Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Monday, May 05, 2008

A different reason to cry

My little boy has just fallen asleep in his cot at last - it's taken well over an hour, and tears from him and tears from me.
As planned, we spent nearly a week of "introductions" until the big day on Friday when we brought him home, with it gradually dawning on us that not only was he about to spend the night with us, he was actually about to spend the next 16+ years with us.
I worried that in his new surroundings he may not sleep well. We brought the mattress and bedding, unwashed, from his foster home and put it in his cot here. We followed his evening routine to the letter, though of course his bath was our bath, not his usual, his surroundings entirely different. He had had plenty of time to play here, to eat here, to explore; he'd had naps here and seemed relaxed and 'at home' - but of course sleeping overnight was going to be the biggie.
We congratulated ourselves on an uneventful first night. I sang him to sleep as he lay on my tummy, his head on my chest. It was like a dream. He slept, just stirring with a whimper every hour or so. Because I sleep lightly I got up to check every time, covered him again with his blanket, but he didn't wake up till morning.
Second night, same thing.
Last night, I don't know quite what happened but he just seemed unable to relax physically. He showed every sign of wanting to sleep, he yawned, rubbed his eyes, but even when he did fall asleep he would waken himself by crying loudly in his sleep, still in my arms. Eventually he fell asleep in R's arms, we put him in his cot and he slept unusually peacefully all night.
Tonight, hoping to avoid the pattern from last night, R offered to put him down. Nope, Theo apparently just kept coming to the top stair gate and calling 'mama' until R gave up. So I tried. Pretty much everything.
I sang to him.
I rocked him.
I talked to him.
I undressed him and me and rocked him skin-to-skin.
I put him in his cot and stayed with him.
I put him in his cot and left him, though he cried. (Not recommended. This is the bit that made me cry. I cannot listen to a baby crying for me, when I could go to him. How do people do this?)
Eventually I put him in his cot and spoke firmly to him as he tried to play 'boo' with me, using his topsheet. I said "Goodnight, darling, see you in the morning" and left the room.
(He is so gorgeous). He fell asleep that time. But I feel that I don't know what I am doing.

R has 2 weeks paternity, and doesn't go back to work until 19 May, but I wonder what it will be like when he does go back. I am so tired.

He is, however, in spite of the above, the easiest, loveliest, most adorable child you could imagine.
He smiles and giggles and (mostly) eats anything. He dances to any music that comes on the radio, he looks like an angel. He is SO bright and learns so quickly.
We laugh that we fed him asparagus risotto.
He came to us with a collection of ghastly plastic toys with batteries, flashing lights and american accents (no offence, but we don't live in America). We are introducing him to nice middle-class wooden toys, and giving him loads of one-to-one.
Sometimes we play him classical music. He hears Pink Floyd and David Bowie. (Kooks - great song for our situation - look up the lyrics on google!)

I think I am doing this all wrong. I think I am trying too hard, and wearing us both out.

Please don't tell me to leave him to cry on his own in a room. I can't bear to think I would do that. I didn't wait all this time to become a mother to leave a baby to cry with no comfort and no love.

Very disjointed post.
I am in love with this child, he is completely incredible, he is more beautiful and clever and adorable than I would ever have imagined. But it is not a bed of roses. Who knew? (!)

Silly me.


  • I have followed your blog for over two years but I have never posted a comment before(on any blog!) but tonight I am sitting here with tears in my eyes and just wanted to say.... Congratulations on becoming a mother! Sending you much love and luck


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 pm  

  • This is so wonderful! Congratulations!

    By Anonymous annmarie, at 9:34 pm  

  • Congratulations! And no, you don't have to leave him to cry. Trust your instincts. He needs you now, but that doesn't mean you'll still be rocking him to sleep when he is 10. Enjoy him!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:40 pm  

  • You sound like you ARE doing very well, getting the hang of motherhood. Trust your heart!

    By Blogger beagle, at 12:51 am  

  • Oh I am so, so happy for you.
    But you do know that we all just make it up as we go along, right? And it often seems like things will work once or twice or for a limited period but then it's back to the drawing board. You just need to have confidence that you are flexible and caring enough to make it through to finding the next solution (however long it's good for).

    About the crying thing - I would not let him cry either - he has had such a huge change in his life it seems way too cruel to just leave him. On the positive side, you will soon understand his different cries and that should help. I have sometimes let my daughter cry herself to sleep but now it's only when her cry is basically saying "I'm exhausted, I'm exhausted" and then it only takes a minute or two of crying (sometimes less). But I still feel guilty about it - if you have any suggestions please pass them along as you are part of the club now.

    I think you did exactly what you should have with Theo. He will know that you are there for him and have a huge amount of patience (and love) for him. Of course you are tired but you know that comes with caring for small little people, right?

    Does he like books yet - perhaps some touch and feel ones?

    I am so, so happy for you and the bit of uncertainty in your post doesn't reduce that one iota because I have total faith in you. The only thing he really needs is to know that you love him and that takes time (and some sleepless nights).

    Hugs, DinoD (sorry for taking over your comments)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:23 am  

  • I got a great book out of the library when my mum was still bothering to ask for recommendations for my brother - it is called Raising Happy Children and is purple! - it has a variety of sleeping solutions which don't involve leaving children to cry. It seemed quite good for the non-standard/adoptive situation although obviously I have not used it myself!

    By Blogger DrSpouse, at 10:37 am  

  • Congratulations on finally bringing him home. I am so very happy for you. It sounds like you have been doing this his whole life. Just because they told you a schedule that he was supposedly on does not mean he did it that way every single night. So do what you feel is right for you and him. He is a little boy and will change up the routine whenever he feels like it. ;) Marjorie still changes up the routine every night. And she does that crying in her sleep thing and it kills me to hear it. I know you aren't supposed to pick them up but I do and tell her, "Momma is here" and give her a hug and she calms right down.

    You are doing great and it will get easier once you get used to him and he gets used to you. You all have gone through big changes over the past couple weeks so don't doubt what feels right to you.

    You know you always have us here in Blogland to give you advice or support or whatever you need whenever you need it. Keep up the good work Mommy!

    By Blogger Shinny, at 3:00 pm  

  • You changed your name to Country Chick? I love it. I am so so happy for you and R. I haven't commented in so long but I've followed your story all the way. Trust your instincts because they are right. They might not be right for other people but they are for you and your family. Never doubt them. Congratulations.

    By Blogger Portlairge, at 5:09 am  

  • Congratulations - I'm so pleased for you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:28 pm  

  • I'm a fellow adoptive mom.......I'm sure you are doing GREAT! And it will get easier!
    AND, I NEVER left mine to cry either! When you ache with empty arms for so long, why would you?! YOu don't have to!

    By Blogger Becky, at 2:18 pm  

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