Like many mothers, I find my life dictated by routine-my son's routine. For the first three months of my son's life, I followed his cues; I rarely put him down for a nap, most times he passed out on me, and I'd leave him there. It was just easier that way, and I couldn't stand the thought of letting him cry it out at such a young age.
I never thought I'd see the day where I'd be able to tolerate the blood curdling screams of a regimented sleep schedule. However, after three months of sleepless nights and days I had had enough. I followed my son's cues, but instead of letting him pass out on me, I would put him down in his crib. For over a month my son would scream and cry every time he was placed in the crib. I was afraid it would NEVER end, but it did. Now CJ goes down with barely a peep; where his scream session would only yield a 30 minute nap, he now naps for at least a hour and a half! VICTORY!
Nighttime was a whole different story. I refused to put him in his crib awake, I just couldn't tolerate the crying it out at nighttime. Once again, exhaustion overruled my pity and I began to put him down awake. Nighttime sleep was achieved much easier than napping. For the first few days he would cry for about the first 20 minutes before he would pass out. He would then wake up every two hours until 1 am, and I would just let him fuss after ensuring that his diaper was clean. Now he knows he's not getting me out of bed before 3:30 am so the middle of the night wake up calls have essentially ceased, and if they occur he jibber jabbers himself back to sleep.
But I digress. Today, I felt as though I was back at the beginning, when ranting and raving ruled the daylight hours. I know a lot of mothers who run a strict regiment, nap time occurs on the same schedule no matter where they are or what's going on. I just can't live like that, it's not fitting to our lifestyle. The schedule works wonders when I'm home or if we're just visiting for the day. However, I am not going to rearrange important doctor appointments just to keep my son on schedule. Sometimes, it's just not feasible. So I went the two days without implementing his normal schedule (and when it was enforced during those two days, he put up more of a fight than usual because he was not used to sleeping in a playpen, the room, or sharing a room with me). Needless to say, today was rough.
My son inherited my stubbornness, and if he does not want to do something he can put up quite the fight. What he is too young to know, or understand, is that I can fight too, and if I put my mind to something it will be achieved. So today I set out to reinstate nap time, which was no easy task. He cried and he cried and he cried. Then he slept....unfortunately not as long as he cried. I had errands to run, but today I ran them on his schedule we had nothing else to do today. By the time we got home, CJ was at his wits end. I attempted nap time again. He put up a fight again, but this time he knew I wasn't playing around and his cries soon died down to whines and his whines finally became snores (not literally, but you know what I mean)! Mission accomplished!
I am so happy, lucky, and relieved to have a baby that both naps and sleeps through the night, but I am even more relieved to know that I can remove the daily routine for a short period of time and my son will bounce right back. He may resist in the beginning, but a little resolve on my end and results will be produced.
CJ napping with his favorite crib pal, Pooh Bear.