Monday, February 13, 2006

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat

Last night something occurred in our household that hasn’t happened since the night before we brought Allison home from the hospital – no children fell asleep in our bedroom. Sure, it took us FOREVER to get Emma to sleep (I went to bed at 11:30 – not too long after we stopped hearing her), but both girls ultimately fell asleep in one bedroom. I went to bed last night feeling like we really and truly accomplished something.

The next thing I know, it’s 3:15 am and Allison is crying. Beforehand, Danny and I decided that in just such a circumstance we would put Allison in the tiny crib in our room – by herself. If one or both of us were in there, she would never go to sleep until she was in our bed. To get us over the hump, one of us would sleep downstairs and one of us would sleep on the couch. I started to set that plan into motion. I first decide to wait a bit and test how awake she was. It got quiet for a while. Then I hear her say, “Dada,” followed a few moments later by some whimpers. Again, it’s quiet. I have high hopes that she’ll get herself back to sleep without demanding to come into our bed. No dice. A few seconds later she was calling “Mama” like a broken, shrill record. I went in to get her before she woke Emma up. No dice. Emma was wide awake and sitting straight up in her bed. I felt a sense of doom about the rest of the night.

As I scooped Allison up, Emma started complaining about her mouth and tummy hurting. I told her that I would be back as soon as I put Allison down. Allison was completely content until I put her in the crib. She then figured out that she wouldn’t be sleeping with Mommy. Enter screams and loud coughing/choking/gagging sounds from her crib. I go into the kitchen, find some lip balm and go back into the girls’ room. Emma lets me apply “lipstick” liberally before she mentions that it is really inside of her mouth where she’s hurting. I tell her to lie down and go to sleep.

Danny and I both leave the girls’ room and head out into the living room. We didn’t talk. I suppose that we were silently hoping that both girls would settle down in short order. No dice. Allison kept crying/screaming/coughing/gagging on and off. Emma ended up getting out of her big girl bed and headed for the bathroom. She did, actually, go to the bathroom. Not a lot. Just enough to prove that she needed to get out of bed at 10 to 4 in the morning. When I put her back down, she wanted me (her Daddy, really) to stay in there with her. I refused. She asked for a book and I let her pick one out. Although she continued to cry, she didn’t chase after me when I left the room. She did get out of bed again, though. Her light had been turned on and was still on this morning.

By this time it was nearly 4am. Danny decides to head downstairs. Emma had quieted down, but Allison continued to periodically scream. It’s very difficult to listen to your child howl like an orphaned kitten and say your name over and over again as if you don’t care. At quarter after 4 I almost broke down and took her into bed with me. My logical side stood firm and reminded me that if I gave in I will still be sleeping in the same room with her this time next month, next year and who knows how much longer down the road. My emotional side got a more than a little indignant and reminded me that people who have promised that this process would only take a week are some of the same people who told me that one child never wakes up another. I stuck with logical. It’s not terribly productive to get emotional at 4:15am.

The last time I remember looking at the clock when I heard Allison cry it was sometime shortly after 4:30. I woke up on my own at 6 and willed myself to wake up again at 7 so that I wouldn’t be late for work. Allison, my trusty and ever faithful alarm clock woke me up at 7am on the dot. Emma, who couldn’t have gotten much more sleep than I did, was up and ready to leave on time as well. All in all, the night started out victorious, was filled with tragedy in the middle and ended up not too shabby.

I’m just trying to forget that we start all over again tonight…


Trista said...

Stay strong, baby! (And that means you, too, Danny!)

It WILL DEFINITELY be worth it when you're done. Just remember breaking Emma of the pacies - now aren't you glad you did it?

Just plan on it taking a month, and anything less than that will be a welcomed relief (I can't imagine it will take a full month). I'm crossing my fingers for you!!

the quists said...

Hi Jennifer! This is Tracy Q! I finally figured out how to get to your web page...I have been getting all caught up on my reading and it is nice to hear about what is going on in your family life! Your girls are so beautiful! I hope that the next nights go much smoother! I put your page in my favorites so I'll keep checking in on you. :) I had such a great time getting to see you again that weekend, I hope we really can do it again soon! Love ya!!!