It's been a long month. I started this post in mid-May, just before our in-city move. I put off final edits and now it's June. This is my life at the moment. Disorganized, distracted, dazed. My daily routine involves chasing a crawling, climbing 9 month old through the box maze that is our new home. Rather than procrastinate any longer, or start over, I'm ready to just post my thoughts from several weeks ago....
(May 12) My son finally "did his nights," as the french say, for the first time last night at 8 months and 10 days old. He took longer than the other babies we know around the same age. But he beat his dad by a few weeks. We'd gotten to a manageable place at 7 months, then hit 8 months and it all went to hell. Screaming, unable to console even when brought to bed with us, many night wakings, still nursing twice, impossible to put to sleep, short naps again... I planned to wait it out until our move Saturday, but by last weekend I had had enough and saw a window of opportunity to implement "cry and console." Parents will probably know what I mean. If you aren't a parent, it's pretty simple (but oh so controversial). My own partner has resisted it. Let the baby cry for increasing intervals and only console for 1-2 minutes between each, without picking baby up. Sunday night...we went rounds for over an hour before he fell into an exhausted slumber. Monday night...30 minutes. Back to two night wakings to feed. Tuesday night...12 minutes with, surprise, one night waking! I was pretty happy. Then last night he went to sleep by himself in 3 minutes...until 6am.
Of course I woke up feeling pretty pleased with myself. I had doubts about this strategy, especially going it alone. But so far it's working. Better than expected. My husband is surprised. I feel good about being right.
Of course Pema has something to say about this. I'm taking it slowly through her book, When Things Fall Apart. This morning I re-read chapter 13 for about the fifth time. It's easy for me to get caught up in feeling bad about being wrong - I spend a lot of energy there. Yet parenting has me on the flip side - feeling good about being right. It's so easy to get cozy with that superiority. Pema reminds me to live in the middle - without attachment to right or wrong. It's hard to move away from that black and white world. Yet compassion can be found in the space you create in between extremes; a compassion necessary for leaving suffering behind.