Bewildered parents, bewildered baby

Ben and I agree on most things, parenting-wise, but the few disagreements are truly hard. 

This morning’s disagreement: what to do when it’s 4am and your baby thinks it’s time to get up? My answer: soothe her back to sleep. Do not, under any circumstances, encourage her delusion that it’s morning. Don’t turn on lights, don’t put on clothes, don’t let her run around, don’t start playing with her, don’t commence any morning routines, really, really, don’t. Please don’t.

I have to specify each of those things-not-to-do because Ben has done each of them around 4am. (“But I needed the lights on to change her diaper!”) He thinks he’s soothing her to sleep, but actually he’s encouraging her delusion that it’s morning.

In my view, pretty much all a parent can do at 4am is hug her, sing a lullaby, rock in a rocking chair, or leave her alone. She can play alone in her crib until 6am. She’ll probably fall back asleep before then, but even if she doesn’t, even if she spends all that time chatting to her teddy-bear, that’s fine. I really see no room for debate. I am not getting my baby up until 6am.  

Ben thinks that if she’s awake, we should let her get up. And so he got her up this morning. To his credit, he played with her until 6am (mostly – she still ran to my bedside to wake me every twenty minutes or so. Finally I got up to take a shower, right before 6). Then at 6, Ben bolted, not even saying goodbye. I heard a door slam and a baby cry, and I went rushing out of the shower, dripping wet, to find Sophie alone at the door, bewildered and chilly and tired.

It doesn’t help that all three of us are sick right now. 

It took a lot of bubble-blowing to get Sophie happy again (which then got her back to sleep, from 7 to 8:30).

I don’t know what it will take to get Ben & me happy again. More than bubbles, I think.


2 responses to “Bewildered parents, bewildered baby

  1. amysilverman

    are you sure you’re not writing about MY household? i have a big rule about not getting up before it’s time — ray feels otherwise — and all i can say is, stick to it. it’s made sophie and annabelle (at 5 and 7) darn good sleepers. at least, i like to think that’s what it is….

  2. Tracy

    It’s just as dark at 4am in California, right? What would Ben do if it were 2am? I would soothe her to sleep the same way you would if it were 2am. I tell my kids that it’s the middle of the night, go back to sleep, even if it’s 5:30 am because they can’t tell time. If this keeps happening, you may want to keep her up later, or cut down on her nap time. Meghan stopped napping only very recently (at 3 and 1/2) but Finn is already skipping naps several days a week (at 20 months). He usually wakes up around 7am regardless, but will go to bed earlier if he hasn’t napped. Meghan sleeps 10 hours exactly. If she goes to bed at nine, she wakes up a seven. If she napped late and can’t fall asleep until 11, she sleeps until 9. I don’t want her to go to bed any earlier because neither Brian nor I want her up at 6am or earlier. I guess every kid is different. By the time you have this problem solved her sleep patterns will change again!

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