for now I'm hanging in there.

    E, That's what I thought too, but this theory seems to be in the minority at least with poepole I come across. I do'nt get it.


  7. my mom's theory is, if they didn't do it 100 years ago you don't need to do it today, lol, i don't know about that but i do know that we have instincts for a reason and we need to listen to them, especially when it comes to our children.


  8. Trust your instincts! That's what motherhood is about. I don't believe in cry it out either and we never did that. After over a year of sleep deprivation for myself and my husband, we hired a sleep consultant to support our family in sleeping through the night and it was magic…there was some crying because of things changing but it was done in a supportive environment and our baby learned quickly how to sleep through the night…


  9. Kate- you're so right- instincts are tehre for a reason. Thanks for the reassurance.

    Stacey- thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ Can't wait for you to be in my shoes!

    The Write Mama- thanks for the comment! A sleep consultant They have those? Where did you find it?


  10. Our sleep consultant is based in Vancouver, BC, but her program can be done with a consultation over the phone followed up by a customized sleep plan with 3 weeks of email support (which is what we did). I highly recommend her services. Check out her website The other alternative is to look for someone in your local area…


  11. ok I'm going to be that one person that everyone's gonna hate for saying this, but I love sleep training (ducks to avoid flying eggs thrown my way). Don't get me wrong, it was probably the single hardest thing I had to go thru with my child thus far, but like you mentioned, it was harder for me than for her. But isn't that what being a parent is all about? Putting yourself thru the fire and doing what best for your baby? Each situation, mother and child is different and only you know what will work best for you and sweet little Waleed.

    But just to clarify, sleep training doesn't mean letting a child cry non-stop until they fall asleep but rather a most systematic approach to teaching a child to self soothe, along with consistent reminders of your presence. I know you Aisha and I know you've done your research so you know all the different methods ๐Ÿ™‚ But if you do choose to go that route, I'm here if you have any questions!


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