Hope is six months old.
I adore her. We all do. She is the princess of the family.
But Hope doesn't sleep. In fact, none of my babies have slept on their own. I always, without exception, have to teach them.
"Both my babies slept all night from the time they were born," a friend told me the other day. A friend always tells me that when I complain about my non compliant infant. And while I am sincerely glad for them, it has never happened for me.
Time for Baby Boot Camp.
Don't worry. BBC isn't as bad as it sounds. In fact, though I came up with the name, my pediatrician from way back when Ben (16) was a non complier is the one who enlightened me.
Is he cooing and laughing? she asked. Check.
Sitting up a little? Check.
Reaching for objects? Check.
How does he sleep?
I told the truth: He doesn't.
"Let me tell you how to fix that," she said.
You mean you can fix it? I answered. Ben was my 4th, and I hadn't slept in ten years--since my first one had arrived.
"It will take three nights," she began, advising me to start with the same ritual every night which sends a signal, she said, that it is time to go to sleep. (I've been singing Jesus Loves Me in the rocker ever since.) She then advised me to lay him down while he was still awake and leave the room. "It will take three nights of crying," she said, warning me that if I pick him up on the second or third night, I would lose whatever ground I had gained.
Within a few days, I tried it. Not to say it was easy--it was hard to let him cry. I would go in every ten minutes or so and give him the pacifier (I've used a paci with all of mine). "But don't pat him and whatever you do, don't pick him up," the doctor had ordered. The first night it took an hour or so. The second about half an hour, and the third night just a few fussy minutes. I was amazed.
That was sixteen years and six kids ago and it has worked every time. Occasionally I have had it take longer than three nights, but sometime after five months old but before they begin to pull up and yell, "Mama!" I hold Baby Boot Camp. It has to be some of the best advice a pediatrician has ever given me, and I pass it on whenever I can.
So now that Hope is six months old (I can seldom do it before six months), it is her turn very soon. I dread it. (I always dread it), but I do begin to feel human again after the baby is sleeping all night.
And with six other kids at home, I think everyone in our house would agree it is about time I rejoined the human race.
Hope at six months--
even a princess has to report to BBC.