Cry It Out: Who's Suffering More?

by Erin Margolin
Originally Published: 

Cry It Out, or CIO as some parents call it, is not a fun way to spend a Saturday night. Or any other night, for that matter.

I’m no stranger to the CIO phenomenon, as I somehow managed to survive it with our twins a few years ago. I didn’t think I’d ever have to do it again, but then I had that surprise miracle baby in 2011.

Well, last night I got schooled all over again, a refresher course since someone must’ve decided I was a little rusty. For anyone who’s not yet had the pleasure of this experience, you can live vicariously through me and my account of last night…

Look at clock to log official start time: 2:39 a.m. This becomes very important later on. Flop back onto pillow and tell yourself sweet little lies like, “I could just fall back to sleep if I put this pillow over my head.” Nevermind that the screaming is so loud that you can still hear it underneath said pillow and your denial.

After ten minutes of carrying on, get up to pee. May as well empty the old bladder since clearly sleeping is not in the cards. Maybe she’ll even stop while I’m sitting here on the — DAMN IT! Fall into toilet (husband left seat up) and my ass has been contaminated by sitting on his urine dribbles. Ewww.

Crawl back into bed, take a deep breath, and convince myself that she cannot keep this up forever. She’s wearing herself out. Smile smugly. #winning

At approximately 2:59 a.m., get up again, pad down the hall to make sure other children are still asleep. Stand outside CIO kid’s door. Debate going in to make sure there’s not a REAL reason she’s hysterical. Real reasons include: blowout diaper, vomiting, limb stuck in crib rails. Unacceptable reasons (but by no means is this list exhaustive) include: whining for a drink of water; wanting another stuffed animal; being unable to locate a particular lovey due to the overwhelming crowding issues already in the crib; claiming to be poopy when in fact, one is NOT poopy. Determine that going in will only exacerbate the issue and since she keeps saying, “THIRSTY!” as if she’s been staggering around in the desert for twelve days, there’s not a true need to go in. Head back to bed.

While tossing and turning, decide I may have some heartburn. Go downstairs in search of Tums. Might as well grab my cell phone to take back upstairs and catch up on Words With Friends since sleeping is not a viable option. Manage to score some serious points despite severe exhaustion and the darkness and the irritability setting in.

Husband is snoring loudly. Feeling resentful of his sleeping through this nonsense. Kick him in the shins maybe a tad harder than necessary.

Mini poodle is whimpering through a doggie dream and doing some excessive snoring of his own. Nudge him. Envy his easy life. Why can’t I just be a dog?

Keep checking the time. How much longer can this shit last? Isn’t she TIRED? God knows I am! WTF?!

When the clock flips to 3:39 a.m. (a full hour of CIO, which is why it’s super important to note the start time!), fling back the covers, stomp out of bed and race to her room. Throw the door open and hiss, “WHAT IS GOING ON?”

Tearstained cheeks and snot dripping, she waves her stuffed Olivia the pig at me. Olivia is naked. “Olivia? Dress? Dress on? Help, Mommy?” Sniffles. Bedhead. More dramatic sniffles. Rakes her little arm across her face to catch the drips.

Seriously? THIS is why you’ve been acting a fool for the last SIXTY MINUTES?! Because you stripped your doll and you can’t put her clothes back on?

I snatch the pig and the stupid red dress out of her hands. I stand there for a minute arguing with myself internally; if I get the pig dressed again, I may actually snag some shut-eye. And if I don’t? I risk another hour (or more) of bullshit crying.

No contest.

In 13 seconds, Olivia is stuffed back into her dinky sailor suit, and my kid happily snuggles into the corner of her crib, sighing contentedly.

Wearily I return to my room. I heave myself into bed for what I’m hoping is the last time until morning. And what feels like the fortieth time.

Oh wait, it is morning.

And it takes me at least another 1/2 hour to unwind and relax enough (in the sweet, newfound silence) to fall back to sleep myself.

Related post: How To Ensure That Your Children Become The Worst Possible Sleepers, Ever, In The History Of The World

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