Thursday, December 31, 2009

When in doubt, tweak it.

I learned, or, relearned, rather, this lesson about two months ago.

As I have written many times, sleep has been an on-going issue for us. I have felt like it is hard to find a solution. I don’t want to be the permissive parent who cannot set boundaries, but I am not letting her cry it out either.

One day, after spending quite a while trying to get Amor Chiquito to nap, it clicked!

As a parent, there is no black and white. There is lots of gray. I need to be ok with that.

There are various parenting styles and various plans we could follow to get Ari to sleep the way we wish she slept. I was forcing myself to choose between no crying or crying it out.

What about saying “ut-oh,” leaving her room for 15 seconds, returning, giving her a hug, singing the song, and putting her down?

Why the hell didn’t I think of that sooner? I wish I had because it worked that time, it worked today, and it will probably continue to work in the future.

There is no need to leave her alone for ever in our case. 15 seconds is enough time for her to get the message that there are boundaries.

Today, Ari used all her old tricks and some new ones to avoid napping, despite the fact she was sleepy and yawning. She asked for socks, said her hands were cold, said she needed to go to the potty… She also tried this strange, fake cry! I could not decide if I was angry or if I wanted to laugh! It was clearly completely fake!

I left for 15 seconds. I went back in and gave her hugs. Six minutes later, she was asleep!

Moral of the story: don’t obsess about following x philosophy completely. Tweak it. Get creative. Do what works for your family. In the end, you and your little one’s health and happiness is what matters.

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