Friday 4 September 2009

and another thing...

i find i am a bit horrified to think that there are people out there who think i just let mae cry in her bed all the time, you know, for kicks or because i'm lazy or a horrible person or something. because if one person was courageous enough to leave a comment (in the nicest possible way that someone can let you know that they think you're doing something wrong), then you know there are plenty others who are thinking the same thing. and i feel the need to justify myself: the only other times that mae has cried for any extensive amount of time in her bed have been when she has woken, had a bottle and then doesn't want to go back to sleep. and this isn't hysterical, really upset crying, for which i would certainly think something was wrong and get up with her. this is that whinging, cranky, half hearted crying that if i give in to at 2am, you can bet will be repeated again and again. it's not a regular occurrence but it's still not fun for anyone and not giving in means that it rarely happens for more than one night in a row. so there. sometimes i may be a bit lazy but i don't think i'm really all that horrible and i don't get my kicks from hearing my kid cry.


  1. Anonymous6:31 pm

    all I can say is that if you have a happy healthy little girl then don't worry what other people have to say about how YOU parent. Babies cry, and you have never heard of babies dying from crying. I too have been victimized because I allowed my children to cry a little in the middle of the night to overcome a habit. I agree, we Mothers know when OUR children are just whining or if something is wrong. Noone has the right to tell you how to parent your child, they are not there in the middle of the night seeing exactly what the situation is. You not only have to relax with how your dealing with this situation, but also how people react to it. Mae is your child, you are the mother, everyone else can mind their own business. There I've vented.

  2. I can't speak to the crying thing, as I don't have children, but I think you're doing a great job. Every time I read a post about Mae, it's so clear how much you adore her, and I have no doubt how much you care about her.

    You don't have to justify yourself: just keep up what you're doing and please keep expressing how you feel.

    Hang in there!

  3. you are a great mummy & deep down, even when people make you doubt yourself, even a little bit, i'm sure you & mae know that you are working it out together :)

  4. You are a fablous mom just for writing these posts, you care. parenting is not easy and by whatever means you find the strenght to be the amazing mom and person you are it's up to you! I am constantly amazed by your posts and your honesty and can tell you there is one little girl here in Sydney who you comfort with your adorable bunny every night as she falls asleep! Hang in there!

  5. this parenting thing is one hard bag of work, and from your previous post it's obvious that you have had a lot working against you (colds and flus are horrid enough without the often lasting affect they have on sleep routines).

    the fact you have written about this issue shows how much you care, and what a wonderful mother you are

    I hope the sleep fairy visits tonight

  6. I have 4 kids, and, it settles down. First babies are hard work sometimes. Good on you for your honesty. I saw you with Mae at Stitches and Craft in Melbourne and you both made me smile.

  7. I'm so sorry to read that there is some negativity with what you have (honestly) posted. I really believe you are doing the best you can and I think you are doing a great job. It is very difficult to function when you lack so much sleep.

    I didn't have any real routine with my eldest and her sleep was all over the place. With the second I was a routine nazi and stuck to it no matter what - same time to sleep, nap and wake-up everyday. No matter what. It must have worked since she started sleeping happily through the night at 6 months. Even though our routine changes slightly from day to day now, at 3yrs old she has no problems sleeping at night and having one nap a day.

    I agree with your strategy to get her up the same time everyday, and nap and sleep at the same time everyday too. I really think young children thrive on routine. Hoping it will all settle soon and you will all enjoy your sleep!

  8. Anonymous7:39 pm

    Thank you for your honesty when you blog. I am glad you are blogging everyday for September. I love tuning in. On the sleep issue.... I am confident that there are 1000's of us out there who have gone through (or are going through) what you are dealing with. Sleep (theirs and yours)becomes your main goal in life.

    Have a happy spring.
    Carol from Brisbane

  9. There is nothing worse than a screaming baby, but this will make you feel better, when my twins were at their worst before I did the controlled crying when I was living on a couple of hours sleep a night I put them into their cots for a sleep and they screamed at me and I went outside and I screamed too and I left them to scream. That was all I was capable of. On good note Eviw woke up last night and was only awake for an hour! Fingers crossed for a magical sleep cure for you.

  10. Anonymous8:02 pm

    I always laugh (a little hysterically, mind you) when people harp on about letting babies cry. My first screamed for the first 14 weeks no matter what I did. Pick up, put down, rock, pat, shhh, comfort. Some babies will just cry no matter what. Someone once said to me "you are not making him cry, he's crying for another reason, so don't let it upset you".

    Anyway, we are all a little bit obsessed with sleep at our house too. It is hard going being constantly sleep deprived.

    Oh and this business about only having to do controlled crying for 5 days is a complete load of crap, because we did controlled crying (we were going in regularly to comfort, is that controlled crying?) for over 3 months. Every. Single. Night. Over 100 nights. 2+ hours of screaming each night. And it did nothing. (Send all the anti-CC people over to me. I will make them VERY welcome).

    I *think* our problems are dietary related, but I also picked up this book, "Dream Baby Guide by Sheyne Rowley" and so much of this resonates with me. I have implemented a few things and we are doing better. Food? Book? No bloody idea.

    But the book is very much a holistic approach to babies...if you get everything else right the sleep will eventually work out. I love her approach to communicating with babies. I thought of this when you mentioned the temper tantrums.

    That's enough of an essay from me. Good luck, and you are not alone.

  11. It's bloody hard this parenting thing. You are such an ace mum, don't doubt yourself for a second. That said all the crying stuff is really hard to take not to mention the competing theories and opinions on the subject. All we can do is our very best. And in your case and from seeing all the beautiful of Mae I think that's more than good enough.
    Now go and put your feet up with a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate for a while. You deserve it!

  12. I remember when one mum from my mums group had her second. Her first had been a dream, her second a nightmare. She came to the group and said loudly to us all "I just want to apologise. For all these months I just thought you were a bunch of whinging bitches, never shutting up about sleep. But now I totally understand." you can tell from all the comments you've received that lots of us know how it is because we've experienced our own version of the sleep horrors. It is also not surprising that those of us who have travelled this road might be a bit evangelical about anything that did work for us. But nothing works for everyone.

    Some of the things people have said seem like really good points to me - their crying isn't about you and while it is hard not to be emotionally affected, in the end you can't
    make a kid sleep or be happy or whatever. Someone said
    something about chilcare being good for establishing
    routines and I would agree with that -I am amazed by the power of peers and group behaviour for even the very young.

    And for what it is worth coming from me, you are totally ok. And Mae is great and what you are experiencing is totally normal.

  13. For what it's worth, my child psychiatrist sister-in-law tells me that she sees kids and teenagers all the time who were 'moddycoddled', picked up at every whine, never given the opportunity to sooth and calm themselves as a baby - leading to a multitude of emotional problems later. As a mum you are wired to know the difference between a whine, a protest, and a really upset cry - trust your instincts and you'll be fine.

  14. yeah, what Sooz said. Nothing works for everyone and yeah, I think you are a great mum and Mae is a great baby too.

  15. Just ignore that person Leslie. You're a great mum and you know what? NO baby has EVER died from crying. And giving in when they don't actually need you will just reinforce a bad behaviour. So just ignore the negative comments. Mae is happy and healthy and well loved.

    Holly xx

  16. Oh Leslie, it's so hard to keep a clear head about how you want to approach things when you've had no sleep yourself. I feel for you, I was so hopeless when sleep deprived, could barely remember my name!

    There's lots of great voices here. We went down the CC route and it was really hard and people around us struggled to get on board with what we were doing but you know it was our choice and our child and so if they couldn't get on board then that was their issue, not ours.

    Stay strong and have confidence in yourself and your choices. At the end of the day Mae is your child and you know best - even when completely stuffed from lack of sleep.


    PS I'm a routine lover...and I also agree with Suzy even a one yr old is a sucker for the peer pressure! I was gobsmacked that my guy fell for it!

  17. DO NOT let some opinionated reader reduce you to self doubt. I work at a University and I can promise you that children who do not learn how to soothe themselves turn out to be little monsters. Of course, your daughter wants to play and coo and get extra bottles when she should be sleeping. She's a baby and babies are strong willed little things full of their own little misguided opinions. From the sounds of your posts your doing a great job. Just be consistent and do what your gut is telling you. NOT what some misguided reader thinks. I bet that reader is the same person who calls their kids professors and freaks out if they don't get a good grade ;) Good luck.

  18. Dearest Leslie, you're the only one that knows Mae - and you are the only one that can say what is right for you.

    Heck, my first, he cried and cried, and used to make himself vomit (I'm not kidding) to get out of bed - at 10 months. They are tricky little things sometimes. But vomiting, whoa nelly, that takes the cake!?

    And our second, well, touch wood, she sleeps like a charm and has put herself to sleep, or with an occasional cuddle.

    Each child is completely different. Each and every one of them.

    Who cares what someone else says, you're doing an awesome job. You don't need to justify anything. Not one thing. x

  19. I'm sorry to hear you are going though this. Sleep issues suck. I agree with most of the comments, you are her mum and you're there with her and you do know what is best. Trust your instincts and eventually you guys will find your rhythm. You will probably find she is an active, very bright little girl like my non sleeper.
    On a positive note, my little girl turned 6 today and she got your baby oobee set and LOVES it!! First thing to find it's home and is asleep with it now. Hope that makes you smile :) xox

  20. best advice I ever got was "trust your intuition"...
    other peoples comments can be so bad for a new mums confidence. such innocent comments like "he is tall", "he is chubby,"he is thin" "he is little". "he is big..I have had them all, and its the SAME baby....!? and these were from the strangers...can youimagine the comments from the people who have a TINY amount of information about my parenting style!! HA....
    trust your intuition...only a mothers knows her baby the best

  21. I've sat opposite you and listened to you speak about your baby girl. The love and emotion in your very being (face, teary eyes, voice) was palpable...and very moving. Don't doubt yourself. If anything you could be overthinking Mae's sleep - probably due to the desperate need for both of you to have some :)
    She is loved, safe, and her own little individual. Sleep is overrated for her. She probably doesn't want to miss out on anything. The good news is that it is temporary - it will pass in time. I hang on to that thought to get me through my challenging baby/toddler moments - of which there are many. Most days. Go easy on yourself, accept the way things are...they will change before you know it. The more active she gets as she gets bigger, the more easily she'll zonk out at night. Promise xxx

  22. JacRan10:18 pm

    OH I hope you are having a good glass of wine and some chocolate or some other special treat!
    Venting is a good thing! Let your baby cry for a short while if you need to go and take a deep breathe to recover from a hard day... and don't feel guilty about it.
    Isn't that part of being a mother, feeling guilty about everything and worrying about our children? :P
    I agree with others, through reading your posts you are coping really well and are doing a good job with Mae. Sleep is a big deal, I agree... You will get through it. I suppose being your first child makes it more difficult as it is all new experiences and you just try everything to find what works for you. The routine you mentioned sounds like a good start. Routine is great not only for babies but for US too!

  23. Just catching up on all these posts and wanted to add my voice to the chorus of those telling you to trust your instincts and do what you have to do.

    My first was a dream sleeper (and oh we were smug!) but the second and third were nightmares. We did controlled crying and it worked for us but sheesh it was hard, and heartbreaking.

    Hoping things straighten out soon and sleep and routine come to you both.


  24. Anonymous11:17 pm

    sweetie, this is my first time reading your blog, but don't take any crap from people commenting about how you care for your baby.

    follow your instincts and you'll do the right thing.

  25. Nope. I do it too (I have a 10 mo old that is my 3rd baby--my other two were raised the same and very good sleepers to this day).

    I know the difference of her cries: a cry for me to put her to sleep, a cry for illnesses, etc. If I give in to those that are not of illness, then we would have repeated nights of this.

    You are doing fine for you and your family dynamic. And I am sure you know when you must go in. Continued "good luck".

  26. you are brave for saying out loud what a lot of us are going through. it is not all rosy having a baby. and a tired mama can lead to depression [if you have been awake for days] and that in the end is no good for the baby and family. so a little crying so everyone can sleep is a good thing.

  27. oh, leslie, i'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this! reading your latest posts make me think that ella and mae are in cahoots with each other :) i know just how frustrating it can be to try everything and have little to no success - whether you collapse in an exhausted heap and give in or choose to wait out the heartbreaking sobs, it is not easy, at all. sleep is such a delicate balance and when that balance gets broken and sleep deprivation kicks in, the whole family dynamic can change. you are so brave for sharing your experiences here - and i believe it is such an important thing to do, even though it took me an embarrassingly long time to finally approach the issues i was facing with post-natal depression and sleep deprivation on my blog - knowing that you aren't alone and providing a voice for someone that hasn't quite found the strength just yet can make it that little bit easier to get by. saying it out loud is a good thing :) and mae will get there, she is a beautiful, happy little girl and she knows what she wants :) ella, too, loves her bed - but when she doesn't want to sleep, there is no way to make her. now we follow her cues, and we're still exhausted but we're getting there...slowly. Sending lots of hugs and warm wishes your way xoxo

  28. karen s.4:19 am

    Every child is different. Sometimes they just love to cry. I had one that did, and it didn't hurt her at all to figure it out by herself, which is what she wanted to do. she would surround herself with her babies and play and cry and then be just a happy little camper. She is now 19 and a very well adjusted and beautiful young woman, knows exactly what she wants and is strong enough to go get it. Very independent, not influenced by friends, always has her own opinion. This is a good thing. A little crying builds character lets them show emotion just like being happy and laughing does. You don't run and pick up your child when they laugh, you just let them. SAME WITH CRYING PEOPLE........ If my daughter cries now she knows how to deal with it because I wasn't always running in there to deal with it for her. It creates independence. A mother knows her child if something is wrong, sick, teething, etc. we deal with it as it should be. Because we love our children!!! Honestly people get a life, look at the pictures of that happy and adorable little girl. Her mother is doing exactly what she should be doing BEING HER MOTHER..........

  29. Deep breath in, let it out slowly... you don't have to justify yourself to anyone. You know in your heart if what you're doing is right. As long as you're at peace with it, let everyone's negative comments slide right off your back. I'm a mom, I've been there done that and the best bit of parenting advice I can give is that you know what's best for your child. Have faith in that. :)

  30. Kudos to you for sticking to your guns. I am currently sitting here listing to my daughter whine and cry for her daddy because she feels she is big enough to not take a nap. She is mistaken however. We've already had enough tiredness induced meltdowns this morning that it's obvious it's nap time. No way am I going in there to get her up or she will think every time she whines and cries a little she will get her way.

  31. Oh gosh, don't feel criticised at all, don't give it a second thought. Any comments that made you feel bad, banish them from your mind.

    You know what I've found, in my limited experience of parenting two children, is that nobody, nobody, knows how life is for you and nobody is in a position to really understand or therefore criticise.

    You have a gorgeous girl, she looks very happy in every shot you post and so do you! My real motto for parenting is "everything is a phase" - they grow out of everything. What feels never ending at the time, as much as this doesn't really help now, well it does pass and you will struggle to remember exactly what her sleeping was like.

    My girls were useless sleepers, both of them, drove me almost insane, literally, but now, and Leila's only 2 1/2 (not so far off) bed by 8pm and asleep through to 7am. It will happen, just take a day at a time.


  32. Anonymous10:30 am

    i think posting on a public forum is great idea. you can vent, which all mums need to do, and get all sorts of advice and support!
    my girl is 11 months and still has two x 2 hr sleeps and i give her a bottle before her sleep. shame on me some might say, but she has good naps and sleeps 11 hours at night.
    but from 4 - 9 months every day was a drama for naps. and i am expecting her sleep patterns to go pear shaped any time.
    mae wont break if she cries trying to get to sleep. and you know her well enough to know if she being fussy or there is a problem.

  33. Big love to you Leslie & to Mae too. You've handled this with honesty & integrity...just as I'd expect.

    Mae's a lucky little girl to have such a wonderful role model.

  34. Anonymous7:55 pm

    I just want to say that I think sometimes control crying can be the best option for everyone. You're not doing anyone any favours by staying up all night and getting no sleep - the next day you can't exactly be the best possible mum you can be. Sometimes you hit a point where you are so sleep deprived that letting your baby cry (whilst regularly going in to comfort) is the kindest possible scenario for everyone. That way you have some chance of functioning like a normal human being and not totally snapping the following day. A bout of illness or a disruption from a trip can take weeks or even months to recover from routine wise. Don't be so hard on yourself. Mae looks beautiful and healthy and the fact that you are trying so hard to figure all this sleep thing out shows how much you care. Just keep doing your best - it's all you can do. I once read a book where she said when her baby got up in the night she 'treasured the precious time they could spend alone together' - on the one hand I wanted to slap the woman for being so ridiculous but on the other maybe she has a point - babyhood does slip by so quickly so I do try and take a deep breath and put it all in perspective.
    Good luck with it all - I'm sure it will slot into place before you know it!

  35. I was going to leave a comment, but the gangs have beaten me too it. Parenting - not easy. Crying - so heartbreaking. Trying - best you can do xx

  36. sleep deprivation can send you crazy im sure.... i think someone forgot to put that button on babies to switch them off at night....hehe...just JOKING... You already have enough comments to read....but I will just agree to trust your instincts and if all else fails....I would let someone you love mind Mae and you go home and have a nice deep sleep for a few hours... If youre tired it makes it so much harder to deal with a tired grumpy sweetheart. my babies all ended up in bed with me so i could sleep while they fussed and eventually slept... i still have a 5 year old that snuggles me often. which i mostly love . . until i need a really good sleep and i tell her to stay in her bed and she does. :-) but anyway no help but i totally understand.. hang in there xo

  37. Everyone has opinions and the biggest thing being a mom has taught me is that if they don't know your child, their opinions aren't worth much. Every kid is different and every kid needs different things. If I didn't let Lily cry and soothe herself to sleep, she wouldn't be sleeping at all. Every kid is different and we as moms know our own kids best. You are doing a great job, Mae is beautiful and happy. With Lily, I just resign yourself to being in a developmental stage for awhile and bingo! She's out of it and onto another stage. You are a great mom and your instincts about Mae are better than all the other opinions in the world, combined.

  38. The other thing that being Lily's mom has taught me is that every mom is worried about some aspect of their child-rearing skills and tactics all the time. If Lily is sleeping great, I'm worried about her language development. If she's doing well in that, then I'm fretting over her diet or her gross motor skills or SOMETHING. You are right that we new moms just need to relax but it's easier said than done! I think that's part of the joy and pain of parenting.

  39. Oh god seriously, one mother can not judge or dictate what another one does - each babe has a different personality or need, just as each mama does. I also insisted I would never let my child be control cried, but at the moment it is a battle of wills and I have had to let her cry for longer that I would like, because it's whinging, she is tired and it is just from a NEED to go to sleep - if she has her mama, she just wants to hit, pinch and scratch her mama's face out of frustration because she is so tired. What else do I do? I am new to this caper and if I let her stay up and make a mess of my face, it will be worse later on - so she has a little cry and settles. I think I am lucky, after 7 months, we get 5-6 good nights sleep out of 7, but trying to GET her to sleep sometimes makes me want to shoot myself in the face.

    But lovely, lovely Leslie you know what the greatest thing here is - frigging being honest about it. Being a parent is not a set thing, no one is perfect and I really applaud and what I want to hug you for is being honest about it in blog land, where we are supposed to be pretend everything is perfect and we can handle everything in our gloriously whimsical lives. I certainly can't. Ruby's nicknames at the moment are psycho and the demon child. I was convinced her first words were going to be "for fucks sake ruby". As it turned out, it was "No", which is fitting for my ridiculously strong willed child - which you also have one of.

    Everyone tells me that this is what will make our babies smart and interesting adults, which is great, but sometimes I would like a baby who was more interesting in cuddling me quietly, not trying to rip my eye from my socket and have 10+ minutes of temper tantrums when I take her from the bath / dress her / put her in her high chair / take away the sippy cup or tell her that No, Georgie can not lick her face right now. Agghhhhh,

    Does Mae hurt you and if you tell her in a stern voice that "No, that hurts Mummy, please stop", she then finds that hysterical? DEMON. CHILD.

  40. My first slept thorough the night from the beginning. I got a big shock with number two!! Esme was a very clingy baby and would cry as soon as i put her down. Eventually i realised the only way for us both to get any sleep was to have her sleep with me which she did until i stopped breastfeeding at 15 months. Now she sleeps all night in her own bed and my oldest gets into bed with us every night!
    Thank goodness number three sleeps through the night.

    You're a good mum and you'll find a way to deal with this. It doesn't last forever. xoxoxox

  41. Leslie, I applaud your honesty and I'll admit I've been there with the controlled crying, sleep is important for both of you. Just keep doing what you're doing, you're a mum and you know Mae best.

  42. Don't let anyone tell you you are doing the wrong thing because a mother's gut instinct is always right. Keep doing what you do.

    I had similar problems with my sons sleeping at 6 months when we moved interstate. It was a really stressful time and he was sleeping for 20 min blocks all night... It was a nightmare time compounded by the fact I had a slipped disc in my back from picking him up and could hardly pick him up out of his portacot.


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