Over the first days of Passover, I developed the most evil, insidious intestinal flu/bug/virus/horribleness known to humankind and most of it is a blur in my mind. I'm still recovering from it. Monday, my nanny told me that her brother-in-law finally awoke from his coma from the car accident that killed her sister. Consequently, she needed to go to Toronto immediately. Of course, no problem, no argument from me. Two hours later, she left to catch a plane. Thank heavens for those two hours, though. Then this morning (Tuesday) Seth left for Florida at, like, 5am. Honestly, I don't know whether to threaten divorce or not. What do you think, is that a threat, or an offer he can't refuse?
So here I am, four kids, no nanny, no husband, intestinal flu, and my golly it feels like all I do is feed babies all. day. long. Is this what my nanny does all day? Does it take less time to feed a baby a bottle? Actually, it turns out, it takes CONSIDERABLY less time to feed a baby a bottle than to nurse a baby. No WONDER M seems to have more time with the babies than me. How exactly is this fair? It's getting harder and harder to nurse two at a time, because they push and shove each other, so it seems that by the time I'm finished feeding all three babies, it's time to start over again.
Which leads me to my original point.
This evening I had fed all the babies and had about an hour's reprieve when no one needed to be fed. I got J fed, threw some laundry in the washer, played with the babies, etc. Then Ellie started to cry. Since she'd been first in the previous round of feedings and since she nearly never cries, I figured she must be hungry. I picked her up and I said, "Ellie-Belly are you hungry, sweetpea?" And she looked at me, opened up her little mouth, leaned forward... and latched onto my nose and started sucking. I took this as a yes.
So there I was laying down in bed with her nursing her, and J was watching "Walking with Dinosaurs" next to me. When, unsurprisingly, Sam started crying. Because really, if one baby is being fed, and it's not him, a great injustice is clearly being done in the world. And as his cries grew more desperate, Abby joined in the chorus. The wails grew so desperate that I began to wonder if they would simply "cry it out." I couldn't leave poor, desperate Ellie. She was so hungry and, after all, she had asked so nicely if she could please have dinner. She deserved to have a meal uninterrupted. And really, how long could Sam and Abby wail, right?
Little did I know. I had forgotten that the only one of my babies that has any patience whatsoever is Ellie. And that the only one of my babies who has ever stopped crying and fallen right to sleep is Ellie. And that the only baby who isn't persistent is... you guessed it, Ellie. Not only that, but the few times that Ellie has cried and fallen asleep before I can get to her, I've felt unbelievably guilty for not getting to her in time. I can't handle that kind of guilt. Crying it out is not for the faint of heart. Poor Ellie didn't like all the screaming either, apparently, because the screaming kept distracting her. So eventually, I put her down in her crib and picked up Sam and Abby. And because I knew they were terribly desperate and wouldn't possibly wait another single, solitary second, I gave them both bottles. And they calmed down. And then I picked up my poor, sleeping Ellie, and let her finish eating and then put her back to sleep too.
And everyone was in bed, asleep, by 6:30, just like normal. The only abnormal part about it is that normally I have an extra pair of hands at bedtime so no one has to cry while waiting for attention or food. So normally no one has to cry even for a little while, but tonight, Sam and Abby discovered how wonderful it is that they normally don't have to "cry it out." I honestly don't know how other parents do it, becuase I'm fairly certain that Sam could cry for hours without crying it out.
Maybe other babies aren't built like Sam? Maybe most babies are more like Ellie, who doesn't cry much, and will generally quiet right down unless something really IS wrong? In any event, I'm not opposed to letting the babies cry sometimes. Heaven knows, I can't answer their every whimper at the first sound of distress... I've got three babies to attend to and I can't be everywhere at once. But I definitely can't understand how I could possibly let them "cry it out" on purpose. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding the method. Because I'm telling you, if I hadn't eventually picked him up and fed him, Sam would STILL be crying right now, four hours later. No joke!
EDIT: I was in no way suggesting that what I was doing was letting them cry it out for sleep purposes. Nor was I seeking sleep-training advice. What I was saying was that I had no choice under those particular circumstances but to let Sam and Abby cry for a bit and it was UNbearable. Therefore, I cannot imagine how I could possibly deal with a cry it out method for sleep training if I were to do that. Fortunately, I haven't needed to... my kids GO to sleep relatively easily. No, they don't all sleep through the night, but I'm not bothered by it. Ellie sleeps through the night. Abby wakes up once, but after about 8-9 hours of sleep, so while it's the middle of MY night, it's practically a full night's sleep for HER. And Sam wakes up at least a couple times to eat, but goes right back to sleep. This is not uncommon for breastfed babies and I'm not the least bit concerned about it. True, some breastfed babies can be trained to skip nighttime feedings, but I have no desire to train him out of them - since I'm working, I already miss out on feeding him through much of the day. I have no problem feeding him through the night.