22 February 2011

Intervention (originally 10 February 2011)

Earlier this week I wrote brashly about how Emmaline is a gifted sleeper.  It wasn't always that way.  When she had her four month visit with her pediatrician she was not yet sleeping through the night.  At her six week visit we had been told to keep her happy.  We complied.

She was happy - in our arms, in the Bjorn, in the bed swaddled tightly to outweigh the theoretical increased risk of SIDS from sleeping right between us since that was the only place she would sleep.  But apparently, this was not enough.  Because at that doctor's visit, Emmaline was given the diagnosis of "sleep disorder".

It was a ploy to increase revenue.  It was a clever billing trick.  But it made me angry.  She was four months old.  She was perfect.  If she did not sleep through the night it was our fault, not hers, and we would train her.  Not that night, since she had just been jabbed in the thighs with a cocktail of vaccines. We waited twenty-four hours.  Then we started with the tough love Ferber style.

She cried a few minutes and then got cuddled and then she cried a few minutes more.  Not seventy-two hours later she had been transformed into a mythical creature who would sleep no fewer than twelve hours straight each night.

Until Chicago.

We went.  She slept.  She did not, as feared, decompensate during the actual visit.  We came back.  She cried on the plane.  She eventually slept.  And now she is completely broken.
It started last night.  She cried, awaking suddenly and sounding terrified, so I went in and rocked her.  She cried again, so Daryl held her against his chest.  He brought her into our room where she snuggled in right beside him.  Then she sat up, pointed at me, rolled over to put her head against my shoulder, closed her eyes again - for the space of a few deep whimpering breaths.  Roll. Twist.  Her head on Daryl's stomach, her feet against my cheek.

Oryx jumped up to join us.

"Cat," Emmaline said, popping straight up again.

Needless to say no one got very much sleep last night, except my father.  He remained blissfully unaware of the blood curdling screams while my mother lay awake in their apartment, willing herself to remain still and not intervene.

Because intervention is where we had gone wrong.  My daughter can say airplane.  She can say upstairs.  She can say night night.  She walked down our two front steps yesterday all by herself and holding on to NOTHING!  I looked it up just to make sure I was not wearing my baby-mommy-blinders, but no, she's not supposed to do that yet.  That's some mad gross motor skills.

Clearly Emmaline is brilliant.  As such she knows what she is doing when she cries at night. She is getting attention.  And the thing about attention is that it makes you want more attention.  It feels good.  Like mainlining heroin - I'm told.  So of course she is only going to want more.  I'm a good hugger.  How could she not be addicted to that?  I know that I am addicted to her.
Even so, there are certain hours of the day when I would rather love her from a distance, in silence and while unconscious.  So tonight - regardless of how many times she calls Mama or Oh, no or for how long she simply wails - I will not go into her room.  You heard it here first.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I should go to bed early so I can lie there reminding myself that I am not going to go into her room until it is time to go in and cuddle her once more.

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