Thursday, June 23, 2005

"The Sleep [Non]Sense Program" V. The I Ching

Yesterday Night

11:43 p.m.: Wake up next to Clara, who's sleeping peacefully in my bed with me. David is out at a fundraiser for his non-profit Spacetaker.org at Dean's Credit Clothing. Dean's is a bar, and the fundraiser features a fashion show where models strut down a makeshift runway, wearing stylish and skimpy fashions from Erotic Cabaret Boutique. The suggested donation for the evening is $10.00 at the door, meaning it's not exactly a fundraiser. It's a party where some funds might be raised.

11:45 p.m.: Get up and go to kitchen for a drink of water. Spy plastic baggie containing chocolate brownie cookies purchased last Saturday at the Farmer's Market. Decide I HAVE to get rid of these cookies so that I stop consuming them. Solve problem by eating what remains of them. Wash them down with two glasses of really cold Vanilla soymilk. The Dessert Lady, who homemakes these wicked-good cookies among others, sticks computer lables with the printed ingredients on her $5 baggies. The surprising ingredient in the chocolate brownie cookies is coffee. Remember this when I'm back in bed, tossing and turning and tossing and turning, trying not to roll over onto Clara.

3:23 a.m.: Curse the chocolate brownie cookies. Look at Clara, who's sleeping but waving her arms up and down in a "Danger, danger Will Robinson" way. Wonder what she's dreaming about. Consider the I Ching and praise Confucious for leaving the human race with such a wise, useful book.

* * *

The other night, I decided that it was time for Clara to "learn how to fall asleep on her own," which is what the blasted "Sleep Sense Program" promised would happen, or else I'd get my money back. David agreed to go ahead with the plan: we would put her in her crib -- awake! this is important (?) -- and wait a predetermined amount of time before entering her room to help her 1) stop crying and 2) get back to work on putting herself to sleep. And cry she would, no doubt about it. We were just gonna have to deal with that.

David and I determined that we'd leave her alone for no more than three minutes at a time before returning to try and calm Clara. Clara cried for 2 hours: inconsolable, hyperventilating, and choking on her own saliva. Finally, I stopped leaving the room and just lay down on the floor next to her crib, praying to the BVM to help me stay strong.

The next night when I went to put Clara in her bed after her "bedtime routine," where I repeated the "key phrase" night-night time often while bathing, massaging, dressing, singing to and nursing her, she started wailing immediately, freaking out about being anywhere near her crib.

That was the end of that. "The Sleep [Non]Sense Program" was damaging my baby. I picked Clara up (a big NO NO in the "Sleep [Non]Sense Program") and held her and danced with her, nursed her, played her some Bob Dylan -- "To Make You Feel My Love" -- and then put her in the swing, where she slept soundly from 7:45 until 12:30 a.m.

The next day, I felt as if I were the worst mother in the world: not only had I failed to teach my four month old to soothe herself and fall asleep on her own, but also I had traumatized her and made her afraid of her crib and the world in general.

My own mother tried to console me by telling me that, yes, it was hard, but that once Clara learned to fall asleep on her own, it would be better for both of us. Then she told me that the child she let cry the longest in the crib was Marco, my brother who seven years ago nearly died at dawn on a lawn in Oxnard, CA from a speedball injection.

Her consolation was no prize, let's just say.

I know Rome wasn't built in a day and all that. I know that if I want Clara to learn to sleep on her own, I have to be CONSISTENT. Consistency is the mother of all intervention. I have to put her down the next night in her crib and let her cry and cry until she realizes that going to bed without Mommy is not so bad and she starts cooing to her stuffed animal and giggling herself to sleep.

But, we don't live in Rome; we live in Houston, TX, which requires an enormous amount of effort to weather, and therefore an enormous amount of comfort to compensate for the horribleness that is a Houston Summer. Clara is a baby, and I'm going to baby my baby. She can learn to fall asleep on her own later.

Which brings me to the I Ching. The I Ching, otherwise known as the Book of Changes, has saved my ass in the past 15 years. This book has the ability to connect me with that subconsicous part of myself that refuses to come out of hiding unless I'm asleep or drunk.

The way the I Ching works: Ask a question -- an open ended question -- while tossing three pennies six times. Each toss results in a static or changing line in the hexagram you're building. Keep your question in mind the whole time you're tossing the coins and building the hexagram. After you have your hexagram (mine for this question was #52 -- Keeping Still), consult the oracle inside the book for the answer to your question.

So I did. I asked the question: "How can I be the best mother to Clara in the wake of the trauma I may have caused her with the Sleep [Non]Sense Program?" The answer, as you will see, could not have been more specific:

"If you feel any hesitation as you are just beginning something [the sleep [non]sense program], trust in your doubts and change your direction. Trust any feelings of your first judgements as a kind of reverse beginner's luck. Careful: your reaction to second thoughts should be a shift in direction, not a reversal, not a pulling back. The impetus for your direction remains valid and you do not fulfill an impetus by quelling it" (The I Ching: A New Interpretation for Modern Times, by Sam Reifler).

Bingo!

I DO understand that learning how to fall asleep on one's own is important. My impetus to help Clara do that is valiant (says the sleep-deprived-insomniac mother). However, the Sleep [Non]Sense Program is not the way. I want my money back.

For now, the "shift in direction" is to let Clara have more room in the king-size bed I share with David and her. That way, her flailing arms won't wake me as often. I hope that this will work while I figure out how to get her to love her crib and giggle herself to sleep.

22 comments:

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Borzinca said...

Hi Christa.
Interesting blog. Just what I needed. I am surfing to figure out what is this Sleep Sense program is about. I figured that it is a form of cry it out. I am not brave enough to go into that. Plus I am undecided if it is the right way or not. I think that it works for a lot of people, but I am not sure about the price they pay. Maybe nothing, maybe their baby's trust, or maybe their trust is lost for now, but they will forget sortly. I don't know. I have never tried (for good reason). Plus I am chicken. Plus I LOVE to sleep with my baby, and everyone sleeps well in our family. I think I am just not inspired enough to do this cry it out. If it is not broken why to fix it? I don't think I will buy this program. I like the "No-cry sleep solution". Helped us to get my baby to sleep faster, plus to put her on some kind of schedule.
Thanks. You have saved my day and my money :-).

momma0225 said...

Hi Christa,

I searched google for sleep sense, too, trying to figure out what it was about and I came across your blog. Very funny, and thanks for the info on sleep sense and convincing me NOT to buy it. From their site, I couldn't tell what method they used and sure enough, it's crying it out! Isn't there anyone out there with a real program that works that is NOT crying it out?!? I know the "No Cry Sleep Solution" is supposed to do that, but it didn't work for us...Oh well, back to the drawing board! Thanks again for the post!

angelinasol said...

Ditto to the other Mamas above. I was hesitant and now I know why. It's mothers that need babies to learn to fall asleep on their own, in my opinion. I just got "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Pantley. It seems like it has a lot of the same advice but without the one very traumatizing one CRYING! She offers no guarantee, and says it will take a long time, but it worked for her and hundreds of test parents...AND SHE KEPT COSLEEPING AND BREASTFEEDING!!!!

Kim said...

I love what you wrote! I feel like you spoke to my heart. Thanks for saying what I needed to hear!

Natalie said...

I bought The Sleep Sense Program and if you read it does NOT tell you to let your baby cry it out. And you CAN pick up your baby. I suggest you read it again and you have to be committed to any type of routine for it become a habit. Two days is not going to hack it. My almost 3 month old cried off an on for an hour the second night, but after picking him up and soothing him and trying it again and again, he put himself to sleep and we plan to try it out for at least two weeks. If it does not work we will get our money back.

Kelly said...

Thanks so much for your entry. I was intrigued by the Sleep Sense stuff too, and googled it, thus landing me here. We are co-sleeping with our 12 month old triplets, but having difficulty with naps. As I figured, this book is just more CIO clap-trap. Thanks for the reality check!

KrisAndJon.com said...

From one sleep-deprived-insomniac mother to another, thank you for your post on the Sleep Sense Program. I read the e-book and tried it for the past two nights... it's basically the cry-it-out approach. I think I'm just as traumatized as my son! We both spent HOURS crying (not sleeping) and today he is clinging to me for dear life when I taken him near the crib. We're back to co-sleeping, which I love, but my husband is fighting it now that our son is becoming more mobile. Well, best of luck to you. I will return to your blog to see how things are working out!

johan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
johan said...

My husband and I were getting no sleep (like all parents of newborns) and we found The Sleep Sense Program and loved how it gave us MANY options! It took us 2 weeks of dedication and relaxing routine to get to the point where our son would sleep 10-12 hours every night and take two naps every day. We are so thankful for such a wonderful program that lets you decide when and what to do if your baby cries when you put him down. The routine gives us and our son time to bond and relax together at the end of the day...which is taught in many parenting magazines and articles. Well worth the money and pretty much saved our marriage! YOU CAN'T PUT A PRICE ON SANITY! SLEEP is PRICELESS for you and your child.

Juliette said...

Folks, the truth is that when ANYTHING in our lives that is routine, or what we are accustomed to, changes - there will be anxiety! Babies cry....it's what they do to communicate being displeased. Once you have formed that all important bond based on TRUST in the first few weeks (where you tend to every motion or noise) there is NOTHING in your life EVER that can alter that or make your child unsure of that...It is proven human nature. So (much like many things you are about to face as a parent) bite the bullet and support your child while you help them learn the skills they need. In more than 15 years as a Kindergarten teacher, my biggest concern EVERY year, were those one or two parents who felt the need to hover so closely that their child could not grow. When your child is learning to swim, do you drop them in and walk away (cry-it-out)? Do you swim for them and refrain them from learning how (co-sleeping)? NO. You teach them to swim by supporting them and making them feel safe - BUT LETTING THEM KNOW they can do it!!!!! Sorry to those I offend, but TRUST ME....I work with 60 plus families per year - the most challenging child to teach self-efficacy to - is the child of parent who co-everything. If you want to co-sleep - go ahead. But make darn sure your child can survive for 5 minutes without you.

Juliette said...

Folks, the truth is that when ANYTHING in our lives that is routine, or what we are accustomed to, changes - there will be anxiety! Babies cry....it's what they do to communicate being displeased. Once you have formed that all important bond based on TRUST in the first few weeks (where you tend to every motion or noise) there is NOTHING in your life EVER that can alter that or make your child unsure of that...It is proven human nature. So (much like many things you are about to face as a parent) bite the bullet and support your child while you help them learn the skills they need. In more than 15 years as a Kindergarten teacher, my biggest concern EVERY year, were those one or two parents who felt the need to hover so closely that their child could not grow. When your child is learning to swim, do you drop them in and walk away (cry-it-out)? Do you swim for them and refrain them from learning how (co-sleeping)? NO. You teach them to swim by supporting them and making them feel safe - BUT LETTING THEM KNOW they can do it!!!!! Sorry to those I offend, but TRUST ME....I work with 60 plus families per year - the most challenging child to teach self-efficacy to - is the child of parent who co-everything. If you want to co-sleep - go ahead. But make darn sure your child can survive for 5 minutes without you.

Juliette said...

Folks, the truth is that when ANYTHING in our lives that is routine, or what we are accustomed to, changes - there will be anxiety! Babies cry....it's what they do to communicate being displeased. Once you have formed that all important bond based on TRUST in the first few weeks (where you tend to every motion or noise) there is NOTHING in your life EVER that can alter that or make your child unsure of that...It is proven human nature. So (much like many things you are about to face as a parent) bite the bullet and support your child while you help them learn the skills they need. In more than 15 years as a Kindergarten teacher, my biggest concern EVERY year, were those one or two parents who felt the need to hover so closely that their child could not grow. When your child is learning to swim, do you drop them in and walk away (cry-it-out)? Do you swim for them and refrain them from learning how (co-sleeping)? NO. You teach them to swim by supporting them and making them feel safe - BUT LETTING THEM KNOW they can do it!!!!! Sorry to those I offend, but TRUST ME....I work with 60 plus families per year - the most challenging child to teach self-efficacy to - is the child of parent who co-everything. If you want to co-sleep - go ahead. But make darn sure your child can survive for 5 minutes without you.

Juliette said...

Folks, the truth is that when ANYTHING in our lives that is routine, or what we are accustomed to, changes - there will be anxiety! Babies cry....it's what they do to communicate being displeased. Once you have formed that all important bond based on TRUST in the first few weeks (where you tend to every motion or noise) there is NOTHING in your life EVER that can alter that or make your child unsure of that...It is proven human nature. So (much like many things you are about to face as a parent) bite the bullet and support your child while you help them learn the skills they need. In more than 15 years as a Kindergarten teacher, my biggest concern EVERY year, were those one or two parents who felt the need to hover so closely that their child could not grow. When your child is learning to swim, do you drop them in and walk away (cry-it-out)? Do you swim for them and refrain them from learning how (co-sleeping)? NO. You teach them to swim by supporting them and making them feel safe - BUT LETTING THEM KNOW they can do it!!!!! Sorry to those I offend, but TRUST ME....I work with 60 plus families per year - the most challenging child to teach self-efficacy to - is the child of parent who co-everything. If you want to co-sleep - go ahead. But make darn sure your child can survive for 5 minutes without you.

Juliette said...

Folks, the truth is that when ANYTHING in our lives that is routine, or what we are accustomed to, changes - there will be anxiety! Babies cry....it's what they do to communicate being displeased. Once you have formed that all important bond based on TRUST in the first few weeks (where you tend to every motion or noise) there is NOTHING in your life EVER that can alter that or make your child unsure of that...It is proven human nature. So (much like many things you are about to face as a parent) bite the bullet and support your child while you help them learn the skills they need. In more than 15 years as a Kindergarten teacher, my biggest concern EVERY year, were those one or two parents who felt the need to hover so closely that their child could not grow. When your child is learning to swim, do you drop them in and walk away (cry-it-out)? Do you swim for them and refrain them from learning how (co-sleeping)? NO. You teach them to swim by supporting them and making them feel safe - BUT LETTING THEM KNOW they can do it!!!!! Sorry to those I offend, but TRUST ME....I work with 60 plus families per year - the most challenging child to teach self-efficacy to - is the child of parent who co-everything. If you want to co-sleep - go ahead. But make darn sure your child can survive for 5 minutes without you.

Juliette said...

Folks, the truth is that when ANYTHING in our lives that is routine, or what we are accustomed to, changes - there will be anxiety! Babies cry....it's what they do to communicate being displeased. Once you have formed that all important bond based on TRUST in the first few weeks (where you tend to every motion or noise) there is NOTHING in your life EVER that can alter that or make your child unsure of that...It is proven human nature. So (much like many things you are about to face as a parent) bite the bullet and support your child while you help them learn the skills they need. In more than 15 years as a Kindergarten teacher, my biggest concern EVERY year, were those one or two parents who felt the need to hover so closely that their child could not grow. When your child is learning to swim, do you drop them in and walk away (cry-it-out)? Do you swim for them and refrain them from learning how (co-sleeping)? NO. You teach them to swim by supporting them and making them feel safe - BUT LETTING THEM KNOW they can do it!!!!! Sorry to those I offend, but TRUST ME....I work with 60 plus families per year - the most challenging child to teach self-efficacy to - is the child of parent who co-everything. If you want to co-sleep - go ahead. But make darn sure your child can survive for 5 minutes without you.

Juliette said...

Folks, the truth is that when ANYTHING in our lives that is routine, or what we are accustomed to, changes - there will be anxiety! Babies cry....it's what they do to communicate being displeased. Once you have formed that all important bond based on TRUST in the first few weeks (where you tend to every motion or noise) there is NOTHING in your life EVER that can alter that or make your child unsure of that...It is proven human nature. So (much like many things you are about to face as a parent) bite the bullet and support your child while you help them learn the skills they need. In more than 15 years as a Kindergarten teacher, my biggest concern EVERY year, were those one or two parents who felt the need to hover so closely that their child could not grow. When your child is learning to swim, do you drop them in and walk away (cry-it-out)? Do you swim for them and refrain them from learning how (co-sleeping)? NO. You teach them to swim by supporting them and making them feel safe - BUT LETTING THEM KNOW they can do it!!!!! Sorry to those I offend, but TRUST ME....I work with 60 plus families per year - the most challenging child to teach self-efficacy to - is the child of parent who co-everything. If you want to co-sleep - go ahead. But make darn sure your child can survive for 5 minutes without you.

Marlene said...

To Juliette: First of all, I co-sleep because it makes things easier for me, its a matter of been practical, I nurse my baby in bed and he goes right back to sleep, I too fall asleep as he is nursing, we both get a better sleep that way. It keeps me from getting up constantly during the night. It is not for over protection reasons. The other thing I am going to tell you is no matter how many families you have worked with, on a subject like this only first hand experience counts, do you have any kids ???? I think it is audacious how many single or married w/o kids people find it so easy to tell parents what to do.

For the blog owner: I just wanted to thank you for this post, I can't believe I almost paid $50 for someone to tell me to let my baby cry himself to sleep! Any old lady could have given me that advice for free! No thanks!

Joseph said...

Hi Crista, Wow, 3 1/2 years after you write, I'm looking at how to help my 10 week old sleep. Thanks for your experience, I had been looking for some comments on sleep sense, and generally do not like the "cry it out" programs. I consider these new souls to be the most honest things on our planet, and if they're crying, there is a reason for it. There are times and ways for them to learn to help themselves, but this young is not it. I know there will be times for them to cry, but there are rational limits. I had not heard of I Ching in a long time. I may just buy a book of it for my wife. It must always be a gift, you know. Joe in Austin

nina said...

Hi,
I am in the same boat. My daughter is now 9 months..and waking a lot at night. I waited until last month when we moved house and she had a room of her own before trying anything. Well I did try The No Cry sleep Solution(there are a few tips I intend to use). Letting her Cry it out feels wrong. I started taking the approach of staying in her room and consoling her until eventually she falls asleep. I had to stop after a week as we went away for Christmas but now I am starting again. It was working. We had the 'routine' before etc. and every night, she went to sleep easier and she was very happy during the day. I still took her in to my bed at a certain time with the belief that after about 3 weeks, she will have learned to sleep on her own.
What I want to know is ; is there anything else to the Sleep (NON) Sense Program apart from this approach as I am tempted?

Paul said...

Sorry, but for those who think that Sleep Sense is just controlled crying, you are missing the whole point. The program has been a life saver for us and numerous friends. I suggest you read the book properly and then try again.