It isn’t right for everyone (like my friends in a one-bedroom Manhattan apartment, neighbors on the other side of three walls), but the cry-it-out technique of sleep training worked wonders for us. After three months of spending every night pacing the downstairs, gently bouncing the constantly swaddled Aurelia (facing in, facing out, football hold, side/stomach position, you name it), and another two months of total dependence on this godsend, John and I sat down (per our friend’s suggestion) to some of our favorite movies and a bottle of malbec, and we gutted it out. It took about three days and a lot of tears (Ari’s and mine) and stress eating (me), but then our nighttime terror became a (knock-on-wood) good sleeper, reliably going to bed by 7:30pm and sleeping a solid 10-12 hours.
When Ari was about six months old, sleep trained for a few weeks at that point, she woke up crying in the middle of the night. Instead of rushing to her, I waited about 5-10 minutes, and the crying subsided. When I went to get her the next morning, I opened the door and was immediately hit by the stench of vomit. Vomit all over her crib, all over her. She was cheerful enough. I, of course, felt a huge pang of guilt. It took a fair amount of lysol and oxyclean and open windows to get the smell of partially digested food and stomach acids out of the room, but we all survived.
We’ve been lucky to have gone nearly a year and a half without similar incident. Much, much more frequently than not, if we do go in to rescue her in the middle of the night, we do more harm than good and just rile her up. Most of the time when she cries she’s not even conscious, and there’s very little we can do to console her. So we wait, and it normally works.
Yesterday morning was our first Sunday in a long time in our own bed without John having to work. I was just putting Evie back down after a feeding at 5:45-ish when I heard Ari start to stir and cry. By 6am, there was quiet.
At 7am, Ari started crying again, this time more insistently, calling, “Mommydaddy!! Daddy!!! Mom-mEEEE! DADDYMOMMY!!!!” John took one for the team and rolled out of bed. I rolled the opposite direction and closed my eyes.
But the cries didn’t quiet; if anything, they intensified. After a minute I heard John turn on the faucet to the bathtub and high-pitched screaming followed, loud enough to rouse Evie (she can normally sleep through the noise of a jackhammer), who looked at me perplexed.
Poop. I suspected poop or vomit. Or both.
John confirmed the former. It was everywhere–her crib, her stuffed animals and lovey tiger Neville, her books (the poor cat in the hat had it caked all over every page), the floor. She had it matted into her hair and her pajamas, under her fingernails and IN HER MOUTH. My poor daughter was literally eating her own feces. When John discovered her, she was holding out her hands and crying, pathetically begging for someone to FIX THIS SITUATION.
She was bathed and changed. Teeth were brushed. As soon as we got 2 bowls of Multigrain cheerios and a couple eggs in her belly (I suspect a growth spurt, therefore increased food consumption leading to high poop volumes), spirits were raised, and she seemed to have forgotten most of the trauma from the morning. Still, we tried to make the day extra special. All was forgiven after our family outing to Melodie’s–iced coffee for us, a fresh croissant for her–followed by please touch. We’ll also be treating her to some new books, because some, I’m afraid were poop-i-fied beyond repair–I didn’t even bother recycling them…can you recycle poop-covered literature?
Because it’s just been too long since we had a post about bodily fluids…
Will write more about our recent trip and epic wedding (so much happier than CIO epic fail), but just a few pictures of one of our favorite Philly families, transported to Virginia for the celebration.
And a choo-choo…