At Addison’s four month check-up the pediatrician told us that we could “start to let her cry and soothe herself” at bedtime.  Something just didn’t feel right about that to me so I chose not to let her cry, but I always kept that in the back of mind.  I wondered, ‘How can parents just let their baby cry at this age?’‘ The truth is, and this is a common theme on this website, every baby is so different in terms of development.  I’m sure some babies are ready to self soothe at that age.  Addie was not one of them.  When five months rolled around she still wasn’t ready.  Again, it just didn’t feel right to me.  She was falling asleep during her last feeding of the day and we would carefully transfer her into her bed already asleep.  Another big no-no according to the experts (both the falling asleep during feedings and putting a baby to bed already asleep) but it worked for us.  I didn’t want the fight of having to let Addison cry herself to sleep so I didn’t want to stray from our routine.  Bedtime is an IMPORTANT part of the day to someone with an infant – or a child of any age I suppose.  So my motives were entirely selfish.  I admit it.

At right around six months old Addison stopped falling asleep during her last bottle of the night.  She was awake but yawning and clumsy.  Suddenly she was fighting sleep, which she had never done before, and it became impossible to put her to bed without tears.  When I would pick her up from the crib to soothe her she would immediately perk up and push away from me to get down out of my arms and play.  If I tried to rock her in the rocking chair she would try her best to dive off of my lap onto the floor.  There was NO SOOTHING her at this point.  I’m writing about Addie-age-six-months like it was so long ago.  It seems silly, but it feels like so long ago in Addie Years.

I knew we had little choice but to put her in her crib and let her cry.  Addison would sit in her crib and cry and I would sit at the top of the stairs and cry right along with her.  I felt like such an awful mother for putting my baby in a dark room alone and letting her cry.  We never let her go more than 5 minutes.  We would go in and check on her and pat her on the tummy and replace the baby doll that she had tossed across the crib.  Just long enough to let her know we hadn’t abandoned her.   I’m making this sound worse than it was.  Going through it was rather unpleasant but it only lasted a week before Addison stopped crying at bed time.  When it was time for bed she would grab her baby doll, hug it tight and roll right over to go to sleep.  It was heavenly!

Lately, Addie has started regressing to her old ways.  She has this burst of energy now while drinking her bottle at the end of the day.  it’s definitely the hardest part of the day for all of us.  She wants to jump off the couch and climb the entertainment center and be chased around the house.  I don’t know where this energy comes from at a time when she should be winding down.  And now that she knows how to stand, when she finally does go to bed, she’s been standing up in her crib just screeching this awful, high pitched screech.  When amplified over the baby monitor it sounds like a  banshee made her way into my living room with a megaphone.

Addison knows now when it’s bed time.  The other night while carrying her into her room, I felt her sharp little fingernails dig into my shoulder and she nuzzled her face into my neck.  Not being one to refuse a rare cuddle and quiet moment with Addison, I stood there in her bedroom and rocked her briefly before placing her in the crib.  It was like magic; just a moment of rocking to calm her down and let her decompress after a hectic evening was all she needed.  She grabbed her baby doll, rolled over on her tummy and fell asleep without protest.  I think we’ve found our groove again.