Yes folks, she has taken her first steps!! It is unbelievable the thrill you can get from watching a baby take her first steps. I wish that I could of captured the look of excitement and pride on her chubby little face in that split second that she stumbled towards me. It was a thing of absolute beauty. Let me tell you just how it happened. It was a beautiful day when we got home from daycare and work so I decided to walk Ainsley down to the mailbox. Usually Clif gets the mail, but any excuse to be outside on a day like today. So, I took her hands and walked backwards and kind of pulled her towards me. When I got to the curb, I let go of her hands and voila, one foot came up and she lunged forward. I know that you are all saying "Jaime, that's not really walking, that's more like falling." Whatever, I was still excited...but what was more exciting was when she took 2-3 little shuffles 10 minutes later on the deck while Clif was watching. I was all excited about the one step, fall routine so I instructed Clif to watch and stood her up on the deck, backed up then said "Come to mommy Ainsley." And she did! She picked up her little left foot, stomped it twice, then step, step, fall. So she has officially walked...I don't think she'll be following me around the grocery store or running laps with Gatsby in the back yard anytime soon, but it's a start. We tried to get it on video camera, but she wasn't really interested in doing it again, so we have a couple of the step, falls which after I look at, I may post. Hopefully we'll get some good footage of her walking this weekend and I'll post it on here for all to be as proud as me.
In other happenings...Clif and I are desperately trying to get Ainsley to sleep better. About two months ago, she started refusing to sleep in her crib. She had a bad ear infection with fever, she was teething something awful and it was the time change weekend. I chalked it up to too many changes at once and figured she'd pull out of it. Until then, she was not a perfect sleeper by any means, but I could put her down around 8 pm and she'd sleep until 2 or 3 when she'd wake up to eat. Well, here we are two months later and still she's sleeping in our bed. It's not so much the sleeping in our bed that we mind, although we don't want her sleeping with us until she goes off to college. It's more that we miss the down time we used to have. We used to put her to bed at 8 and then we'd have a couple of hours to eat, talk, clean the house, whatever before we went to bed. Now it's all Ainsley all the time. So we decided that the next available weekend we had where we weren't travelling and we didn't have any visitors would be "Focus on Sleeping" weekend. We began the weekend tonight. HORRIBLE!!! I can not stress how miserable this evening was. I know that I am not the only parent to go through this, so I will not pretend that no one understands my pain...but seriously!!! Is that how it's supposed to work?
Let me start this little story by saying, I did not want to use the cry it out method. Not that I fault anyone for doing it, just my own personal feelings for our situation. I feel like her whole life I've tried to become someone she can trust and depend on. And I want her to know that I will always be around and I want to be the person she feels safe with, the person she can turn to for a soft place to land...ok I'm getting too emotional. Anyway, I feel like letting her cry it out is just reversing all of that. But she also needs to sleep and she needs to have a healthy relationship with sleep. So I talked to every mother who would listen. And I listened to every mother that would talk and pretty much everyone told me the same thing..."You've gotta let her cry. It won't be that bad. Three nights tops. An hour each night tops." Plus, I feel like I've exhausted all other options. I've rocked her until I've fallen asleep. I stand at her crib and shhhhh her until I'm almost hoarse. I put her to sleep in my bed then try to move her. None of this has worked. So tonight we tried the CIO method.
I started the bedtime routine with my own little prayer..."God, please help me be strong, but most of all help me do the right thing." I put her down...immediately the crying begins. I walk out of the room and I stare at the clock. 1 minute...screaming. 2 minutes...screaming louder and gagging. 3 minutes...even louder and oh, I think she just threw up. 4 minutes...no letting up. 5 minutes...back in the room to lay her down. She has definitely thrown up, but luckily it is just on the carpet and her chin. So I wipe her face and lay her back down. Still crying, still shaking. And we do it again. I'm not going to write this whole night out, because truth be told, I'm mad at myself for doing it. I'm mad at myself for going against my instincts and what I've thought all along. After getting to the 15 minute time block and hearing her gag and possibly throw up for a 4th time, I gave up. I said to myself "This is not right." But now I have to defend myself so everyone doesn't think I'm weak :)...she never once stopped screaming. She never once even laid down in her crib. She never once gave the slightest indication that she was letting up. So, I don't think the CIO method works for my daughter. We spent a total time of 40 minutes trying. No good.
However, here is the good news (at least so far). I picked her up, tears streaming down my face now, and I rocked her. And it took awhile, but right now as I type this, she is sleeping in her crib.
So here's what I've learned tonight. Follow my gut...and a screaming crying baby has way more patience than an unsure mom.