I was so excited when I learned I was going to be a dad. But also a bit anxious; how in the world am I going to cope with the lack of sleep due to the baby’s crying at night. This was especially dire for me as I was prone to migraine headaches – which were triggered by lack of sleep. I also learned that my architect friend’s nine year old daughter still slept in the parent’s bed. Oh man, is that inconvenient!
I was lucky, when I attended a business seminar, to sit beside a dad that was a bit further down the path. He told me about The Big Cry. This technique is administered when your little toddler wants to sleep in Mom and Dad’s bed instead of the crib. Note the critical word – wants to; not needs to, as in he is teething or had a nightmare or an ear infection. That means a whole bunch of the crying is simply a desire, or preference – emphatically articulated. As we know, toddlers/kids/teenagers can be VERY persuasive (that is; demanding, persistent, annoying).
The Sirens, of ancient Greek mythology, were also very persuasive – to the extreme detriment of any man that could hear their voices. How did Odysseus pass by the Siren’s island and live to tell about it? He put beeswax in the men’s ears and tied himself to the ship’s mast until the danger was past.
When the time comes, you and your partner, like Odysseus, will need to bind yourselves together and swear an oath that no matter how loud or heinous or incessant the crying, you will not heed the call to the little tyke’s room. (convincing each other that’s it’s for his own good – and yours)
You implement the big cry on a Friday night because you need all your faculties during the work week. The first night’s torture lasts about two hours. The second night’s torment will be much shorter.
SURPRISE! Although many years ago now, we remember those big cry events and the dread of facing the consequences in the morning. But what did I find when I cautiously entered our son’s room at daylight; our little lad standing up in the crib with a smile that could light up Utah. “Hey Pops! What’s happening? How about you help me out and let’s do the day!”
The Big Lessons we learned from this:
- Kids won’t break because of the noise they make. In later years the cry may morph into tantrums, whining, pleading and complaining, as in “but all the other kids are doing it”.
- We, as parents, can muster our resolve and courage to do the right thing; to set forth and implement rules that are in the best interest of the kids and of the family.
- A little bit of discomfort is worth long periods of joy and satisfaction.