Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When Good Babies Go Bad

The book Babywise is very polarizing. I'm not sure why this is, because to me, the premise is simple. Put your baby on a schedule, adhere to it, and for the most part all will be well. Fred and I read this book when Elise was 2 weeks old, mostly because we felt like we had entered one of Dante's circles of hell. There was lots of screaming, and it was very, very hot (it was September in Dallas, after all). Seriously, we were all frustrated and cranky because we tried to let Elise dictate the schedule, and it turns out that babies really aren't so good at this. So one Saturday after I had posted a sign on our front door that said "Abandon all hope ye who enter here", Fred decided to read Baby Wise. We had heard a lot about it, mostly as a form of child abuse. But those who had good things to say about it, swore by it. What did we have to lose, more sleep? I don't actually think it's possible to get negative hours of sleep.

I know what you are saying. "But Joanne, not all babies are the same!" This is true. But I also know that Elise is proof that it works. I've had many friends (interestingly enough, most of them don't have kids), tell me that you can't live your life around your child's schedule. And I think to some extent this can be true, but I still think it's important to do what's best for your baby. When I became a Mom, I gave up the life of doing what I want, when I want to. I can't be selfish anymore and tell my child, "You'll sleep when it works best for me."

Here's an analogy (My husband says I'm terrible at these, but hear me out). You're snoozing away, all nice and comfy in your bed, when your husband wakes you up because he wants to go hang out with friends at 3 a.m. Or he makes you stay up until 1 a.m. so you can watch the Rangers game that went into extra innings. Wouldn't you be a tad bit crabby? I've read that babies should get 14-16 hours a sleep per day (compared to our 8). If you were only getting 4 hours a night because you either were being woken up early or going to bed late (or not getting to sleep at all), you too would be a bit hard to deal with. When I am out with Elise, I cannot tell you the number of times people have asked me if she is always so good. She is. Seriously, she is just so happy to hang and do whatever you're doing. The exception always comes when she hasn't napped well.

I'm not trying to start a debate on what kind of parenting works best. And I'm not saying I have all the answers. I just know what worked for me and kept me sane during the 6 weeks before she started sleeping though the night.

4 comments:

HeyJade said...

I admire that...Preston's schedule is STILL something we're trying to work on and he'll be 2 1/2 next week. Nite time is fine...he enjoys his going to bed routine, and he'll usually sleep for right at 8 hours then promptly wake up! Which means that if we put him to bed early, he wakes up early. If I want 8 hours of sleep, I have to go to bed as soon as he falls asleep. The naps, however, are the problem. At my mom's house he is perfect in the nap department. Goes down, PUTS HIMSELF TO BED, even gladly. At our house on the weekends and at my mother-in-law's house twice a week, he pretty much has to be beaten to sleep. Well, not literally of course, but it's sure a beating for us trying to get him to take his nap. Half the time we end up driving him around in the car till he falls asleep...no joke! So, I dunno what's so different about my mom's house that makes him happy to oblige when it comes to nap and then totally rebel at my house. Totally weird. Maybe because we're a lot more active and we're always doing stuff up until nap time, where as my mom's house is really laid-back, just sitting around and being quiet (with the exception of playing with toys and stuff of course). I dunno, it's frustrating though.

Amber S. said...

I totally hear ya! A lot of our family members get upset with us when we have to show up late or leave early from family events due to it begin in the middle of nap time. I mean, we'll stretch it out a little, but after a while, we KNOW when the boys have had enough. Then they make the comments: "oh, you are SO LUCKY the boys are always so good" and yet in the same conversation "why do you let THEM control your life?!" OK - it's a bit of a balance, people! If our boys get not enough sleep .... OH BOY! Not pretty to have two screaming toddlers at an already overstimulating family function! Our boys are GOOD because they are well rested! ;-) Just e-ranting with you...

Gordon Rhodes said...

Yea, Baby Wise worked great with Drew, though it made me a little neurotic! :)

andy said...

My sister and I both plan to try Babywise with our kids. Except for authors who've written their own books on parenting infants, I've heard nothing but good things about it. I need to get a copy for my mom so she'll be onboard.