Night 2 (Tuesday, October 17th, 2017)
Bedtime: 6:00 pm
Asleep: 7:50 pm
Total Scream Time: 1 hr 50 mins
We decide against cancelling the babysitter Friday night. We decide it’s also my turn. And I’m nervous.
One of the many reasons we’re embarking on Project STDN is because I haven’t been able to put Frog to bed in about a month. I know. I know. That sounds bad, right? Mothers should just be able to do this. Like, if I can’t put him to bed, that must mean I’m completely inept. But it’s the truth. I haven’t been able to put Frog to bed at night post Hurricane Harvey. Because bedtime became physical. Too physical. A wrestling match of me against my eight/nine-month-old son. And Frog fights dirty (shocking, I know). Frog would squirm, buck, flail, grab, bite, claw and flip himself in my arms over and over again, to the point where I was concerned he was going to get hurt because I couldn’t control him. So Sean took over. He would calmly return Frog back to the correct position–on his side, nestled into Sean’s chest–and shoo me, The Observer sitting in the extra chair, out of the room. I wasn’t required; a perfect chance for me to have some time to myself.
So, back to Night 2. We go upstairs. I sit with Frog in the recliner and read him two stories (Sophie’s Pop-up Peak-a-Boo and Where is Baby’s Belly Button? in case you were wondering). The stories go well. I’m good at stories. Then, I turn off the reading lamp and feed him two ounces of formula. His eyes become heavy. And I place the empty bottle on the side table and wait until he’s Stage 2 drowsy (eyes almost closed & still) and not just Stage 1 drowsy (eyes droopy). But Stage 2 drowsy doesn’t happen.
At first, Frog feels out his opponent (me, obviously). He tries a couple of tentative squirms and I gently move him back into the correct, side-facing position. Then a buck. Then a squirm and a buck. And then a full-frontal assault, complete with a flying arm slap that lands squarely on the tip of my nose and causes Sean, now The Observer in the extra chair, to jump to the front of the chair, his eyes stretched-up in horror and his hands covering his mouth. And I look at him with pleading, help-me eyes. He nods his head and tries to assure me I’m doing well, literally trying to coach me through the whole event. But I realize, it’s been a while.
“What time is it?” I mouth.
“What?” Sean whispers.
“C. I need to get C. from volleyball practice.”
“Don’t worry,” Sean says. “Give it five more minutes. You are almost there,” he says encouragingly, referring to a now wide-awake Frog pawing at my chin. No. I am not almost there. I am tired. I am frustrated. I am looking for an out.
“This isn’t working,” I hiss. “I’m putting him down and leaving.”
“Ok.” So, I plop Frog down in the crib and leave. He is hysterical when Sean and I close the door.
Sometime after 7:50…
“That went well,” Sean says. I look at him, searchingly. “You know,” he continues, “I know you’ve had some difficulties in the past, but you had some success there, right?” He nods at me and I worry about the state of his short-term memory.
Night 3 (Wednesday, October 18th, 2017)
Bedtime: 6:00 pm
Asleep: 6:54 pm
Total Scream Time: 54 minutes
Things to do when you are trying to ignore Frog screaming:
Process eye contact rebates on the iPad
Pretend to engage in conversation with E., especially about how school went
Pretend not to notice that E. realizes you are distracted and tries harder to get your attention
Consider cleaning the cat box
Decide not to clean the cat box
Post about Frog’s screaming on Instagram
Freak out about your post on Instagram because you’re sure someone’s going to think you are abusing your child
Second-guess every decision you’ve ever made, especially the color of your office wall (street-sign green, in case you were wondering)
Decide this crying it out is too hard and that you’re getting Frog out of his room right now
Remember what Sean said about how if we go get him now, then all his screaming and suffering really is unnecessary
Check Instagram to make sure no one thinks you’re a child abuser
Repeat (except the rebate part).
Psst! Do you want more Frog in your life? No problem!
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