Saturday, May 22, 2010

Habits are easy to adopt but hard to break

What am I talking about? What we view as bad habits and dependencies seem easy to acquire but are so hard to break. As you know, for the past few weeks we have been standing in Tristan's room until he pretty much falls asleep. We didn't think it was so bad since we didn't have to do anything but just stand there by the door. Sometimes we found ourselves standing for 20 minutes though. We thought it was going to be temporary but it's been going long enough that we feel he is developing a new dependency over it. We actually weren't going to do anything about it because we're going away soon and everything is going to be messed up anyway. After talking about it some more we decided we should since there still is a couple more weeks before we leave. This is so bad. We are usually very cautious about these things. It's completely our fault for allowing it to happen for this long. Now, to break the dependency we have to go back to some sleep training. Sadly, yes :( Tonight was the first night.

Some of you who may not be familiar with our sleep patterns in the past may wonder what is so terrible about just standing in the room. I mean we all sleep through the night still and get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Plus, when Tristan wakes up at night, he puts himself to sleep almost right away. It seems like just getting Tristan to sleep initially is the only problem, which is sort of strange. Am I annoying you yet? ;) As far as I know, he sleeps fine at daycare so nothing has changed there. It's worst there too because they all cry it out in the same room, whether you like it or not. Okay, so here is why we see it as a problem. It takes longer for Tristan to fall asleep because he is paranoid and checks on us every so often to make sure one of us is still there. We can't just go up, put him down, and walk away immediately, which is what we have been doing pretty much for the past year. I agree this is not a big dependency but compared to what we were used to it feels like it is and it could lead to something worst in the long term.

Still not convinced why we feel a need to solve this problem? Like I said earlier, we're very cautious people. We are also very strict. We were careful not to let Tristan suck on the pacifier too much and although we did depend on it for awhile, he just stopped using it without anyone noticing. We didn't have to wean him from it. We encourage him to play on his own and as a result, he doesn't constantly cling to us and want us to hold him all the time. He can also play happily on his own in the playpen. We allowed and helped him to eat on his own at an early age so now that is what he wants to do. We had him sleep in his crib since day 1 but we did let him sleep with us for an hour here and there when it got so frustrating in the first month or when he was sick. When we did sleep with him we felt tremendous guilt and was so scared that a bad habit was going to form. We don't have a TV and we won't allow him to watch it at daycare either until he is at least 2 years old. Same with sweets. He can't have cakes, cookies, candy etc. until his second birthday. The sweetest things he eats is fruit and vegetables. We will likely let him try cake at his next birthday but he will only have a thin sliver. When he tries chocolate for the first time, it will likely be dark chocolate with at least 72% cocoa. He doesn't drink anything but water and milk. Do you get the picture yet? We're very strict and independent ourselves.

So word of warning for those who have sleep trained their babies, don't cave into anything for too long and be consistent all the time. A few weeks of disturbance like this and we're back to sleep training.


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