I’m finding that everything I try to accomplish with Matthew involves gaining his trust in some way. Be it feeding him new foods, keeping him safe, or getting him to sleep – it’s me who has to gain his trust. It’s not just granted because I’m his mother.
Matthew slept through the night AGAIN last night – and longer than the night before. We were still up in the 5:0o hour, but 5:38 is better than 5:13! He whimpered again last night at 3:15 (he must sleep cycle right around then) but got himself through it within seconds and put himself back to sleep. You may remember that we went through a phase where he would only nap in my arms. As nice as it is to snuggle your baby, spending up to 4 hours a day in a chair is not ideal. I figured that he was fearing being put in his crib and left there – and I think I was right. Now that we’ve gotten over the hurdle (disaster) of last week, he’s sleeping so well both at night and during naps. I still nurse him to sleep for both bedtime and naps*, and he now trusts me to transfer him to his crib and come back when he’s ready – not necessarily the next time he wakes up. Before, I would just get him to the mattress before he would absolutely freak out. It did not matter how asleep he was – mattress equaled being abandoned to him – and he would wake up fully and scream. Now, he stretches a big stretch as I lower him into his crib, grabs his lovey, and settles in. He’ll even look up at me like, “see you in a bit, Mom.” When he was napping this morning, he did wake up and I worried because it had only been 20 minutes. But he rolled to his back, stretched, babbled a second, rolled back onto his tummy – and went to sleep. I about died!
He is waking up happy from his naps (but not bedtime!). Instead of crying for my attention, he sets himself up as he babbles and grabs his favorite stuffed animal to play. He trusts that I’ll hear him and come to him. I can even take my time getting there now – he still won’t cry or scream for me.
I’ve noticed the same thing when it comes to his safety. He’s gotten to the point where he’ll screech for help if he needs it, and he trusts me when I walk away from him in a big-boy situation (standing up at his table, cruising the furniture, crawling down the hall). He used to require my presence at all times, but he now trusts that I’ll come back to help him when he needs or wants it. I know that this is a regular development for kids, but I never equated it to trust.
Food. My child eats anything I put in front of him. He used to be very skeptical and would show that on his face. Now, he knows his food won’t be too hot, too cold, or disgusting (HA!). He trusts that I’ll get him more if he wants more, and that I won’t force it if he’s had enough. I wasn’t always like that – I had to learn his cues and preferences. Now that I know them, he trusts me to get it right (and I usually do!).
Where we have not gained trust? Diaper changes. Holy hell – that is a major ordeal all of a sudden 😉
* Ferber says not to nurse your babies to sleep ever, unless they are able to sleep through the night. If you nurse them to sleep and they already sleep through the night, then you don’t have a problem (that’s what he says). I struggled with giving up the nursing – I flat out refused to do it. B read chapter 4 of the book and said, “well, we know the problem. You’re nursing him to sleep each.and.every.time.” I told him that Ferber says that’s OK if they’ll sleep through the night. He pointed out that it’s not OK in our situation because Matthew is NOT sleeping through the night. He lovingly said that I can’t have it both ways (which according to the book, is true). I’m happy to report that my refusal to give up the nursing has paid off, and I NOW have a child who naps very successfully after being nursed to sleep (successfully = 1-2 hour naps) and is sleeping through the night after being nursed to sleep. I CAN HAVE IT BOTH WAYS 🙂