Leaving your child to cry. It’s an emotive subject. Some people swear by it, some people think it’s mean. When you have children who don’t sleep very well, there appears to be only 2 options. Put up with it until they grow out of it, or leave them to cry. Both of these are pretty crappy options. Its like one of those games you used to play when you were drunk. Who would you rather sleep with? Johnny Depp with Syphilis, or Brad Pitt with hooks instead of hands. Its a harsh choice. Neither seems like an attractive prospect.
I’m not saying that this is the right solution for everybody. I know plenty of people who have never needed or wanted to go through this. But none of the gentler techniques work with our kids. So we find ourselves in the same parenting quandary the second time, that we did the first time. We’ve both run out of both patience and ideas. The only thing left is to leave the Hulk to cry.
So here it is. The stark reality of leaving your toddler to cry. The seven emotional stages that you will go through in this horrendous process.
- Confidence. You’ve thought it through. You’ve read the 3 day Nanny book. Its definitely going to be fine to do this. They all swear by it. You can listen to him cry for a while. He’s fine, and you’re hardcore. You are definitely a no-nonsense mum and you will not be beaten by a 2 year old. **at this point you return him to bed a few times, you tell him its “sleepy time” in a nice voice.
- Pain. This is harder than you thought it would be. You start texting your friends for emotional support. Your husband goes downstairs to get on with some work and closes all the doors so he can’t hear. **you allow The Hulk to stand at his stairgate and scream. You hide in your room. He’s been crying for about 45 minutes now.
- Guilt. What on earth are you doing to this poor innocent toddler? He just wants you to cuddle him to sleep and sing to him every night. He wants to pop in and see you 5 times over the course of an average night. He just wants you to sleep on the floor next to his bed. Its perfectly reasonable. You are his mother after all. Cave-mums would have slept next to their children. You are obviously the nastiest mother on the planet. **now you are returning him to bed in silence, like the unfeeling emotionless bitch you are.
- Blame. Its definitely my husbands fault. What sort of fucking stupid idea was this? He can fucking manage this now. He should come upstairs right now. Wanker. Its his fault for once stroking his head to get him to sleep. That definitely set off this stupid situation. Its nothing to do with me. ** at this point you want to go downstairs and get your husband, however you would get spotted by the screaming toddler, so instead you wait angrily in your room while sending out vibes of general hatred into the ether. (FYI, it was actually your idea, and you were the main hair stroking criminal)
- Acceptance. You’ve gone this far. He’s been screaming for an hour and half now. You are definitely a bitch, but you really are going to have to see it through. You start googling on Mumsnet and other websites to see how long this shit should take. While you’re there you just quickly Google the Geneva Convention, just to see what you’re contravening.
- Hyper vigilance. You become attuned to the sound of his breathing and crying. You are sure he has dropped off, you breathe when he breathes. You hold your breath between his strange wobbly gulpy cries. They stop altogether. You make small shuffling steps towards your own bedroom door to see if you can make out the shadow of his tired slumping and defeated frame by the door. You stare through the crack.
- Relief. He is asleep. You have a strange mix of euphoria and guilt. The thought that you might have to do this tomorrow makes you want to shut your head in an oven.
So there it is. Controlled crying. A battle of wills. A race to see who stops crying first – you or them.
Life Love and Dirty Dishes