'accidental parenting'

Evidently there is a name for our style of parenting. Yippee. Basically, my fear left over from the NICU days made me an 'on demand' parent. That is okay for the first few weeks until we all figure out how much Rio needs to eat and when she needs to sleep and for how often, etc. When one maintains that helter-skelter non-schedule, one winds up with a baby who really can't decide what to do and when to do it because, hey, she's a baby!

Last night we reached our wits end. Rio has been crying for the better part of this week and it's mostly due to exhaustion. You can see it in her little face and her eyes have a little red mask and we're all so beat it almost seems impossible. We made the decision to get her out of our room entirely and put her in her lovely crib with the best mattress money can buy that she has barely been in these 10 weeks. So, while she screamed in our faces (for, you see, she didn't know what she wanted at that point and she was crazy cranky from being overtired so really, all a baby can do is scream!) we reviewed the mess we have made of things. We let her sleep:

on the guest bed
on our chests
in our bed
in a bassinet in the living room
in her swing
in a pack and play in our room

Yeah, when you take a minute to think about it the insanity is obvious. So we put her in her crib last night and followed the Baby Whisperer's advice which runs somewhere between hold her all the time and let her cry it out. In other words, this woman put into words our feelings after reading all the recommended baby books.

It sounds insane but we have to teach her to soothe herself into sleep. Because we've trained her to fall asleep in all the above places with the following 'props':

my finger in her mouth
bear's finger in her mouth
bear walking her back and forth

she can't get to sleep by herself. What BW says to do now is to put her down and then you have to pick her up...every time she starts to cry. The thinking is we're telling her 'Hey, we're right here, you're ok, you can go to sleep' and then we have to be consistent about it. Ugh. I only had to pick her up 11 times before she fell asleep. The book talked about times in the hundreds so I am hopeful we've nipped this in the bud a bit. And today we embarked on a schedule:

walk begining around 8 or 9
nap after that
playtime (today Bear danced out the Nutcracker with a piece of pink tissue. She was highly amused)

I just got her to sleep and it only took 15 minutes. We watched her for yawning and fading and I put her in her crib. She didn't cry at all. When she did start to fuss I helped her find her mouth with her fingers and she soothed herself.to.sleep.


I never wanted to have children. That's not saying I'm not thrilled we have Rio, that's just saying that it has never been a driving force or even a given for how I pictured my life. Having her is so beautiful that words don't suffice for encapsulating the feelings that wash all over the place when I even think about her. I am unprepared for this epic journey but I'm reading and learning so much and figuring most of it out by feel and I think I'm doing a pretty good job. My heart is in the right place at least.

I think back on the months preceding her arrival and how they were jammed with finishing school and being sick all the time. I don't know how I should have prepared differently, but I would have slept one HELL of a lot more.

I'm going to look in on the sleeping princess and then spend some time with Bear. It has been a wonderful day, today.