Dear Four and a Half Month Old Wee Babygirl,
You sleep like a baby. Which involves a lot of sleep for you and not much for anyone else around you, particularly for me.
So very sleepy, I am.
At night you do not scream, seldom cry, but you raise the alert that you need to be held near. You toss from side to side and your little mouth seeks. Slowly you escalate from tsking to cawing like a little crow. I marvel at how you ask, ask, ask. Patiently. You so clearly understand that your asking will be answered. I can’t help but smile as I pick you up or snuggle down to nurse you.
Baby trainers say that I’m training you to manipulate me into picking you up, and would probably be aghast at the idea that I don’t even wait for you to escalate to crying before I do so.
I’m not a baby trainer.
I firmly believe that crying has a specific meaning. It is a raising of alarm that there is something wrong. I do not want to change that into something that you simply do and that I simply ignore. I do not want to break your communication now and fix it later. I want to listen and to keep your words meaningful.
I do not see it as “teaching you to cry”. Rather, I’m teaching you the meaning of crying. Crying is a raising of alarm. Crying is something that you do when you are upset or hurting. Crying is not something that you do when you ask for something the first time. Asking is something that you do without tears.
Right now I would rather teach you the meaning of trust than teach you to sleep. Sleep comes on its own as your body grows and all those baby reflexes fade into the past and your sleep becomes less shallow as your body learns to regulate itself without needing to be so near.
Trust, however, is a harder thing to learn.
So no, we’re not “sleep training”. We’re trust training. We’re training on the meaning of communication. We’re training on the meaning of met needs so that when those tempestuous toddler years roll around you’ll understand deep down that your needs are always met and we can learn together about wants and how they are different from needs and how it’s okay to cry and I will be there to offer you comfort the way I have every day since you were born.
I will not seek to build a house on sand with no foundation. Instead we will build the foundation strong.
Sleep will come later. It has for your brothers and it will for you.
I can wait it out so that you can trust me.