Your Own Two Feet

by Byron on December 21, 2012

Decker,

At some point in the hospital, I realized I wasn’t going to able to breathe for you.  There was a lot I could for you, but I could only do so much.  Some of it was already in your hands.  Much of it was in God’s or fate’s or life’s.

Tonight was the first night we tried to put you to sleep in your own crib on your own.  We didn’t really have a plan.  We had, of course, heard repeatedly that we were supposed to “let him cry.”  There are, however, conflicting reports about exactly how long this crying is supposed to be allowed to go on.  Some say two minutes, some say two hours.  The difference between those two, for me, is like the difference between getting poked on the arm and getting waterboarded.

You cried for a half an hour.  It was brutal.  I went in to talk to you, hovering over your crib.  I told you it was all good.  No problema.  Daddy’s here.  I put my hand on your stomach.  I stayed awhile.  You drifted off to sleep.  I stayed another five minutes.  I tiptoed out of the darkness, only flooding bright light through the doorway momentarily.  I heard no stir.  I lightly but triumphantly walked down the stairs.  How good am I?  I smiled at your Mom.  I looked at the monitor and your peaceful face.

“WAAAHHHHH!”

fuuuccckkkkkkk!

So I held you.  Then rocked you.  Then fed you.  Then sort of tried again.  Then went in and out of your room for twenty minutes.  And just when I was starting to question the whole point of everything, you went to sleep.  And stayed asleep in your crib for three hours before waking up to eat.

But it must happen.  It must be done.  You must learn how to put yourself to sleep.  God willing, you’ll be doing it for quite a long time.  Might as well learn to do it now.  And going to sleep, just like many things in life, is real hard at first.  A little scary, a little lonely, a little bit like a different planet where only Decker exists.  But same as you gotta do it, I gotta let you do it.

How much hurt is okay?  How much pain is normal?  How much suffering builds us up before the suffering that starts to break us down?  Not to get too philosophical about your beet-red screaming little face, but these are the questions.  And how much do I shield you from and how much do you have to experience for yourself?

When your Mom and I were growing up, no authority figure could tell either of us much of anything.  So, I think your Mom and I are probably likely to let you experience a lot for yourself.  Well, I was certain of that until tonight.  It’s harder than advertised.

Sleep well baby boy.  I’m downstairs staring at you on a little screen.

Dad

 

 

 

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