Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Parenting in non-parallel time

The trouble with being an ER doctor's wife is that our lives do not operate in parallel time.

I'm sitting on the couch waiting for him to wake up at 11 p.m. so I can go to sleep after talking to Justin about buying a BOB for $200 from some lady in Irvine. (Here are the pictures she sent me:)

I could go to sleep now, but if I wait one more hour I will actually sleep, rather than tossing and turning while I watch the clock, afraid I will fall asleep and miss my chance to have a conversation.

I imagine that a wife of a partner with a normal work schedule would have had this conversation before 8:27 p.m.--the moment in which I sent an e-mail to the Craigslist seller of the BOB Revolution Stroller Strides Stroller saying I wanted to buy her stroller.

Instead, I have been making parenting decisions via facebook for most of the night.

It's how I get by, when Justin is working or sleeping and I need to get through an experience as the only adult in the room--especially when it is too late to call my mom.

Take for instance, sleep training.

Ella used to like falling asleep lying swaddled on a pillow next to me. When she finally fell asleep, I would carefully carry her to her crib, praying that I could lower her to the mattress without waking her.

One night, she was fussing next to me and it was getting later and later, and I was desperately tired.

I realized that I could either let her fuss, finally fall asleep, wake up on the way to the crib, and then start all over again, or I could start sleep training.

I took a deep breath and chose to sleep train.

Knowing that the key to sleep training is the ability for the child to comfort herself, I also had to teach her to sleep unswaddled.

So, for the first time in our lives, I put her down in just her pajamas with her pacifier and nothing else in the crib, told her I loved her and left the room.

The crying began.

On the other side of her door, which means in our living room, I began pacing. Then I turned to my facebook account. My friends-who-have-been-there saved me from myself. (I wish I could go back on facebook and find the posts.) They told me it was hard for them, too, the first night. They told me that it was the only way to go. They told me they weren't "in that camp", but that they wished me luck. They told me my doctor was right--that I had to let her cry. They told me they would find a different doctor. A friend whose kids I know feel secure and loved and safe told me she did it and that helped me to know that I could do it, too.

Ella fell asleep after almost an hour of crying. (Later, friends told me I got off lucky.)

As my friend with the happy kids told me, it took three nights and she has slept well ever since--except when she had a cold and when she was teething. I'm afraid I'll jinx it, blogging about it so late at night, but she sleeps through the night! And she still loves me.

So tonight, when I needed to ask someone if $200 was a good buy for a BOB, I turned to facebook.

I gained encouragement, a reminder that it is a lot of money for a stroller and a reminder that it is a good deal. (They sell for $439 + tax new.)

So now, I feel more sure of my decision to make the purchase; I just want to talk to my husband about it first.

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