Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The System

Until I realized just how boring it is to watch a bunch of horses run around a track, I was a handicapper. A bad handicapper. I couldn’t pick a winner in a one horse race.

(Okay, not all races are boring. This one is amazing.)

Everybody and their brother had a system for picking winners:

  • Horses dropping from a route to a sprint
  • Horses stretching from a sprint to a route
  • Class drops
  • Class jumps
  • Circle back patterns in the speed figures
  • Pairing speed figures
  • First time blinkers
  • Blinkers off

And on and on and on. You can’t get through the gate at Saratoga without five different young men hawking their tout. “I had five winners yesterday,” the eager fellow would say, waving his Xeroxed one-sheet in your face, “Two on top!”

But if any one of those systems worked, tracks wouldn’t still be in business.

And so it is with training your baby to sleep. There are myriad programs for getting your little one to sleep through the night by eight weeks, ten weeks, or twelve weeks; each rigid in its approach, each promising a miracle. But if any of these systems really worked, I have to believe that no parent would ever be sleep deprived. But guess what: We are. We really, really are

This is on my mind because the FTM and I just read Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old. It lays out a plan for weaning your baby off the middle of the night feedings, while setting up a schedule of afternoon maps. Truth is, there’s a lot of good information in the book. Unfortunately, the FTS can’t read.

What do you do when the book says the boy must be kept awake in between his last two feedings of the day, but the munchkin is sacked out like a solider after a weekend furlough? (If you’re a parent, you know the kind of sleep I mean; the “poke-him-in-the-eye-and-he-still-won’t-wake-up” kind of sleep.) Seriously, what do you do?

Dogma is anathema to me, so I’m kind of fighting the implementation of the rigid system. The kid should sleep when the kid wants to sleep, right? No, says the book. The “Twelve Hours by Twelve Weeks” system has worked 100 percent of the time! Uh-huh. The one thing I learned at the track: Never trust a sure thing.

So we’ll pick the parts of the book like best, give it a shot, and probably go on being sleep deprived. It can’t last forever. (Can it?)


Always Home and Uncool said...

The sleep issue ... it'll be over by, say, age 3.

Never trust baby books. That's why we have the Internet.

The FTF said...

ah&u -- I'm not sure which of your two comments made me laugh harder. Of course, the first comment made me cry, too.

EssBee said...

Listen to the book. Live the book. That book saved our proverbial minds, marriage, sanity. Never underestimate the importance of a good night's sleep. Yes, we've regimented our son's sleeping schedule (living schedule for that matter) like a couple of army sergeants, but it pays off big time in the "attaining peace at home and having a somewhat normal life".

Manager Mom said...

Yes. Yes it can last forever. Once the need for night feedings ends, the night wanderings begin. And even more fun...when they can walk, they can actually SCARE YOU from a dead sleep instead of just having you wake up to their crying.

I think the sole purpose of parenting books is to make their authors money. (and in that case, sign me up. I've got the Manager Mom Mothering Method just WAITING for a fat book advance to write).

And the side effect (unintended or intentional) is to make parents feel like failures.

JHS said...

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