My Big Fat Cry It Out Fail

Family BedI have friends who have done various forms of crying it out, and cried it out themselves. Me? I never managed, which is why I’m now doing the swore-I-never-would family bed, with either myself or my husband often hightailing it to the futon halfway through the night.

I did, however, accidentally cry it out with Penelope when she was about a year old, though: she was having a terrible time getting to sleep, and shrieking in my arms for over an hour. I finally just thought, “I need a break” and put her down for long enough for me to pee and step out on the back deck for a breath of fresh air.

By the time I had stepped inside, the apartment was silent, and I peeked into her room to find her fast asleep in the crib where she had just been shrieking. Oh. She needed me to put her down! This is why each kid needs to come with an FAQ, but that’s another story.

Last night, I tried the same tactic with Abby. Like I said, each kid -- different rules.


I’ve recently transitioned Abby from the co-sleeper (actually, my bed, next to the co-sleeper) to the crib, with moderate success. I generally nurse and rock her to sleep in the girls’ room, put her in the crib, and get up to nurse her at about 5 a.m. At that point, I can usually get her back to sleep, but sometimes only by lying down next to her. Here, I’ll draw you a pie chart:

Sleep Pie Graph

I’ll admit, I’d happily still have her in my bed if I could. I only moved Penny into her co-sleeper because she started sweatily pushing me away in the wee small hours of the morning, and only moved her from co-sleeper to crib because she stopped fitting in the damn thing. But the self-same Penny has begun nightly stumbling walks from her big-girl bed into our bigger-people bed, and let me tell you, queen our size of bed was made for, she wasn’t 6’4” like my husband. Four is too many. And since Abby is the only one who hasn’t tried sleeping on her own, she gets the crib for now.

Last night she started wailing at about 4 a.m. I sat up and listened, and then thought, meh, she doesn’t sound all that distressed. I wonder if she’ll go back to sleep if I wait. My husband peered at me from below his pillow, and I gave him a reassuring nod as I checked the clock and resolved to wait 10 minutes.

Well before my deadline, Abby was silent, and I thought, “Success!” Then I thought, “I have to pee!” Followed immediately by, “Well, as long as I’m up, I can just peek in there!”

I pushed the door slightly open and there, in the dim glow of the SpongeBob night-light, I saw Abby -- not lying down and asleep, but sitting up, and gazing around the room in silence. I crossed the room in two silent leaps and had my arms around her before I could even draw another breath, and she gave a relieved sob as she snuggled into my arms and fell back to sleep. And woke up, and nursed, and fell back to sleep again. And woke up, and stared at me with one of those thoughtful, incomprehensible expressions, eyes dark and deep enough to fall into for miles, and fell asleep again.

And as I curled myself around her under the pink faux-fur blanket of Penelope’s toddler bed, I thought, "Oh. I’m a sap. I’m a sucker. I’m sunk." So Abby, if you get to college and you still need a stuffed animal yet to be determined to fall asleep, I’m sorry. It’s just that you were so delicious, and the bed was right there.

Did you do a version of CIO and torture yourself in the process? Did it work for one kid, but not the other?

Pie graph courtesy of NCES Kid Zone

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