Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Civil Disobedience and Crying It Out

"The Green Fist of Justice!"

I'm not sure how he has gotten hold of it, but LO seems to have been reading some seditious literature lately. He has learned the basic tenets of both non-violent protest and the regime-crumbling tactics of civil disobedience. Last night, when I told the child that it was time to go to sleep, he pointed his finger at me and accused me of believing The Man's propaganda. (He doesn't seem to understand that I am The Man).

In the past couple of months, LO has started to understand that interesting things seem to happen 24 hours a day, but he is expected to sleep through approximately 12 to 14 hours of those interesting things. This would not stand. He began with small objections to The Man's insistence on nap time. He showed off his newly-aquired skill of standing whenever Mama lay down with him--and despite J's record of falling asleep literally on his feet--the victorious and sure-footed pose guarantees that the young man will not slumber. He employed the back arch of defiance when a power-mad parent attempted to place him in a swing to soothe him gently to sleep. He took a page from U.S. military strategy and tried to depose his dictators with the use of repeated and eardrum piercing noise. J and I are proud to say that none of this has worked to dissuade us from making him take a nap more than 75% of the time. We have wills of steel.

What we have noticed, however, is that while LO is objecting loudly to our insistence that he will feel better after a nap, he is not in any way crying. He is able to issue screams that have our neighbors wondering what fresh hell we are inflicting upon our little dissident, but his eyes remain dry and sadness-free.

So J and I have bit the bullet and started letting the young man cry it out. I don't really have the stomach for this method of sleep training, as it seems really cruel to ignore the only method of communication open to the young man. However, now that he seems to understand that I'm a soft touch and can't stand to hear his cries, LO is twisting public opinion toward his plight and attempting to circumvent the will of The Man. (The best rebels have a keen understanding of how to garner sympathy for their causes). But we have hardened our hearts and insisted that the young man cry until he falls asleep. And it takes less time for him to fall quiet and asleep with each nap.

I'm starting to understand the theory behind crying it out. We must direct all of that rebellious energy somewhere. Right now, we're letting it explode harmlessly around the child whenever we put him in the swing or pack-n-play. Should we allow him to keep hold of that energy, who knows when it could detonate and take out innocent bystanders in public. The green fist of justice (you wouldn't like him when he's angry) is expended only against The Man (that is, his parents) and not against all of Indiana. That seems reasonable.

I do want to find a decent pair of noise-cancelling headphones, however.

1 comment:

  1. Loving the irony that I'm trying to get Avery to nap while reading this. For 30 minutes he valiantly fought against my rocking him to sleep until l finally I gave in and nursed him. Guess my boy is still beating "the man"!