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Friday, December 02, 2005

Low Point_: Crying in the night

I have to say that the biggest test of any parent is having to put up with your child screaming between midnight and three o'clock in the morning when all you want to do is sleep and you have done everything you can to calm him down.

Sometimes there is just no rhyme or reason to the tears. Last night was exactly that. He was in his cot in our room as usual and at around midnight he woke up - as usual - and had a little bit of a whinge. We attempted to make him fall asleep in his cot but because we are tired (& weak) we picked him up and brought him into bed with us.

Usually this has the desired effect, he is straight off to sleep, but last night he just kept wiggling around, he kept waking up and having a bit of a scream, he was scratching, grabbing, even biting at one point. I just got sick of it, I picked him up and put him back in his cot, I turned to Penny and said that is it, it was time to try some controlled crying.

Controlled crying for those who don't know is simply this: letting your kid to cry until he basically gets bored of the idea. The assumption is that your baby isn't really upset, but is just using crying and screams as a method of communication in lieu of any vocabulary. There are two problems with that, firstly when your baby cries it is pain, the world is falling down, it is your primary concern that matter how much you try and block it out. Secondly, who is to say what it is "communication" and what is genuine upset and distress, I tell you, Ripley must be the best actor in the world.

It started to look as if it would work, for the first 15 minutes he was crying, and I have to admit it was totally heartbreaking. But then all of a sudden he stopped, he looked at something on the ground and pointed at it, he was staring at it for about five minutes, he then started laughing and making little grabbing motions toward it, he was looking at me then looking at the object then looking back at me, although at this point I was extremely tired I had to check what he was looking at. I swung myself out of bed and looked down at the area between the carpet on the wall. Nothing, there was nothing there. I looked at him and he laughed at me. I had to wonder if he did this on purpose, paranoia brought on by fatigue, you may well think so in the cold light of day but I am not so sure. I said to him in a slightly sterner voice "Ripley, lie down and go to sleep please", he looked at me and frowned, then shook his head with eyes locked on mine. I repeated the request, he shook his head, I said it again, he shook his head violently and made a disgruntled screech. I decided to ignore him and trying to go back to sleep, he spent the rest of the time screeming, crying, pausing, laughing, everything a baby can do but sleep.

Penny, aware of the fact that I had to get up to work in the morning, got up and gave him a cuddle. In the end she had to give up and took him into bed with us once more. He fell straight to sleep.

It is very very very hard to know what to do the best, if you read the books and if you talk to the midwives they will always tell you the same things, try controlled crying, let them scream for a bit. I remember thinking to myself before I had the baby (the naive years) that I wasn't going to take any crap. But we take crap for this little guy all the time. It is just part of being a parent I guess.

As you can probably tell from the fragmented train of thought you are reading, this post was again a product of voice recognition. I guess you get an impression of how I really speak. So it is quite good for that reason. Hopefully it wasn't too rambling.

This morning Ripley was the same happy little boy that he was yesterday, evidently any malice he held toward us for the ordeal he was put through was forgiven and forgotten. I guess he couldn't have been that upset. The question is - do we try and make him sleep in his cot again tonight. My mind says yes but my heart will always say no. I guess I really am weak.

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