Monday, October 16, 2006

The Shuffle, Part One

A few things before we begin:

  1. Leah found on the Internet that there’s a push to make “ya’ll” an acceptable spelling for “y’all”. The reason is that “ya’ll” more accurate reflects the pronunciation of “y’all”. What are we doing? If we’re going to start changing the spellings of words because of the way we pronounce them, we’re going to have to change ‘there’ to ‘thar’, ‘fire’ to ‘far’, and, last but definitely not least, ‘hello’ to ‘yellow’ (hey Paw-Paw).
  2. When did it become acceptable to begin a sentence with ‘And’?
  3. When did it become acceptable to begin a sentence with ‘But’?

These things really bother me, and I’m from Tarrant. I can only imagine how people that scored better than me (over 19) on the English portion of the ACT feel about all of this.


I know that epilogues are supposed to go at the end, but this is a follow-up to the previous post regarding Friday night/Saturday morning, so I’m putting it here.

Jack woke up as soon as I clicked ‘Publish Post’ – no lie. I was between a question mark and a rock and a hard place. I didn’t really know what to do when he awoke. I was willing to go back to the 15 minute intervals until he fell asleep on his own, but I also knew that if he (or I) didn’t get a little bit of sleep, we wouldn’t be able to go to the Alabama – Ole Miss game. I selfishly caved in and rocked him back to sleep. Then I had to do it a couple more times through the night.

I called Karly and Brandon bright and early Saturday morning and asked if I could borrow The Sleep Lady book. She will henceforth be referred to as SLady, if my spell check will allow it.

That brings us to Sunday…

I read the first three chapters and the chapter on nine to twelve month olds yesterday. Quite a feat for a slow reader like myself. It’s not that I’m illiterate I just don’t read fast.

A couple of quick observations: SLady is a bit less heartbreaking than Ferber. I, however, kind of like the rigidity of Ferber’s Method. With Ferber, I know that regardless of what happens, I DO NOT pick the child up from the crib. SLady allows a pick-up, if absolutely necessary, but that moment of compassion just presents me with more questions, i.e., when is it absolutely necessary? Is that one pick-up a night, or one pick-up each time that he cries? If he’s sitting up, but not standing, can I help him position himself in a sleep position and, if so, does that count as the one pick-up or can you re-position as often as necessary? I guess with SLady, like most other parts of parenting, you just make the decision that you feel is best and hope that the your wife doesn’t notice the bruise, I mean, you just do the best that you can. There are people a lot dumber than me that have done this. Lastly, every article and sleep book that I read has been geared to the mother.

I decided to give The Shuffle a try. I can stand the crying, but I don't like the screaming. Although I really think that I could endure it for the short run (heck, he screamed solid for the first three months of his life and it didn't kill us, or him for that matter), and it would be easy to tell him "good luck" and just walk out of his room, I kind of feel like I created this problem, so I should be part of the solution. I would have been a good little guilt ridden Catholic.

To start the process, we decided to give Jack his bath a little earlier, thinking that his bath objection was related more to him being tired than it was he not liking the water. We put him in the tub at 6:45 and, voila, he loved it. He played with his toys and splashed around. At the first sign of him losing interest, we plucked him out and started drying him off. We lotioned him up and dressed him in his pajamas without him having a meltdown. That hasn’t happened in a few weeks. I read him a book and let him play a little bit. Shortly after 7:00, I went and sat in the rocker. He followed. I picked him up and gave him his bottle. We turned off the lights, shut the doors, momma said goodnight, and Jack and I sat in the rocker as he drank his milk.

After his milk, Jack started squirming and wiggling. Is this one of his sleep cues – fighting sleep? Was the sleep window closing, or was it not even open yet? I was confused. I made him sit in my lap, trying to get him comfortable. After a few trying minutes, he relaxed and seemed to be winding down. Although he didn’t act very drowsy, I tried to put him in his crib anyway. No surprise, he objected. Did I put him down too soon?

SIDEBAR: Have you ever drunk a quart of milk and done anything strenuous? I think milk defies the gravitational downward pull more than helium.

As Jack was crying, he started hiccupping. He also started that pre-puke gag that anyone that’s ever been to college understands all too well. I didn’t want him to hurl on the very first night, so after only a few minutes, I picked him up.

He stopped crying immediately and put his head on my shoulder. SLady would say I was duped, I prefer to think that I saved us from having that spoiled milk vomit smell emit from the carpet for the next 8 weeks (especially if I am going to sleep on that carpet for a few nights while he gets used to sleeping alone in his own bed).

He hiccupped and gagged a few more times, but he fell asleep rather quickly. In to his crib he went. No objections this time. It was about 7:35. I took my place in the chair that is, in our case, the quadrangular shaped ottoman for the rocking chair and it is not very comfortable. SLady really needs to develop and market the Shuffle Chair. She would make a quadrillion dollars. I sat on the ottoman for a few minutes, just in case he awoke, then I went and did some things on my own, after 7:30PM, for the first time in months. Leah and I watched the online final episode of Two-A-Days. It was kind of nice. I felt free for a few moments. Afterward, I got my Spanish course book and a small flashlight and went back in to Jack’s room for the night. It was about 8:30.

Jack slept fine until 12:24 AM. We awoke and sat up. He started whimpering a little then he stood in his crib. I was in the chair in my spot before he stood up good. I told him it was okay, ‘sh-sh’, and all that jazz. After 15 minutes, he sat down in his crib. I rattled the pacifier so that he could hear it and know that it was near. He picked it up, put it in his mouth, and leaned forward, resting his little head on the bumper of his crib (YEA!!! He’s trying!). He's a good boy.

It didn’t take. He went through various stages of semi-consciousness for the next two hours. He leaned his head to the bumper a few more times at the 30, 40, 55, 70, 80, and 100 minute marks. It was like he was flipping the switch, but the lights wouldn’t turn off. Maybe the peeps that say that he’s just not neurologically wired to sleep are right. If that’s so, let’s break out the Paxil, or Zoloft, or LexiPro or something. KIDS GOTTA SLEEP! You can’t just accept that they’re going to be awake until they go to college and pass out. After two hours exactly, he went back to sleep. It was 2:24 AM.

He and I slept until 3:33 AM when he awoke again. I took my place next to his crib and we resumed the process, then I realized that my feet were freezing and so were his hands and feet. He didn’t even have the benefit of socks or two of those cutesy little throw blankets that are good for watching TV, but no so good for stretching out and actually sleeping. I went to the thermostat, which is right outside of Jack’s room, so he YELLED when I left despite my comforting words. It was 65 degrees in the house. I turned on the heat for the first time all year. I kind of like the smell that the heater gives off the first time you turn it on for the season. Then I worried about carbon monoxide. As the room warmed, I watched and listened carefully to Jack, who was holding his binky (blanket) and gnawing on his pacifier. He fell asleep by himself, with his head resting on the bumper at 4:25 AM. After a few minutes, I repositioned him to a more traditional sleep position and he slept until 5:41 AM.

I sat, again, next to his crib from 5:41 until 5:58 listening to him cry louder than he had cried all night, with the exception of the initial crib placing when he threatened to puke. Jack has always been an early riser, usually not sleeping past 5:30 and, most mornings, not past 5:00. He may be one of those babies that wakes up at 6:00 every day that SLady says you just have to accept. 7 PM to 6 AM is a long time, after all.

At 5:58, I went downstairs to wake Leah and tell her that I was about to bring Jack downstairs – so put on a happy face. I made his morning bottle and went back to Jack’s room for the big dramatic wake. He was still crying, but I turned on the lights and picked him up. The big opening of the blinds production that I did lost a little of its effect when the opened blinds revealed only the darkness of a sunless sky. He warmed up a little when Leah came in to his room and, after a few minutes, was laughing and playing.

So, that was night one. I messed up the ‘drowsy but awake’ part, but I still think that we made some progress. He learned to find his pacifier on his own and he went to sleep a couple of times on his own. I learned that giving a baby 6 ounces of milk right before you know he’s going to cry rather strenuously is not a good idea. I also learned to keep an eye on the temperature in the room, and that Jack can go to sleep without me rocking him. I also observed that he doesn’t like me to leave the room when he’s awake, but, alas, it’s only night one.

I am open for feedback.


Katie said...

Um. We let J cry it out. It took 3 nights. Just put your iPod on and it mostly drowns out the screaming.

Jammy said...

I'm not against crying it out, but we'll try the shuffle for a little while. I'm not going to tolerate any Shula-esque lack of improvement in his sleeping behavior, though.

Karly said...


I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!! You are really trying. I actually just read in parents magazine that crying babies were rarely affected by having a wet diaper changed. They took 2 sets of babies who were crying and had wet diapers, on one set the put a dry diaper and the other a wet diaper back on..the amount of crying did not changes. What did affect the crying was the coolness of the temperature in the room b/c a wet diaper on your skin combined with cool temp was very displeasing to the babies. Once the temperature warmed up they were fine. So maybe the heat/air had something to do with it.

Why are you reading a Spanish course book?

Keep on keeping on. I look forward to the updates.

Michelle said...

Jammy, First of all, reading your blog is better than anything I have read lately. I have a few comments on the English language...what about the words "fixin to"? The correct words are "about to". That is a big pet peeve of mine. Also, when people call a picture "a pitcher". One is hanging on the wall and the other is what you pour drinks from.
I am so proud you are trying to teach Jack how to sleep. We did not teach Noah. He still sleeps with us! He's almost 6. With the twins however, we read Baby Wise and actually put it to use. My sister had done it with her two children and they are great sleepers. She would come over at bedtime and we would have "sleep school". The twins started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks. They go to bed at 7:30 and wake about 6:30-6:45. We lay them down and walk out of the room and never hear a peep. Don't rock Jack. Don't talk to him in the middle of the night at all. You're is your fault that he is that way. I know because it's our fault Noah is the way he is. It seems cruel but it really is better for the child. Keep it up! At least you're trying and remember, Jack will never remember this!