The bigger news is that he hit the 13-pound mark a few weeks ago. At that weight, our pediatrician said, the boy would be perfectly capable of sleeping through the night without feeding.
“Twelve hours. I know it sounds tough,” she said, “and it is, but you have to establish the routine.”
Apparently my son needs to learn to soothe and sedate himself, even if it means crying himself hoarse, and it won’t be until he gets to college that he’ll learn all the fun ways to do that!
Until then, “Crying It Out” is our way to go … or is it?
The “Crying It Out” technique has you put the baby down (not like a wounded horse, psycho) when he gets drowsy, and then IGNORE THE SHIT out of him until your alarm goes off the next morning. Other parents – you know, those moms and dads who always know better and have perfect kids and love telling you what you’re doing wrong – often refer to Crying It Out by another name: torture. I refer to these parents as “assholes.”
Please note: Crying It Out is NOT the same as Ferberizing. Ferberizing involves ignoring your baby in gradually increasing intervals, while occasionally standing over him while he cries, taunting him with your proximity but never attempting to pick him up. With Crying It Out, you stay completely out of sight, so he learns to fend for himself, as opposed to cruelly teasing him with the prospect of rescue.
Babies need to learn to fall asleep on their own. It’s especially important to set the precedent so you’re not still cradling your kid in your bed every night when he’s 17.
Some people dislike Crying It Out, but it’s far from torture. It’s for the best. So with the sleep advice of our doctor and visions of the Sandman dancing in our heads, my wife and I went for it.
Crying it out rough on you, your ears
The kid seemed willing to cooperate at first. He’s managed six-to-seven hour stretches before, so what’s another six on top of that?
Have you ever heard a star explode? Of course not, there’s no sound in space. But I am pretty sure that if you could hear a star explode or the sun melt or Gilbert Gottfried have an orgasm, it would sound something like my son Crying It Out: an aural nightmare.
I’ve never wanted so badly to be deaf. It’s terrifying to hear something akin to your child being devoured by wolves. It was hardest for my wife. I think she can feel his screams in her bones; they shred her insides. But it’s for his own good, they say, so we’re soldiering through. (Besides, when he’s older and has wonderful sleep habits, he won’t remember that time his parents tortured him. I mean, it’s definitely not the reason he’ll end up dismembering squirrels. That shit’s genetic.)
The screaming isn’t even the worst part. The silence is.
When he screams, at least you know he’s OK, give or take. But when he stops to take a breather so he can gear up for Round 2 or 5 or 13? That silence is deadly. Maybe he’s swallowed his tongue! Maybe he’s rolled onto his face and can’t breathe! Maybe that Steve Buscemi chameleon snake thing from Monsters Inc. snuck in and stole him!
And then he screams again. Thank God. I mean, please — stop!
Honestly, at this point, are there experiences I’d prefer to have instead of hearing my son scream bloody murder all night long? Of course there are. Is one of those experiences discovering that my wife has a penis? Maybe it is. Don’t judge.
After a while, I’m happy to say that Crying It Out worked. The little guy was finally sleeping like a champ, all through the night after about a week of hell. We firmly believe he’s better off now that he can sleep soundly. He’s more rested, we’re more rested, everybody’s happier. Disagree with the technique all you want, but if you try to tell me I tortured my kid I will literally pull your fingernails off, you judgmental prick.