Monday, October 15, 2007

OK, We Caved

The current score in the great room-sharing experiment? Genevieve: 1; Us: 0.

Last evening, after poor, sad Vivi had been crying (sitting up, of course) for an hour post-bedtime, we gave up, put her back in her old bed in the guest room, and promptly ordered a super-fleecy, older-baby-sized sleep-sack from an online specialty store. Because the guest room is so cold that even an old-fashioned blanket sleeper over regular jammies isn't warm enough in the winter, for a baby who won't keep any covers on. And it looks like she's going to be sleeping in there for awhile. Sorry, potential guests, but we don't have any space for you, again.

Christopher wanted to give this whole room-share attempt until Wednesday, but truth be told, I couldn't bear all the crying. Or the poor sleep. On the part of Genevieve AND me. She kept falling asleep sitting upright, as if she didn't dare let down her guard in the strange room. She kept moaning and wailing at bedtime. She wouldn't nap in there (we'd already returned her to her old bed for naps, so impossible did that situation seem). I stood in the dark and thought, Genevieve isn't ready for this. She needs her old bed and her old room. She's happy there. And we all sleep. In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Or, rather, more accurately, if it's only broke a little bit and is mainly more of an inconvenience and perhaps an unconventional set-up, don't try to fix it because what you'll actually end up doing is making the whole situation a lot worse, idiot. It appears that--surprise!--babies thrive on consistency and routine, and that this is typified by the 14-month-old baby, especially. Don't mess with her world. You'll regret it.

Some of you out there may have babies who are flexible, easy-going, and unbothered by changes in routine or environment. As parents of such babies, you may assume that this is true of all babies; it may not have even occurred to you that some babies are not like that. I am here to tell you that you are both lucky and, given what I have gleaned from countless conversations over the years with fellow-mom friends, not particularly typical. I hope that you are taking advantage of your serendipitous circumstances and grabbing every opportunity you can to, I don't know, go camping (some people do this! camping! with babies! and small children!) or travel to large cities on vacation and stay in hotels, or go on trips to visit far-away friends and relatives where your children will have to go to sleep on the floor or in a borrowed crib. You can do it extra, for me, too. Because I won't be doing any of that with my babies, who DO NOT SLEEP ANYWHERE ELSE, EVER, than where they are used to sleeping, and thus make my life miserable if I attempt to alter such arrangements.

I thought, on Friday when we began this endeavor, that I'd pinpointed a great truism of parenting: milestones are tough, and oftentimes you have to let your children suffer through them to get to the necessary, better state awaiting on the other side. And surely that's still true. But now I realize I've been slapped in the face with another, momentarily-forgotten parenthood truism: you've got to stay flexible, and never forget that your own personal plans and intentions mean little when the will and desires of a baby are involved. Sometimes they won't do what you want them to, what you have planned for them. And then you may have to change course for a bit, try something else, try something again later. The key is to STAY FLEXIBLE.

Ah, yes! Now I remember.


donna said...

When you do decide to try again, how about going gradually? I was thinking you could move the porta-crib into the nursery, so that G can get used to being in the room while still comfortable in her bed. And after she's settled in the room, you can switch her into her new crib.

Yes, it's more work, but hopefully easier on her (and you).

I hope Julia has been sleeping okay with all the moaning and crying (isn't she a light sleeper?).

(If it makes you feel any better, the one time we took the kids on a trip and slept in a hotel room, my daughter was up for 2 hours from 2-4am, thereby keeping me up from 2-4am. Yeah, we won't be taking any trips anytime soon, either.)

Question said...

If it helps, in less than a year she'll be two and you'll be thinking about her next bed.

I recently heard a woman on the radio talking about her vacation with her husband. They and their 3yo went to CA except that each night from about 7:30 to 9 they hung out in the bathroom drinking wine and playing cards. Once the kid was sufficiently asleep they crept back in the room and watched TV with the closed captions on. That doesn't really sound like a vacation.

Shan said...

Oh, I am laughing at these two comments. Donna, yep, trip experiences like that are exactly why we don't travel. As for your sleep idea, several people have suggested that! I know think it is a good idea....although we're still planning on waiting until she's older to try again. And Question, EXACTLY. NOT A VACATION. ;) Also--I had the same thought about G growing out of a crib in less than a year (more or less) anyway. Yep. There's always something.

Shan said...

Oops---forgot to answer Donna--yes, Julia is a light sleeper, and therefore it was a MIRACLE that she slept through most of G's crying and moaning. Truly surprising. She was largely unbothered by the whole situation. Mainly she just liked the idea of G. being her "sleeping buddy" and is sad that G. does not want to right now!

Jordan said...

Sleep changes are so hard. I know Baxter couldn't sleep well in a new place until he was a few years old and Lyle still hasn't proven this ability but we hope to God I won't have to sleep in a room with him the whole time in CA at Christmas again this year. I will never stay in a hotel room with a young child again after doing it 2x with Baxter as a baby; we get a suite if we really have to. I haven't met one of those sleep-anywhere kids, but I've heard they exist. Hard to imagine.

It took some serious getting used to for Lyle to transition to the crib; thankfully, Bax slept through it all just like Julia, and he still does. I think the difference is probably that we didn't mind the crying that much. Neither of us has that softy gene, which is useful in this sort of situation! ;-) I'm sure you'll make it work when you're ready to.