Monday, May 4, 2009

Tossing everything out, trousers included

Sonny has been basically unable to function without at least one adult in the immediate vicinity: The little fella goes into hysterics if left in a confined space and almost always has someone with him, whether at home or at the child care centre. The other day, therefore, Mum - following the strictures from our trusty 'What to Expect' parenting guide - began a programme to teach Sonny some independence.

The idea was that we would deposit him in his cot with fulsome 'Goodnight's and 'Sleep tight's, then vanish for five minutes before reappearing to reassure the little fella that he wasn't being abandoned to the ogres under the bed. We would then reappear after ten minutes, then 15 minutes and so forth until he fell asleep on his own. But Sonny didn't waste any time behaving like an insane rabbit once placed in the cot. Even before we had left the room, he was hopping and yawling and pumping out tears with that vacuum pump he must have hidden away somewhere.

Five minutes later, with his shrieks echoing through our little apartment, we ventured into the bedroom again - to find that Sonny had not only tossed one of his soft toys over the side of the cot, but had managed to strip off his pajama bottoms and hurl them over as well. Here was a mystery! As far as we could tell, the crazy kid - who was standing in exactly the same posture as five minutes ago (his face a picture of rage) - had managed to either calmly sit down for a spell to take off his trousers, or do so upright - a feat even adults might have trouble achieving.

Anyway, we replaced the toy, jammed the pajamas back onto the intransigent little one and then escaped. The screaming followed us. To keep a long story short, over the next one and a half hours, we would return on schedule, find ever more things tossed overboard (pillow, blanket, soft toys, trousers) and Sonny determined to outlast us. In the end, figuring that we had tortured him enough for one day, we rescued him.

Ah, but that's not quite the end of the story. The next day, we recommenced the treatment. Again, there was screaming and howling - but after 40 minutes, silence flooded our condo. We snuck in - and Sonny was soundly asleep still in a sitting position. We straightened him out and tip-toed away in satisfaction. Which is to say that this cruel-sounding technique seems to work. Something tells us that the little fella was perhaps just plain tuckered out from all the yelling, but we'll test out the regimen again soon to see if his newfound 'independence' has taken hold.

Just hope the decibel levels haven't already sparked multiple complaints by our neighbours...


Nona Nita said...

With my first, I rocked him to sleep until he was too big for me to hold in the rocking chair. I couldn't stand to hear him cry. Then he would creep in at night and finally we put a sleeping bag on the floor near the bed so we could get some sleep. With my second I put my foot down (four years of no sleep can do that to you) and I stuck it out with a method similar to the one you are describing. She got used to it after about a week or so and never gave us half the night time problems of the other one. She's 29 now and married. No harm done. Good Luck!

Cloudsters said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Nona Nita. FOUR years of interrupted sleep? We're ramping up the "Snooze on your own, kiddo" programme!