Saturday, March 29, 2008

Self-soothing

To unwind, I usually pick up a book or turn on the T.V. When stress levels are high, however, I kick it up a notch. I do one of three things:

1.) Write. I enjoy writing. It either takes my mind off of what is bothering me, or it helps me organize my thoughts and make sense of my problems. But you already know that about me…

2.) Clean. Again, it gives me something to do so that I won’t stress. Organizing my belongings somehow makes my brain feel organized, too. When I lose something, I always go on a mad crazy cleaning spree. This has yet to yield up my scriptures or my wallet, but our house has been in fine form this week.

3.) Bathe. Nothing calms me down like a hot bath. And when I say “hot” I mean volcanic. I have an extreme tolerance for heat and can poach myself for a good hour before my organs feel hard-boiled.

Last night, Ryan and I made the decision to let Kiana “cry it out.” She has some pretty patchy sleeping habits and her inability to fall asleep makes her miserable. She’s three months old and the time has come for her to learn to fall asleep on her own.

For any parent, the “crying it out” process is wrought with guilt and emotion—which is why (understandably) many parents don’t choose that route. When we let Douglas cry for the first time, Ryan and I both sat outside his room and cried ourselves. We had to remind ourselves that we were helping, not hurting, our child. Sure enough, Doug’s sleeping habits and temperament immediately flip-flopped and he has been sleeping through the night ever since.

But Kiana is our little princess. Somehow, it seemed a little more difficult to leave the “Sweetheart” to her tears.

I turned on the water and shampooed my hair to the background noise of Kiana crying. While her pleas made me feel upset, somehow the scalding water drowned out the extreme stress of the situation.

As I shaved my legs, I wrote a few paragraphs of my book in my head. The words floating and arranging themselves in my head left little room for the sound of a forsaken baby. I felt calm.

And by the time I got out of the bath Kiana, was already sleeping like an angel. I didn’t even have to pull out the vacuum to make myself feel better about the situation.

It only occurs to me now that as I was self-soothing, I was also giving Kiana the tools to do so herself. A well-rested baby is a happy baby.

Hopefully, one night will be all it takes to teach her to sleep. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and keep you updated.

How do you self-soothe?

8 comments:

Shauni said...

Oh Bethany this is SO HARD!!! And I feel so much the same way- we finally got through those first really painful nights of letting Anna "cry it out" and then she became a great sleeper (still 13 hours a night!) But with James, on the other hand, I just can't do it. When he's so perfect and happy and sweet during the day and never cries unless he's hurt, it BREAKS MY HEART to wait even a moment before running to him. We are so much more relaxed with him- we better not have anymore kids or the last one will walk all over us. Not that the first doesn't either, I guess.

DeWald Family said...

When things get hard, I think that chocolate is my natural instinct... although perhaps shopping comes a close second. I never realized that I was such a girl!

On a more serious note, my self soothing is most often talking. It is really good that I married a very patient man. He is always willing to listen. And listen, and listen and listen.

I rarely actually want him to respond much, or really actually use his opinion, not that I don't respect it. I just need to work through it, and talk it out. I think it is kind of like your writing, something about the process of organizing my thoughts enough to share them with someone else...

And on the sleeping note, the cry it out worked like a charm with both Jonathan and Nicholas. It was hard on us. I am sure that it was double hard on Dion because he had to listen to the baby cry and me prattle on!

Chris and Tara Mason said...

What a cute sleeping baby she is! I totally know what you mean about how awful it is to let them cry it out. I really believe that it is one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. I agree with Chris - it must be more difficult for our sweet hubbies than it is for us because they have to deal with stressed-out wives and crying babies!

Blake and Meg said...

We are inspired to let Molly cry it out tonight. I'll have to tell you how it goes!!

PS: I love volcanic baths too and it was hard cooling them down when I was preggo.

Brandon and Diana Bronson Family Blog said...

Good for you Bethany. I was really good about letting my girls cry it out, but Levi has been totally spoiled from the start. I tried though I promise! Then, after I walked in to check on him after he had been crying for over an hour, and found him standing up leaning against the railing half asleep, half whimpering still, it broke my heart. I have been way to easy going with him, and I have totally paid for it. He still doesn't sleep thorugh the night and he is 2 and a half!

Kristy said...

I think I self-soothe with sugar--cookies are best. Your soothing habits are much healthier!

Bethany said...

i don't even know how i'm going to do it when i have my own kids! ;) ...the other night we were awaken by our neighbor's screaming baby, and i said, "so case, want to have kids?" scary thought! hahaha. to self-soothe, i eat. OR, if I can be disciplined enough, i'll turn on some piano music and pull out a good book. :)

Rachel Evans said...

Oh I am so proud of you! I too have been brought to tears by the tears of my new little one. It is so hard to know when it is time to let them cry through the night. Zander is eating less and less during his night feedings, so I think that the time is approaching, but I am not sure if I am ready. I send my love and support! Good Luck!