Saturday, March 03, 2007

Doudou deux, part deux

It all comes back to sleep, doesn't it?

My mom taught Miss Baby to fall asleep on her own, with no crying, and for longer naps than we've seen in months. How? She bought her a soother, and showed her how to use it. She unswaddled her. She walked her around the house, singing and cuddling, and put her down in her crib awake but calm. She kissed her, and walked away.

And that was it. Miss Baby slept for an hour.

To recap: there was no swaddling, no patting, no propping with pillows, no singing-until-asleep, no holding her still until she passed out and then tiptoeing away for 30 minutes of peace. Mom just put her down, kissed her, and walked away. And Miss Baby fell asleep.

Was it the soother? I don't know. It's not like we haven't tried to introduce one before--it just never took. And drowsy-but-awake? Do you think we left that stone unturned? With our routine, we thought we had the best possible strategy with the best possible outcome. Of course, it would often take 20 minutes of soothing to get a 20 minute nap, and there might be some crankiness during the soothing part, but what was the alternative? As it turns out, Gramma is the alternative ... Gramma, and a pink and yellow Nuk, on a pink string, attached to a bunny clip and clipped to Miss Baby's shirt.

You can imagine that this was lorded over me: of course she went to sleep, why do you two make things so much harder than they have to be, she's too big for that swaddle, that baby needs a soother that she can work by herself, just leave her be, she'll fall asleep.

And you know what? If it makes my baby sleep, and she's happy, and it's easier / more effective than my way? Hell yeah, I'll have some ice cream with that humble pie, please. And some tea to wash it down -- I've got time, my baby is sleeping for hour-long stretches. I'm happy to bow down to my mom for this. I don't need so badly to be right that I won't acknowledge a superior technique when I see it.

Sure, my mom went about it in her typical 'suprise!' kind of way: she had this all planned out and didn't tell us what she was going to do, she just did it, bought the soother and clip, volunteered to put Miss Baby down, promising to follow our routine, and then just did her own thing. Maybe I might get my knickers in a twist over this undermining of my parental authority, this I-can-do-it-better mentality. But you know what? She really did do it better. So now Miss Baby has a doudou, and a suce. And for this I can only say: thanks Mom.

Besides, maybe it's easier to take the high road because Mom and Dad had to admit to utter defeat at changing the bedtime routine: with them on Saturday night, Miss Baby managed to tantrum her way into a prime seat on Gramma's lap for two whole periods of Hockey Night in Canada, whereas she's normally asleep before the first faceoff. She ultimately went to bed with doudou-the-first carefully draped under her chin the way Gramma was originally instructed to place it. Heh-heh.

I'm inclined to say the score is Gramma: 1, The Mama: 1. But really, it's Miss Baby: 2. And as long as I keep that in mind, we should be golden.


Her Bad Mother said...

Moxie (the illustrious Moxie of Ask Moxie) taught me this phrase: BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

BAMN. Rhymes with damn. And it became my goddamn motto. Variation: WHATEVER THE HELL WORKS. And, DON'T ASK QUESTIONS.

If they sleep, just thank the gods and have a cookie.

Bloor West Mama said...

Isn't it wonderful to know that you will have a whole hour to yourself.

We too gave into the pacifier, it was a life saver. I say if it works use it.

Sleep tight Miss Baby.

Beck said...

My oldest two had soothers until right around their second birthdays, so I certainly am a fan. Miss Baby may have been at just the right developmental moment to accept a new routine, and so your mother might have succeeded largely out of luck.

bubandpie said...

It's what I always say: never underestimate the power of the soother. (And it's so cute-looking, too! I love the pink and yellow.)

cinnamon gurl said...

Wow. Did it still work when you got home, and gramma wasn't there?

If so, FANtastic!

Swee'pea suddenly slept in his crib (didn't fall asleep by himself, but still) for the first time since August. Well he did do a 10-minute stretch before Christmas but I don't count that. He went for a nearly two hour nap.

Mad Hatter said...

My experience has often been that anyone BUT the parents are needed for fundamental behaviour shifts to take hold. It was our sitters that got Miss M sleeping in the big girl bed "all by self". It most certainly was not us despite our efforts to do the same. Once she realized she could do it, though, she was willing to do it.

They are clever minxes, these children of ours.

Mimi said...

Yes, Mad, clever clever minxes.

And Cin! Holy smokes! Swee'pea in his crib! A 2 hr nap! That's AWESOME. And yes, Miss Baby is still on the Gramma program, even now that we're back home.

Beck, bless you for offering a cicumstantial explanation. Yeah, it was a *stage* and Gramma was in the right place at the right time ... ;-)

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

My mom is like this too -- not sneaky so much, but she is sure a miracle worker. If it weren't for her, my relationship with my daughter would be in the toilet. She's the one who taught me how to play with my girl, how to read her expressions, etc.

NotSoSage said...

Cin asked the question I did. See, things always seem to work for other people...and then not for us. Apparently Mme L is toilet-training at daycare. At home? Every morning we ask if she wants to use the potty and maybe one in 7 the answer is yes.

crazymumma said...

Maybe your Mom can come over and talk to my girls about sleeping thru the night for once in their lives.....

nomotherearth said...

I've pretty much given up. Other people have so much success getting the Boy to do things that I thought were impossible dreams (like eat vegetables). I'm with HBM - whatever works and whatever you do don't question it.

Melanie said...

Miss Baby is so darn cute! Love the picture in Doudou deux part one (or un?). Those eyes! You know - mothers really do sort of know best. It just gets sticky when there are several generations of mothers, knowing who trumps who. Love your thoughts on it anyway, it made me giggle.

Oh, The Joys said...

Blasted Grandmas!

Jenifer G. said...

So true. We were/are big soother fans and both my girls took to them like baby druggies. With Papoosie Girl I remember walking into the Special Care Nursery and seeing a soother in her bassinet. I remember walking up to the nurse and saying something like I think someone left this in her bed with her. I clearly remember her answer that it was Papoosie Girl's. The shock!

Whatever I was thinking about giving or not giving one were made for me and boy was I thankful. She left the hospital 3 days later in her car seat all bundled up and definitely "plugged" in!

Fast forward two and half years later with Rosebud. The same hospital no longer provides soothers, it contradicts their breastfeeding policies (or so I was told). Not to worry, we packed our own this time!

Whatever, however it takes is what you do. It is a little annoying though when those Grandma types can get said wee ones to do things we cannot. This happened with a friend whose baby stopped crying the minute I picked her up...the mother was less than amused if not grateful.

ewe are here said...

Grammas have special powers sometimes... probably because when they raised us, they weren't faced with all that conflicting information in 18,000 parenting books. The 'just did it'.

At least she slept on her own. ;-)

Em said...

Whatever works is my motto! I'm glad you're all getting some more rest :)