It isn’t an exaggeration when we say a parent can hear their child’s cry far away, or even among other children crying. We are wired for it, as soon as they leave the womb. Our brains tune itself to it, and sometimes the first few months are really tough, if a child is of a particular temperament. Sleeping while your child is crying may be one of the hardest tasks a person can accomplish.
Clover is having a difficult time getting to sleep these days. It isn’t really noteworthy, besides the fact that we have been incredibly fortunate thus far. Clover is a very chilled out kid, and prior to these moments before naps and sleep time e would cry if e was hungry, in pain or uncomfortable. Susan and I have cared for enough to children to realize how lucky that was.
It is hard nonetheless. As I said, my brain is wired around the problem of eir crying. It is something that gets my heart racing and prompts me to (re)action. It isn’t that useful at the moment.
We have plans to start doing drop-ins at Susan’s school. It is for both me and Clover; I can get more work done during the week, and e can hang out with other kids in a fun place. To start it will only be once or twice a week, to try it out. And so we need to start adjusting Clover to a cooldown period that doesn’t require a doting parent to make a bottle, swaddle and cuddle em, and coo em to sleep as e eats.
For the last year, because I stay up later, a large percentage of the time Clover has gone to sleep has been in my arms. I will never forget how great that is, but on the other hand, it certainly hasn’t helped em learn self-soothing. E just went to sleep after screaming for 30 minutes in eir crib, while I clutched headphones to my head, scared to turn the volume too loud lest I wouldn’t hear em hurt emself. Finally, in an exhausted state, e laid down and drifted off to sleep.
My nerves are on end, and I am fighting back the waves of guilt welling up inside me. I am normally really good at setting boundaries for children, it is something I am really happy with actually. I like to think I am helping them become successful adults that are capable of asking for help and achieving their goals. It just sucks to think that a pickup or hug could alleviate what appears to be so much pain, and yet I have to be a punitive parent and teach this little human a lesson by essentially ignoring em.
Okay, writing that out made me feel a bit better. I know I am having a strong emotional reaction, and everything is actually okay. Just trying to write through this moment.
I probably need a nap…