Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Up Next: The Benadryl Method

Last night, I stayed up way past my bedtime, reading snarky comments about some mommyblogger's dating life (so, wasting time online) while I tried to calm down after a particularly bad bedtime "routine" with Quinn. After more than an hour and a half of my regular tricks not working, I resorted to the partial cry-it-out method to give it a shot. A number of people have recommended it, and I was about to resort to heavy drinking, which is not recommended while on chemo.

This method involves letting your child cry for 5 minutes, checking on them and putting them back in bed, then giving it 10 minutes, then 15 (in theory). After the 15 minute increment, you can start back over at 5 minutes. And so on. When you do go into the room, you're only supposed to put your child back in bed, without words or cuddling or any attention whatsoever--because you've already told them it's time for bed, so there's no need to repeat yourself. Two year olds always listen the first time you tell them something. They're kinda renowned for that. No, really.

I have always had two problems with this method of sleep-training for my particular household. (I try to  refrain from judging other parents' techniques, because at a certain point, you just do what you have to do, am I right?) So my problems are: One, Quinn isn't in a crib anymore, and won't stay in bed if I'm leaving the room, so we race to get to the door and then I have to slam it in his face behind me. Even when I'm completely frustrated with his antics, that has always seemed a bit harsh. Second,  he can turn doorknobs, so this method also requires me to stand on the other side of the door holding the handle so that he can't escape, which feels especially wrong to me. I don't know if I'd be more at peace with closing the door on him if he wasn't adept at doorknobs, but standing there also means that I have to listen closely to his total body sobs, his panicked tantrum, his desperate cries of "Mommy!" I hate that. It does not feel good.

Also, I know my son can fall asleep on his own. He does it easily and without protest for everyone else but me. This is not, then, a matter of training him to sleep, but training him to sleep in the vicinity of me.

Which might be difficult because I'm a softie when it comes to Quinn, even when he's making me crazy because he won't sleep, even on a day that I had chemo, even when I've been a single parent for more than three weeks now. Clearly, he knows what a big softie I am. He has me 100% pegged.

So I didn't make it to the 15 minute increment. Ten minutes had me in tears, wondering what the hell I was accomplishing. He was about to break the doorknob and my heart hurt. I opened the door, picked him up, cradled him in my arms, and kissed his forehead a few times. And after nearly two hours of protesting it, he fell fast asleep--on my side of the bed.

And yes, I do let him sleep with me when Chris is out of town. Like I said, I'm a big teddy bear when it comes to this kid. I often wonder if it's because I've had cancer, or if I would have been this way regardless. Either way, I've hired a babysitter to handle bedtime tonight. It was either that or Benadryl, potentially for both of us.

For those of you cancer survivors out there who are also moms, has cancer changed how you interact with your kids? Other moms, how do you handle sleep issues at your houses?

No comments:

Post a Comment