...also known as, how many glasses of wine does it take before the sound of my child crying doesn't make me clench up and huddle in a fetal position on the couch?
The answer? About 2.5.
So, we went up to Portland to visit some friends last weekend, and after witnessing how (relatively) docilely their 18-month-old son went to bed at 7:30 each night, we decided the Chicklette's whole "hey, maybe I'll go to bed at 8, or maybe I'll go to bed at 11:30" thing wasn't really doing it for us anymore. It's not that she's not a good sleeper -- she almost always sleeps through until 7:00, no matter what time she does down -- it's just that the fact that my husband and I haven't gone to bed at the same time in 8 months is starting to take a toll on our marriage. And the unpredictability is sort of terrifying to me.
I read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems at the end of my pregnancy, but I'll be damned if I remembered ANYTHING except some vague concepts of "crying" and "extinction." Sounds fun, no? I mean, philosophically we've always been on board with the concept of "crying it out," (please don't hate on me -- I know it's not for everyone) but the mechanics have always sort of eluded me. And frankly, who the hell wants to hear their kid cry? It's like, hey, can I please have an extra pelvic exam?
So. We did a little research, talked to some other friends, and decided last night was the night to put her down and let 'er rip. We'd do our little routine (dinner, bath, some quiet play time, then into the nursery for a bottle and in the crib soon after that), and go cry it out ourselves in the family room for a while. I put her in her crib at 8:58 (a little later than ideal, but hey, baby steps), sort of asleep. She started crying at 9:04. And kept crying. At about 9:21, I started to lose my will. My husband restrained me, and we turned on an episode of Top Chef. At 9:27, we noticed that she was no longer crying. Sleepy baby. Aaahhh.
She was happy this morning, so not scarred for life (at least not yet). So, all in all, not bad. We'll try again tonight, a little earlier. But the feeling of triumph at 9:27 was pretty awesome. We put our baby to bed!
(Oh, and by the way, the sleep section in Baby 411 suggests parents who are waiting for their kids to cry it out to try "making love with earplugs" to pass the time. Apparently I am 12 because I begin snickering uncontrollably every time I think about it. Making love! With earplugs!)