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the crib sheet

practice what I preach

Brooke Nalle

If you let your child cry for 40 minutes and then pick them up, you have taught said child to cry for at least 40 minutes at anytime ... sleep fact, like set in stone, 10 Commandment-esque sleep fact.

It sounds so good when I say it.  It makes so much sense.  I bring up the pigeon intermittent reinforcement scenario too - another great visual, pigeons freaking out when sometimes they get food, sometimes they don't.  You then picture your child/baby like a pigeon waiting for food - they got it yesterday, but not tonight?

It all comes down to consistency.  I know that I can get behind consistency.  I use it in my work; I use it in my personal life.  My middle child knows that not eating dinner means no dessert ... ever.  I am really good about being consistent in this regard.  

Meet Loewy.  She is, as we like to call her, the good one.  She asks to go to sleep, she cleans up, she eats her meals, her snacks, finds fun in errands with mommy, tolerates babysitters, brother's baseball games, sister's playdates.  Everything was going swimmingly, until Loewy met the ipad.

I purchased the ipad for work.  Yes, that's right federal and state government.  I use it for work.  First I have to wipe the smudges up and clean the screen before I can share with clients the 5 factors that keep babies from sleeping well.   It all goes back to when Loewy met Elmo, and then she met the ipad, and then I read a great NYTimes article about great apps for kids.  

So now, Loewy meets Elmo, she meets the ipad, she meets Elmo on the ipad ... and here is where we have our problem.

My sweet Loewy used to wake up, calling softly, "Mommy, I miss you."  How sweet is that?  Now, however, she wakes up and calls, "Mommy, ipad."  Not as sweet.  

Here is where the problem of consistency or rather inconsistency gets started: Sunday morning = ok to use the ipad, Monday morning = not ok to use the ipad, Wednesday? Mommy's very sleepy, = ok to use the ipad.  How does Loewy react?  Like that pigeon!  I have trained her to freak out - a crazy, pigeon-esque freak out, because she knows that somehow, some way, she will eventually get it.

Ok, I know, this is so my fault, and truly inexusable.  I am like a dermatologist who frequents a tanning bed.  It is high time I practice what I preach.  

We started this weekend (so unfair, I was really tired).  Morning 1 - lots of cyring, whining, finally ok with books, moring 2 - lots of crying and whining, chucked books at cat, hit Daddy (nicely played), morning 3?  Not as bad, we read Marvin K. Mooney and Dinosaur Train, and then it was time to get up anyway.  I am gearing up for morning 4; the books are ready.  The ipad will be charging ... far away.