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Lungs of Steel

July 25th, 2006

Kenny is screaming.   Screaming alternately with babbling things that are starting to sound vaguely like “Mommy, I thought you loved me come get me out of this crib now my heart is breaking!!!!”

So this sleep-solutions book, which is expertly written and sounds brilliant and coherant when you are reading it, says not to let them cry more than 1 hour at naptime.   If they last an hour and are still crying, go in, and go about your day as if they had napped and try again at the next nap time.   Sounds fine, right?

Except that’s my little boy crying in there!   Not some text-book case-study on sleep deficiencies in babies.   He’s my Kenny; my little guy, my sweetest, loving little kid, and he sounds so sad and lonely.

The idea in enforcing the naptime is sound.   Babies who don’t get enough sleep are not only irritable, but they can suffer later on from stress, anxiety and learning disabilities.   And Kenny is not getting nearly enough sleep for his age.  

So if I go to get him right now, which I desperately want to do, I am faced with the fact that he’s been wailing for 20 minutes, he’s even more tired and cranky than before, he still hasn’t napped, we’re both stressed, and the next nap time will be even harder when I lay him down to sleep.   We won’t be any closer to getting him to nap on a regular basis, and both of us will be frustrated with this whole thing even more than we are now.

So I’m going to let him cry, right?

I hate this part of the Mommy Game.   Who ever knew loving someone would be this hard?   This heartbreaking?   I know, all the seasoned Moms out there are saying, “just wait until he’s a teenager.”     So this is how it feels to know what’s best for your child – sleep, in this case – and have them fight against it and you with ever fiber of their being.   Would  I give in if he acted this way when I put him in the car seat?   Would I give in and say, “ok, honey, you can ride up front with me; we’ll try that car seat thing another time.”   NO!   Is this the same idea?   Or is this a totally different ball game?

If I let him cry, am I fostering feelings of abandonment in him?   OR If I don’t let him cry, thus not letting him nap, am I setting him up for greater harm down the road?

I don’t know ho much more of this I can take.

Anyone else out there having to use tough-love at naptime?   Nighttime is going really well, it’s the naps that are killing me.

Kenny, July 06 014.jpg



  1. Kimmie says

    Having BTDT (been there done that) – I feel your pain. I had to use CIO (cry it out) with Kaitie b/c I was so tired of bouncing and rocking and feeding all day. Just take a deep breath and remember that This too shall pass. Enjoy your little Kenny-boo! Call me – I’ve got better advice than I can type!!! Love you sis

    July 25th, 2006 | #

  2. mommie k says

    like mommie, like son!!!! and you grew up to be brilliant. the lack of naps will not make you dumb, or stressed. look at you!!!!! love you, mommie k

    July 25th, 2006 | #

  3. Karen says

    Hi Kristjana,
    I really enjoy reading your blog. I love your honesty and enthusiasm. I have two boys ages 6 and 3 and I remember how frustrating naps and bedtime can be. Hang in there. My first son never really napped, he just fell asleep in my arms when nursing every day. Crying it out at bedtime really worked for us. It was horrible at first, but once we got through a few tough days it was wonderful to be able to put him to bed the same time every night.
    My second son was a napper. I read a great book that really helped me called “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”. I don’t know what time you put Kenny down for his nap, but the book says to try a late morning nap (a few hours after he gets up-9:30) and then an early afternoon nap(1:00). If you miss his sleepy time he will be overtired and won’t settle down. It worked for us. Try to stick to the same time and the same soothing routine before his nap each day. Watch for a yawn too and then run to put him down.
    It was rough going in the beginning, some days a nap some days not, but I stuck with it and it paid off. I don’t blame you for not wanting to let him cry for an hour – 30 minutes was usually my limit. You sound like a wonderful Mom. I know how hard it is, but it will get better. It really does go by fast. I’m sad because my little one seems to be giving up his nap. Always something new and exciting! Good luck!
    Karen 🙂

    July 25th, 2006 | #

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