Trial & Error: Tips & Advice for New Dads
A lot of fights between moms and dads early in a child's life center around one big topic: Sleeping in the bed between mom & dad. What's the right call? How old is too old? Does it negatively affect the relationship between mom & dad?
As a child I only remember two times sneaking into my parents' bedroom in the middle of the night. Once was because I had a nightmare. I still remember that night vividly (even though it's been 30 years). I had a nightmare and started the tip-toe walk to the other side of the mobile home so my parents wouldn't hear me coming and tell me to go back to bed. I saw a cockroach on the way, and I thought my nightmare was coming to life. I never made it to my parents' bed that night. Another time I made the trek to the other side of the house I wish I wouldn't have made it. I had a fake sheriff badge in my shorts pocket and it popped my parents' waterbed. That was officially the last time I slept in bed with my parents.
Fast forward 20 years to my first child. I know that everyone tells you that you shouldn't always acknowledge a crying baby. You're supposed to just let them cry it out and go back to bed. Our problem is that we lived in Alaska. It was July, which meant two things. First, the windows to our condo were wide open because there aren't too many houses with A/C in Alaska. Secondly, 20 hours of daylight everyday makes it difficult to fall asleep to begin with. I didn't want to be the condo with the crying baby screaming for an hour when the neighbors had trouble falling asleep to begin with. So, we created a monster. That monster is now 10 years old, and he still sleeps on our floor once or twice (or seven) times a week.
I was hell-bent on making sure child number two didn't go down this same path. From an early age I took the advice given to me and just let Logan cry it out. The only problem? Logan is a lot more stubborn than me. I caved, usually after 45 minutes. I'd try the swing. I'd try the crib. I'd try the bassinet. Nothing worked. I'd been beaten. Again. But for different reasons. I actually tried this time. Not all was lost, however, because of my two boys he's more willing to sleep in his own bed than his older brother. He's even the child that will actually sleep through a thunderstorm.
I'm proof that it doesn't matter what technique you attempt to use... you'll fail. That's what being a parent is being all about... failing, and then judging other parents that come after you for their failures. It's the American Parenting way. Anybody that tells you their child(ren) slept through the night from an early age are lying. Either that or they need to be punched in the throat for having a better child than you. I'm ok with either.