All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


I am the Problem

I am re-reading the chapter on creating new sleep associations and reviewing my notes from each night.  The first night, he put himself to sleep entirely – he got down from the crib rails, curled up on his lovey, and whimpered himself to sleep.  Only after he’d been asleep for a few minutes did I go back in to cover him with his blanket.  I did not pat his back or do any shhh-ing.

The second night, I had to take him off the rails and lay him down.  I did that each time I went in.  I would then pat his back.  If I remember correctly, he started to calm down as I patted his back and then took a few minutes after I left to really fall asleep.  But I was creating a new sleep association with the back patting.  Last night, I admit that I did pat his back until he was asleep – even if it did only take a minute (I was just trying to calm him and he was asleep before I knew it).  I patted his back off and on while I was checking on him, and I’m not supposed to be doing that.

I did it again today for his nap.  WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?  I know that I’m not supposed to do it, but I do it anyway.

There won’t be a proper nap later today because we have Matthew’s 9 month doctor visit right when he’d be falling asleep, so I’m sure he’ll fall asleep in the  car on the way home.  But tonight?  Tonight I will put him in his room and NOT pat his back as he falls asleep.  I will not pat his back during his awake periods tonight.  I will simply go in, remove him from the crib rails, lay him down, give him a quick pat on the back to help him settle into the mattress (I can’t just walk away!), and then say, “night night,” and exit.  I will not stay in his room for more than ONE minute each time (Ferber says 1-2 minutes but I clearly can’t be trusted with 2 minutes).  And I will NOT do what I did this morning and let him sleep with me once he gets up at 6:00 (he was just so tired and I couldn’t let him struggle like that to stay awake).

What I’m trying to decide is if I should go back and start with the second night’s schedule (5, 10, 12 minute wait periods) instead of the forth night’s schedule (12, 15, 17) since I’m the one who screwed this up?

Uh oh… I just came across a statement that I shouldn’t be using a sound machine for Matthew.  That little tid-bit is on page 96.  Why wouldn’t they put that earlier in the book, like on page 74 where they tell you exactly how to do this process?  I’ve been wondering about that as I’ve been reading but assumed all was fine because there was no mention of it.  Matthew sleeps with a VERY LOUD sound machine all. night. long.  In fact, we have a couple sleep sheep that we used when he was very young but they stopped after 45 minutes and that was all well and good (Matthew stayed asleep just fine after they shut off) until we had a party one night.  We went in to reset the thing every 40 minutes and decided that he sleeps best with the continuous noise.  So I got one that stays on all night.  I actually love it and rely on it via the baby monitor at night to fall asleep (I used to sleep with ear plugs prior to Matthew’s arrival – I’m a terrible sleeper!).  I think that is one association that I am NOT willing to break for Matthew at this time.  That would be pure torture for him!


I Take it Back

So things are NOT getting better – in fact – they are getting worse.  I am up right now, at 4:15, listening to Matthew scream (not just cry like normal) as he stands in his crib stomping his feet.  He woke up at 3:17 (I thought MAYBE this was a good sign since 3/17 is my birthday – I thought maybe it would be an easier night than normal).  We are on our (let me check my spreadsheet…) 4.5th progressive waiting cycle with no end in site.  I say 4.5 because during the first check, I thought I smelled dirty pants and after 7 minutes waiting during the second cycle, I caved and went in to change him.  He hasn’t pooped all day so I didn’t want him falling asleep with dirty pants.  I was fooled.  Just wet.  Sigh.  In my head, it is that interruption of the progressive waiting schedule that messed up this night!

This child is stubborn.  Holy hell.  Not once in the last two nights has he put himself back down – he stands the entire time until I come in and lay him down.  The first night, he would give up and lay down – but not anymore.  He’s onto me.  Who’s training whom here?  And the worst thing?  I woke up at 3:00 wondering if he would wake up.  My body is now trained to get up every night around 2 or 3:00, as I’m trying to train Matthew’s body NOT to!

I am sticking it out, but I bet you I am up for another 45 minutes with this.  The good news is that he did sleep longer this time than other nights, but sh*t – it was still only 7 hours.  Seven hours is no big deal – he used to do 7 hours without effort when he was 3 months old!

Looking at the monitor, it looks like he’s thinking of laying down.  Nope.  He may have thought it, but I think he knows I’m due to come in in another minute.  Here I go….

I broke the rules and stayed an extra minute.  He was falling asleep (I was patting his back, darn it) and I am so tired.  I stopped patting his back and saying anything after the 2 minutes, but I stood there an extra minute watching him and putting his blankie on him.  I KNOW he can put himself to sleep – he does it every night at bed time. Why can’t he do it in the middle of the night?

Dammit this is hard.  And I am starting to wonder if we’re getting anywhere with it.  I hope it clicks here soon, because here are our awake cycle times:

Night 1: 35 minutes of awake time

Night 2: 47 minutes of awake time (up 34% from the prior night)

Night 3: a whopping 72 minutes of awake time (up 53% from the prior night)

What will tomorrow bring – 2 hours of awake time?  That would be on par if he increases his awake time by the percentage he did tonight.  The only thing making me feel at all OK is that we are only doing this once a night.  I cannot imagine doing it more than once.

Matthew is asleep now.  I am going to bed.



Still Obsessed with Sleep!

I can’t think to write about anything but Matthew’s sleeping.  Here it is Easter Sunday and all I’ve done besides Easter lunch with B’s family is read and obsess over Matthew’s sleeping schedule and training.  I want to be done with this by mid-week so we can go to Minneapolis with B for a work trip on Thursday.  What do you bet that doesn’t happen?!

Last night was not as great as the first night, but hey – he still only got up once.  I can’t complain about that.  As I read more and more of Ferber’s book, I realize that we really don’t have it that bad compared to other families.  M only gets up once a night right now.  Sure, we’ve done our weeks of 2 wakings each night, but those were not the norm and usually resulted from him being sick, teething, or not in his own house or bed.  When I take a step back and think about it rationally, I am very lucky that this sweet baby only wants to see me once a night  😉

Last night was a little harder since the waiting periods were longer.  Matthew was up for 47 minutes compared to 35 minutes the night before, but he wasn’t screaming and he was trying to put himself back to sleep.  I had to go in 4 times to check on him, but the last one hardly counts because he was very settled down and I just went in to tuck him in with his blankie.  Tonight, he went to sleep 3 minutes earlier than he did last night so that is progress, I think!

My biggest fear in all of this is NOT the time it takes me each night to help him through this (it’s been rather easy, to be honest), or the “damage” that some may think we’re doing to him (remember, this is easier on him than all the other approaches I’ve tried) – it’s the fact that this baby is getting up at 6:00 AM very consistently.  I’m just not ready to be up at 6:00 AM!  He has ALWAYS tried getting up at 6:00 but B and I would bring him into bed with us to rest until 7:00 or so.  We can’t do that anymore, and Matthew is capitalizing on it.  His 6:00 rise-and-shine today was met with B taking the lead so I could sleep THREE MORE HOURS!  What a nice husband!  They had a great time – they had breakfast together, played, watched some Top Gear, and went for a run.  All of this while I slept so, so peacefully with ear plugs in.

So all-in-all, things are going great!  Matthew did not get the best naps today because we weren’t home (we napped him in the car on the way to B’s parents and then again on the way home), but he went to bed tonight just fine and has naturally pulled his own bedtime back to 8:10 versus our usual 8:30.  He went down at 8:09 both last night and tonight, so I think he’s asking us for an earlier bedtime.

Now – I am going to adjust my own bedtime schedule and go to bed early!


It’s Working

The title of this post is a little misleading.  What I WAS doing was not working so great (err… not at all, really).  What I am doing NOW is working wonders!

Every single night of our little CIO adventure got worse and worse.  I tried the Sleep Lady process of sitting right. next. to. M’s. crib.  That did not work.  If I was there, he would stand up and scream at me to take him out of his crib.  NOTHING I did would console him.  I couldn’t pat his back through the crib rails, I couldn’t sing him to calmness, I couldn’t make eye contact with him, etc.  It was a freaking disaster.  There was nothing about my presence that was calming to him because he wanted in my arms, not to lay next to my hand!  It was awful – just awful.  I would spend up to 45 minutes in there (I sh*t you not) with him screaming at me the whole entire time.  My presence was stressing him out.  After 45 minutes, I’d say, “I’ve done what I can, and I’m leaving now.”  Then the poor little guy would scream for another 15 minutes until he was out of steam – but STILL STANDING in his crib.  At this point in time, I’d go in, lay him down, and pat him to sleep (which is what you’re absolutely NOT supposed to do).  Only after he screamed for a full hour, standing almost the entire time, was I able to lay him down and calm him into a nice, sound sleep.  After this, he would sleep until 6:00 AM at which time B would bring him into our room and I’d nurse him off and on until – oh, I don’t know (really I do know) – 9:00 AM.  And then, and THEN?  Because we slept so late out of pure exhaustion, he’d miss his morning nap.  The day would be totally and completely awful because the poor kid was just exhausted all day.

I did this for five whole nights.  The last night of this adventure, I decided to go in for only a few minutes to check on him and then leave him alone to see if he would calm himself down.  I watched the monitor for about 10 minutes with the volume off but the video on, as I laid in bed wide awake.  Well – I wasn’t that wide awake because I woke up 40 minutes later dreaming that he was crying.  I took a look at the monitor and he was STILL crying (no – screaming is more like it) and standing up in his crib.  He screamed in his crib, STANDING UP, for a straight hour.  It started at 12:08 (not even 4 hours into bedtime) and I woke back up at 1:08.  I was horrified!  What a terrible mother I was – I fell asleep while he suffered immensely.  I RAN into his room, laid him down, gave him a couple pats, and he was out.  And so was I.

No – this was not working at all.  In all fairness to the Sleep Lady, I only read online how to do her process – I did not read her book.  She probably tells you to not bring them into your bed in the AM because you’re both so tired.  But honestly, I tried really hard to do what she, herself, guides you to do online and it did not work for us.

Then, my Canadian counterpart (you know who you are) tweeted me that she had some tips, and she shared them, and I bought Ferber’s book, and we are so, so, SO happy now!

Ferber gets a bad rap.  I have not read the entire book yet (but will, because I’ve read the first couple chapters and I find it TRULY FASCINATING!) but let me tell you – this guy does NOT tell you to leave your kid to scream all night.  His progressive-waiting approach is the most gentle approach we’ve (I’ve) tried – and we’ve (I’ve) tried them ALL.  In case you’re wondering, these are the sleep training approaches we’ve (I’ve) tried:

  • Babywise (this worked great when he was tiny tiny tiny, but we never could drop that final night feeding – no matter what we tried from the book)
  • No Cry Sleep Solution (I despise Elizabeth Pantley – her methods single-handedly took us from one night feeding to THREE)
  • Sleep Lady (total and complete disaster)
  • Extinction process (I’ve never seen him so mad in my entire life)
  • Ferber (happiness is around the corner!)

We are finding that M cries way less with the Ferber method than he did with all the other things we tried (with the exception of Babywise and I think that’s because he was too young to really want his mom all the time).  Last night, he cried and fussed, but he only screamed once.  ONCE!  We followed the guide on page 74 to a T (as advised by my Canadian soul sister) and we only had to have one long section before he was sound asleep ON HIS OWN!  Matthew woke up at 3:04 and I went in after 3, 5, and then 10 minutes and then he was asleep.  I didn’t have to remove him from his standing position, I didn’t have to pat him to sleep, I didn’t have to shhhh shhhh shhhh my way out of the room.  He just laid down – and went to sleep. I got to go back to bed after being up for only 45 minutes.

Of course, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep and finally dozed off at 5:00 and Matthew woke up at 5:55.  I did just as Ferber says and got him up at 6:00 and we went about our day.  I am exhausted from my lack of sleep, but who cares because Matthew put himself to sleep!  Today – he took two SOLID naps in his crib, for a total of 4 hours.  He put himself to sleep tonight at 8:25 after only 16 minutes of fussing.  I only had to check on him once before he was sound asleep.  As I’m writing this, I’m hoping that the night goes like last night or better.  Oh, that would be so nice!

Dr. Ferber is not the mean old guy that all the anti-CIO folks want to make him out to be.  He wants you to check on your baby, he wants you to comfort your baby, he wants you to reassure your baby.  He just doesn’t want you to be your baby’s nighttime crutch.  ALL of the other sleep training approaches we’ve tried have involved WAY more tears than the Ferber method is proving to involve.  I am so grateful!

To my Canadian friend – THANK YOU for the guidance!  We are on the upswing here at the D house!

For those of you trying to figure out the sleeping conundrum, I encourage you to get “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” by Dr. Ferber, read the intro paragraph, and then skip to pages 74-76 and get started immediately.  You’ll be glad you did!

PS – I love the Ferber process SO much that I created a spreadsheet to track our nights so we can watch the trend.



CIO Update – 3 Nights Down!

I’m still tired  😉  I spend an hour up every night listening to Matthew fuss his way back to sleep.  It’s no longer a scream, so that’s good, but oh my – THIS IS HARD!  Tonight will be night #4.  I hope this is the lucky night that he puts himself back to sleep, and then I get to sleep too!  The only good thing about all of this is that I’ve been using that hour each night (starting somewhere between 1:00 and 2:00) to read the PAIL book club selection, “Bringing Up Bebe.”  What a fitting book to read as you’re trying to correct your baby’s sleep patterns!

In case you glossed over it – yes – I am still staying up as Matthew cries it out.  I just can’t go back to bed as he cries miserably in his room.  I like to stay close so that I can run in if things get out of control.  And I feel like it’s my duty to suffer with him since I’m the one doing this to him.  AND – he gets so worked up and finally falls asleep without any blankets on him, and that just seems wrong to me.  So I sit in my chair just outside his room, reading my book, as he drifts off to sleep.  I keep reading until he’s been asleep for 5 minutes and then I run in to cover him up and make him cozy.

I was worried yesterday when it came to nap time.  I nurse him to sleep and I really don’t want that to change, knowing that I only have 3 more months of nursing left.  When I tried to nurse him to sleep yesterday for his two naps, he refused to transfer to his crib.  I worried that he was having anxiety about having to sleep alone – but today – he transferred just fine!  I am so relieved!  He also wouldn’t nurse to sleep at bed time last night, but that was because he ate his dinner too late and had no interest in eating more.  Tonight, he nursed to sleep on cue and made me very, very happy!

The cutest thing did happen the second night that I want to document.  I worry so much because he kneels up on his knees against the crib rail and cries for me, and I worry that he may fall asleep and fall down.  It drives me crazy with worry.  That first night, I kept checking the video monitor and yes, he was still crying up against the rail.  About 5 minutes later, I realized it was silent, so I checked the monitor again.  He was still up on the rail, so I assumed maybe he was just resting.  I finally went in a few minutes later and can you believe it?  He was ASLEEP on his knees, leaning up on the rail.  It broke and melted my heart at the same time.  I laid him down, tucked him in, and went to bed.

This baby warms my heart even when we’re struggling through such a rough time.  I just love him so much!

Nothing else is new, really.  I’m just still really tired!  What mother isn’t though, right??



Matthew has had a very productive week, and I’ve been too exhausted to blog about it.  Instead, I take photos of his accomplishments so that I have a record of the dates.   That’s just terrible.  Later this week, I’ll properly document his milestones and even list all the stuff he did before I started blogging so that it’s all in one place.  Right now, all of that info is on a slip of paper in a drawer in the kitchen – it could easily be discarded by someone not knowing what that list really is.  It is rather cryptic.

Why am I exhausted?  I’m not sleeping.  No one is in this house.  Matthew has reverted back to multiple wakings each night and after one night last week in which he refused to relax with B (all he wanted was me), we decided that it is our job to help this child learn to sleep!  He sleeps alone in his crib for every nap and at bed time, but he is nursed and rocked to sleep each. and. every. time.  This is my fault.  I take FULL responsibility for it.  I remember the moment I realized that if I nursed him to sleep, that he took longer naps.  Since that moment, that’s what I’ve done.  Again – totally my fault.  My fault = my job to fix it.

We did the CIO method last night.  I went in after he’d slept for only 4 hours, patted him, hugged him, etc.  Nada. So I changed him.  No luck.  Then I gave him ibuprofen (teething?).  No luck again.  So with tears in my eyes, I said, “I’ve done all I can for you but nurse you.  you’re on your own, Buddy.”  I walked out of the room, turned on the video monitor, curled up outside his door with a book (“Bringing up BeBe”), and cried a little.  He fell asleep 10 minutes or so later.  I stayed up though because he kept stirring and then fussing.  I believe that it is my job to suffer with him.  If he’s fussing, I’m up making sure he gets a blanket once he’s settled down, that he’s not wedged up against the crib rails, etc.  The whole ordeal took an hour.  Sweet J*s*s!  It wasn’t an hour of crying by any means, but with the ups and downs, it took an hour.

Today, I read about the Sleep Lady.  I decided that if the next two nights don’t go better, that I would try that method out.  I would hate to waste the night we did last night and change up my approach on him once again.  Well, Matthew is calling the shots here (which is really fine with me) and encouraged me to try it tonight at bed time.  IT WORKED.  He stopped nursing early, fussed until I stood up to rock him, laid his little head on my shoulder and gazed into my eyes until he was properly drowsy (but not asleep), and let me put him down.  I patted him a couple times, stood by his crib and did a few comforting “shh shh, mom’s here,” and he settled off into sleep.   I left his room 5 minutes later.  He’s been down for almost 3 hours.  Now – he’s ALWAYS down for at least 3 hours so I’m not saying that we’re over any humps by any means, but he PUT HIMSELF TO SLEEP!  This is HUGE!  B promptly reminded me that he was totally exhausted from his big day and had no afternoon nap and maybe that’s why he put himself to sleep – but I. Do. Not. Care.  He’s been exhausted in the past and didn’t put himself to sleep.

Maybe all this time he’s just wanted me to let him try on his own?  Who knows.  I did walk out of his room sad though, and there were tears as I told B about it.  Yes, this is the goal.  Yes, this is a good thing.  But he didn’t need me tonight – and that made me a little sad.

In other news, I strapped Matthew to me and mowed my entire lawn today with him.  HA!  He loved it – and fell asleep while I was mowing.  I about died when I looked under his little sun hat and saw his sweet face sound asleep.  This kid has NO problems sleeping – he just likes falling asleep with his mama!  He doesn’t stay asleep (which is the problem) and woke up the minute I got into the house.  He refused to go back to sleep even with me nursing him, but he was exhausted – so I left him in his crib playing while I showered.  That turned into a screaming fest so I went in and swooped him up, nursed him to sleep, and he slept over 2 hours then in his crib.  That was when I read about the Sleep Lady and decided to try her method in a couple days.  Thank g*d for smart phones – mine saves me every time I nurse him to sleep!

My sister had her baby today.  I missed the big event.  Shoot!  She’s a very pretty baby and I’m looking forward to meeting her later this month, hopefully!

Matthew learned to climb stairs and walk with a push walker while at his cousins’ house.  Oh boy – here we go!  I do have photos to post, but I haven’t transferred them yet to my computer… because… I’m so exhausted!