Bad Track Records, Those People and Their Advice

Alex, in bed next to me, tapped me on the arm. “I just can’t sleep.” I said. I had a weird dream, the type of dream that gets my brain revved up to a million miles a minute about random things. Not a bad dream. But a dream that wakes me up. Usually for the day.

He points behind his back. I grab my cell phone to use as a light, and I look to where he’s pointing. She’s curled up against him, sound asleep.

She stirred awake, tried to go back to sleep, and started to crawl over him to get to me. She does that still, sometimes. About once every week or two. She’ll climb over him and tap me on the shoulder and I’ll roll onto my back and she’ll curl into the curve of my body and fall back asleep.

Last night, as she started to climb over him, Alex whispered to her that she could just go back to sleep. So she laid her head down on his pillow and did just that. She went back to sleep.

This child. This two year old child. Messy pigtailed little creature in outer-space pajama pants and a purple t-shirt. She used to be that baby that could never be put down for naps. She used to be that baby that woke every hour, every 90 minutes. That threw baby parties in the middle of the night and that had to be held and bounced and nursed endlessly.

She still co-sleeps. Still nurses on demand. We’re taking things at her pace, and her pace still says that she feels most secure in the room with us.

Some people say “SHE WILL SLEEP WITH YOU UNTIL SHE’S IN COLLEGE!” and that we have to get her out of our room right now.

Those were the people that said she would never learn to self soothe if I didn’t leave her to cry.

Those were the people that said she would never walk if I didn’t put her down.

Those were the people that said she’d never crawl if I didn’t leave her on her belly even if it made her unhappy.

Those were the people that said I would never be able to leave her if I didn’t start when she was small.

Those people haven’t made too many accurate predictions, now, have they?

I didn’t listen to them then, I won’t listen to them now.

She’s the one who has my ear, this child. She’s the one who takes each new opportunity for independence as she is able and comfortable.

He let her sleep there for a few minutes until she was deeply asleep again, then moved her back to the sidecarred crib where she spends the night.

And me? I woke up for the day. My body just wasn’t sleepy anymore.

  5 comments for “Bad Track Records, Those People and Their Advice

  1. Simone
    May 18, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Sarah! The adventures of raising babies and toddlers are so wonderful and so full of people trying to tell us what to do… My first child is 2 1/2. I’m finally getting better at not getting too worked up when people tell me how to be with him. Or maybe people aren’t telling me as much…? Or a bit of both? Anyway, I appreciate what you’re saying here and I can relate. :0)

    & I don’t remember if I commented on your mothers day post, but I’ll say here that it really touched me and my sister and my mother and other friends I sent it to as well!

    Hugs to you!

  2. May 23, 2014 at 3:38 am

    Hello Sarah,
    I wish I could have come across your blog earlier! I love your blog and keep nodding my head when I read your stories.

    My 6-month-old son has always been a bad sleeper and quite a clingy and unpredictable type. What makes it worse is, it has always been a struggle for me to hear everyone says ‘you gotta teach him or he will never learn to sleep’, ‘you can’t carry him all the time or he will dadadada’, ‘you need to leave him crying or he will dadada’, ‘he needs to learn to play with his toys, you can’t answer him every time he cries’. My husband and I tried a few times ‘let him cry’ because I am still doing uni and having my exam in 2 weeks. I couldn’t let him cry at the anyway, and keep doubting myself if I am a good mama. Last few days I decided, I really have to stop fighting with him, it is too exhausting for both of us, then I came across your blog, you write like an angel and every article touches my heart. At times parenthood could be quite a lonely thing and thanks for your words of wisdom and kindness.

    God bless your family.

    daphne xx

  3. justin
    May 23, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. learning is not a destination but a trip a long adventurous jurny. every child is different not something to check off your to do list but a opportunity to learn and grow together is it bbetter for a child to no the abc or to be kind and compassionate treat others well or pant in the lines

  4. Alia
    May 23, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    You will never be able to understand what this post means to me! My baby is exactly like your babies and all the advice I get is exactly the same as the stuff you mentioned above, thank you for letting me know that the alternative (being gentle, following his lead, waiting it out) isn’t crazy and that I’m not making it harder than it should be or creating a monster! Light at the end of the tunnel! And even if there’s no light, gentle, humane, loving way of caring for a tiny person!

  5. Stephanie
    May 24, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I love co- sleeping with my son.I wouldn’t change it at all! I love listening to his laughter and being there when a bad dream happens. He wakes me in the morning by gently tapping me on the shoulderreeling me outs time to wake up the sun is shining lol. little does he know I’m already awake. people have many different views on this subject , they need to do what works for them.

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