*WARNING* This is dreadfully rantish and poorly written. I was at the time distracted by those heart stopping pauses in the cacophony of 9 month old angst and fatigue ensuing from the nursery. Is it over? Is she still alive? There. You have been warned.
As I type, she is sitting in her bed, gagging, screaming and doing her level best to display her displeasure. So I type to distract myself from the agony of listening.
As an expert on parenting (before I actually had any little people to parent of course) I knew that I was a fan of letting the rebellious child cry it out. "It isn't bad for them. It is bad for them to not know how to sleep!" Being the oldest of 7 kids, I have heard my share of wailing and fussing. "Oh, there is nothing wrong with them. They are stubborn." And thus I went happily into parenthood. 6 months of nursing little baby to sleep, rough naptimes that didn't really exist, and getting up 3-5 times every night took its toll and I became a crazy lady. So we tried one night to let her cry it out. The night ended with me realizing that cry wasn't a stubborn one, but a fearful one. So I picked her up and nursed her to sleep. Then a month later, we decided that Daddy needed to put her down for the night, to start practicing going to bed without nursing. After a few bumpy tries, she learned to go to sleep with Daddy just fine. Still got up several times a night, but more like 2-4 instead of 3-5. Hurrah. Enter the book, Becoming Babywise. Great stuff. Wish I had of read it like a year ago instead of at 8 months. The "best" pattern to follow is feed, awake time, sleep and not the more natural feeling, awake, feed, sleep. I remembered the whole "Babies need consistency and schedules." thing that I am awful about even for myself.
*insert pause where Momma can't handle any more after an hour and a half of sobbing and gagging and goes to pick up said wailer.* (Leading me to question whether or not that hour and a half freaking did anything at all and if picking her up was the right thing to do, or whether I should have picked her up an hour ago... yep. Basically I cried with a discouraged/ omgimacruelbadmother attitude...)
Anyways. Yeah. Have a consistent pattern to your days, predictable naptimes and bedtime routines and such... All of which we started "late." "By now your 9 month old should be sleeping at least 10 hours straight at night and taking two naps that last at least an hour every day." Oh if only. Not a lot of help out there for how to help your tired little 9 month old to adjust to healthier sleep habits after not so great ones... her whole life. Basically its "Just Do It." and "there will be a lot of crying."
How much is too much crying? How long is too long? Is bouncing her every time to sleep the right thing to do or should she cry? Is this flipping working? Is this even an effective way to teach her? How does my baby need to learn? And all that. I wish every baby came with a personalized manual and an LCD readout on their foreheads.
I realize that there is not One "correct" way of doing things and that the "right" thing to do may be many different things at different times and that "every baby is an individual" and all that jazziness. But heck. Can someone just come over and tell me what to do?
In the midst of yet another week of getting up at night and sometimes good, lotsa times not, naptimes, I often forget about all the progress that has been made. She does not need to nurse to sleep. Huge. Daddy can put her down. Huge. Daddy can (and does!) get up with her in the middle of the night now and can get her back off to sleep without too much fuss. Huge. She actually takes naps sometimes now. Huge. Patterns and routines are starting to be established. Huge.
So why do I keep feeling so maxed out and like it is all for naught? Weirdo.
But in the midst of it all, there are those sweet little moments of happy baby sighs, little hugs and kisses and warm cuddles and quick falling asleeps that manage to make up for it all. Mostly..