Yesterday afternoon I was almost crying because I thought I was going to literally die from fatigue. Erik called from work.
Me: I am so tired. Charlie just woke up from his nap which means that I won't get to sleep while Luke is taking his nap.
Erik: Just lay Charlie down. He'll cry, but he's a baby. They're supposed to sleep, he'll fall asleep eventually.
Me: You're not listening. Charlie just woke up. He's not going to sleep.
Erik: So what? Just lay him down and take a nap. Who cares if he cries?
ARGH! I'm not sure if the fact that Erik can sleep while a baby is crying makes me jealous or angry. Logistically, it makes sense for him to be able to tune Charlie out so well during the night. He has to get up in the morning for work, while I just sit at home during the day, blog, eat bon bons, and nap at my leisure. (Only if that were all true...)
Seriously though, even being as sleep deprived as I am (and I really am right now), I hate the "cry it out" method. When I hear a mother say that it bothers her to listen to her baby cry in the other room, I want to say, "Well, yeah, that's mother nature telling you it's a bad idea." In other words, Dr. Sears has said,
"...listen to the biological cues of your body when your baby cries rather than to advisors who tell you to turn a deaf ear. These biological happenings explain why it's easy for those advisors to say such a thing. They are not biologically connected to your baby. Nothing happens to their hormones when your baby cries."
Luke did not sleep "through the night" until he was around 15 months old. (He is now a wonderful sleeper... well, with the crib tent, of course.) I then started talking to realistic mothers and realized that my child's sleep habits were not abnormal. I was being way too hard on myself.
One of the most common questions I get asked now is what I am doing differently with the second child. For starters, I have decided to respond to my child's needs in a way that I was afraid to with Luke. When Charlie cries, I nurse him without hesitation. When he wakes up in the middle of the night, I go to him immediately. He is a much happier baby than Luke was. Coincidence? I don't know.
This doesn't mean that I am not extremely tired. However, I also have a better perspective. Yes, I don't get a full night's rest right now, but I know I will one day. This won't go on forever. I also think that in a few years I will wish that my children needed me like they did when they were infants.
Although Erik may not respond to a baby's cries, he does respond to other things. The other night, at 3 a.m., I was lying in bed nursing Charlie. When Charlie finished nursing, he turned his head to the other side and spit up all over Erik's face. I heard Erik wake up and say, "Gross, Charlie! He just spit all over me!"
I turned over so that Erik couldn't see my face, and smiled. At last, I felt vindicated.