Last night I put Maxine to sleep, then Horyon and I argued about it.
I sat in her room, next to her crib, and listened to her cry for about 20 minutes. Periodically she stood up, so I picked her up and laid her back down. Three or four times, I guess. Finally her crying dropped off to sniffling, then to just heavy breathing, then she slept. Horyon thought that I had been holding her, so she didn't object.
Before Horyon and I went to sleep, we talked about my strategy:
"How can you just let her cry like that? Don't you want to pick her up?"
"Sure I do. But she needs to learn to sleep without being held."
"That's so cold. In Korean families we always hold or touch the baby to put her to sleep. Usually right next to the parents."
"Fine, if you sleep in the same bed. Maxine sleeps in a different room, and it is a bad habit for her to always fall asleep in our arms. She needs to learn to sleep by herself."
"You Westerners are so obsessed with independence. Sometimes you take it too far. Look at me, I always slept in the same bed with my parents, and I turned out all right."
"I was raised to sleep alone, and I turned out all right too."
"No you didn't."
Ah, nothing like a good laugh to lighten up a heavy conversation. Horyon wasn't really mad at me, but this was our first major departure in policy for some time.
The rift was starting to close by 2 a.m. For some reason we were both awake, and Maxine wasn't. The conversation was much shorter:
"Has she woken up yet?"
At six, when Horyon woke up to go to work, I woke up too.
"How many times did Maxine wake up last night?"
"Not at all." (just a brief note: Horyon spent 9 months in England a couple of years before she met me, and she picked up a smidgen of British pronunciation. "Not at all" is one of her specialties, and it is cute enough to die for.)
"Not at all". For the past month or two, Maxine has not been able to sleep through the night. On a good night, she wakes up just once. We haven't had a good night in a long time. Two or three times is more usual, and just in the past week we had a night or two where she woke up every hour or so. It's had some impact on me, but Horyon's the one who takes it hard. When I get up and try to take care of Maxine, she just keeps on crying. It takes that something special a mother has to calm her down.
I guess I should say it takes those special somethings. Ah, I remember fondly the time when I thought that breasts were mostly for amusement. Now I see that they are, in fact, for putting babies to sleep. And who can blame them? I mean, once you settle down with...
I'm sorry. This is supposed to be a family oriented post, and I was straying a bit off the path there. I trust that you will forgive me and continue reading.
And so, this evening, Horyon put Maxine to sleep using her traditional ways. Tomorrow (if I am on the ball and get my grading done) I will let you know whether the change in methodology has contributed to the improved sleeping schedule or whether I was just lucky.
p.s. Love that baby.