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Monday, March 21, 2005

The Whole Night? They Do That? 

Since this is nominally a Daddy Blog, I thought I should discuss Hank-style parenting. When YW was teeny we lived in Minnesota in a 1-bedroom basement Granny Apartment in Saint Anthony Park. The layout of the apartment was such that his crib had to be in the bedroom with us. It actually worked pretty well. When he woke up and needed some boob time I didn't have to walk far in order to bring him to MLWN.

At his 6-month Well Baby Checkup the pediatrician asked if he was sleeping through the night. Our response was that he only woke up once or twice a night and it wasn't too bad. Her response was to tell us that he was taking advantage of us. In her words, "He's taking advantage of you. He is perfectly capable of sleeping through the night. When he wakes up in the middle of the night he gets lonely and cries so he can have some company. You will get him to sleep through the night." Given those marching orders we made our plans. We decided to wait until Friday night to implement the plan. That way we had two nights where we there would be no work the following day. On Friday night we put YW to bed and a little later we went to bed ourselves. A few hours later he woke up and commenced crying. Remember, we're all in the same room. MLWN and I stayed quiet in bed and let him cry. After about 20 minutes he started to calm down. The last 5 minutes of his 30 minutes of wakefulness were more plaintive squeaks than real wails. He went to sleep and slept until morning. The next night he woke up and cried for about 5 minutes. On Sunday he woke up did one of the plaintive peeps and went straight to sleep. After that he was trained, except for intermittent backsliding that occurred when he was sick.

YA, though, was a much different story. When he came on the scene we had moved to Pacifica and were living in our house. A bedroom for everyone! Woo! But, MLWN didn't like listening to him cry. So, even though we knew what had worked with YW, she'd make me go get him well past the 6-month mark. By the time we got him to sleep through the night he had been walking for a while. And here, internets, is the take-home message of this post: train your babies to sleep through the night before they can stand up. If you're lying on your back wailing at the top of your lungs and you lose focus you can drop off mid-howl. But if you're standing up hanging onto the rails of your crib while screaming, you have to admit defeat and lie down before you will stop crying. During the training process YA would howl for an incredibly long time, and man, he sounded angry. He's fine now, but if I had to do it all over again, I would have refused to get him when he was crying at 6 months

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