There are few things in life that can fill you with more self-doubt than becoming a parent. Even the most confident people in the world can find themselves reduced to blithering paranoid idiots the moment they are faced with the prospect of raising a child. There are just so many decisions, so many tough choices to make. And it doesn't help one bit that everyone seems to have an opinion, a piece of advice that they are so willing to share, because the things that worked like magic for them may very well spell instant disaster for your own children. There is no instruction manual, no magic formula, no definite black and white rules when it comes to raising your children. Instead, you just have to try to do the very best you can.
Cadence has never been a great sleeper. She'll have a few really great nights where she goes down easy and sleeps through, but more often we deal with her not wanting to go down easily, and then waking up during the night and not wanting to go back to bed. She is such a light sleeper that we either have to be playing white noise or soft music in her bedroom so that she isn't awakened by even the slightest of sounds, and it's a regular magic act trying to get her into her crib after she's fallen asleep in our arms.
We've tried several different things to try and improve her sleeping habits, but so far, nothing has been able to provide a consistent solution. It's not that she hates her room or her crib. In fact, she will sometimes spend up to an hour playing happily in her crib by herself after she's awakened from her afternoon nap. The issue really just seems to be that she fights naptime and bedtime because she doesn't want to be away from the action and miss anything. I just wish there was some way to explain to our toddler that there is really not anything interesting going on while she's sleeping. With Steven and I, it's usually one of three things--we're either working, hanging out and watching some TV, or sleeping. Really, that's about as exciting as it gets.
Tonight after dinner, a bath, a bottle and some hanging out time with Mom and Dad, I took Cadence in her room to rock for a bit, and then put her down in her crib, told her "Night night. Momma loves you," and left the room. She protested loudly, as if she could not believe that I had the audacity to break the usual routine of rocking her to sleep, ever so carefully placing her in her crib, then tiptoing out of the room and easing the door closed without waking her.
In the living room, Steven and I listened as the decibel levels rose steadily. Had the baby monitor suddenly started to emit black smoke and crumble to a pile of charred plastic, I would not have been surprised. My daughter comes from a very long line of headstrong women, and tonight she proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that she certainly inherited those genes. It took nearly three hours of crying, comforting, placing her back in her crib, telling her "Night night", changing her diaper, rubbing her back and wiping her tears, but Cadence finally laid down on her own, gave a deep sigh and fell asleep.
Tonight's 365 Project entry is dedicated to my stubborn little girl. Here's hoping that we all get a good night's sleep, and that someday, perhaps when you have your own children, you will realize how much harder those three hours were for your Momma than they were for you.