Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Ferber Method or I HATE YOU DAD!!!

Freddy is healthy, he's in the 90th percentile for height and is finally getting some serious baby chub. He is not however, going to sleep very well and apparently it's all our fault. The nighttime ritual has been: bath, change into pj's, I hold him in my arms for about 20 minutes until he falls asleep then put him in the crib whereupon he wakes up inside of 30 seconds. Repeat the last two steps until he finally goes down. It's been taking about 45 minutes to put him to sleep, but then he'll sneeze, startle himself and it starts all over again.

So now we're going to try the Ferber method where we start off with him in the crib awake, settle him in and then leave. When he cries, wait three minutes, go in for two, then wait five minutes, go in for two then wait seven minutes etc. etc. The point is that eventually he'll figure out how to put himself to sleep. It sounds pretty easy but it's amazingly hard on your nerves. I'm currently trying to put him down for his morning nap and he's screaming his head off and writing this post in the now 7 minute intervals. Last night it took an hour and fifteen minutes to get him to sleep and then another hour after we went to bed. It's supposed to take about seven days. Seven long, long days.


Anonymous said...

Be strong. We went on vacation in July w/ friends who have a baby--he was 8 months at the time--and they taught him to put himself to sleep from the start. He is a great sleeper now and at night and naps he babbles to himself for a while and then drifts off. It's a really important skill!

Lee said...

Hola Frank,

Josh’s mom here.

First, forgive my butting in.

Second, Freddy's current sleep pattern is so not any bad on either you or Laura.

Third, fuck Ferber and books about how to be a good parent.

You and Laura are first-time parents. I am sure that the love you feel for Freddy is like no other you’ve ever experienced and I completely understand your desire to do things the “right way.” But here’s a dirty little secret…there is no “right way” to be a parent. Perhaps you might consider the following:

Freddy is Freddy. He doesn’t fit into a box. He is a human being.

When you think about it, that’s a daunting responsibility.

From my perspective, being a parent means trying to understand what is best for your child rather doing something because the “how-to-raise-your-baby-expert-de'jour” says this is good parenting or because you want to feel that Freddy is “up to par” when you talk with other parents.

Perhaps you could approach the current situation as “Freddy cries because he can’t talk” rather he needs to be “trained” to “comfort” himself to go to sleep.

There are no pat answers. I confess that when Josh and Brie were babies, I scooped them up everytime they cried. I admit struggling with decisions I had to make as they grew older. And all along I questioned if I was doing the right thing for them.

Food/shelter/clothing…these are easy to take care of. The psychological and emotional development of an amazingly, wonderful human being…that’s fucking scary.


TeddyFrank said...

Hey Lee,
We're trying avoid at all costs becoming those parents that rely on books and experts for the "right" way to parent. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that each pregnancy/birth/child etc. is completely different. Freddy is Freddy, and we shall adjust accordingly.

That said, the little man fights sleep like crazy and without a schedule and set nap times. He had yet to learn how to fall asleep outside of our arms. Laura and I were just "on" 27/7. After a bit of screaming, the little man went DOWN last night and slept for a record 8 hours. I would credit Freddy's almost immediate improvement mostly to Laura for setting up a sleep schedule and to a very lesser extent to Ferber who really just gave us a framework to get him to sleep on his own.

As for the use of "experts" it's a tough balance one has to reach. Each pregnancy, birth and baby are completely different, everyone knows that but somehow it doesn't stop everyone from relatives to the checkout women at Target from giving their own two cents. With a dizzying array of internet chat rooms and semi quakery out there, I listen to the various opinions, I've come up with some guidelines.

1. If it's norms your looking for, check either "Baby 411" (great parenting reference guide) or the internet.

2. If it's baby advice, look to friends with babies or relatives you respect.

3. If it's for anything at all big, my yardstick is: talk is cheap, if they can't be sued or have their license taken away for what they tell you to do, give it a big grain of salt.

You're absolutely right Lee, the real fucking scary stuff is the emotional and psychological upbringing of a human being that we are responsible for.

Josh Koenig said...

Beaten to the blog by my moms. Oh man.

You gotta go with your gut. If you get the sense that Fredo needs some structure and a little nudge to learn to sleep w/o being held by mom or dad, then you have to take your lumps and watch him struggle. The fact that it tears you up means you're good parents.

Just wait until he starts dating.