I rocked our babies to sleep till my arms felt like they were ready to fall off. I danced and swayed our babies to sleep until my legs felt like jello. I sang our babies to sleep until I felt like I was losing my voice.
I walked around with a baby carrier strapped to my chest until I could walk no more and because people kept suggesting I try the “cry it out method,” I did. I tried it with our first baby, for a whole three minutes (the recommendation I was given was 10-20), and it nearly wrecked me.
It nearly wrecked my husband too. I told him what the nurse said, what the doctor said, what this person and that person said, and what the articles I read about it online said. I still remember the evening I tried it.
I had our sweet baby ready for bed, put him down in his crib, and closed the door.
We sat in the living room and he began to cry. Sixty seconds went by, and he began to scream and cry. My husband’s eyes widened, and he sat on the edge of the couch. I was frantic. One hundred twenty seconds passed by, and he sounded like he was having trouble breathing.
One hundred eighty seconds in, and we both shot up off the couch and ran to him. We couldn’t stand it, we couldn’t do it. And I know we can’t be the only parents out there who have felt this way.
It was painful and excruciatingly awful to listen to his wails for help and not comfort him. I know so many people say it worked for them.
I know wonderful parents who said the cry it out method was the only thing that worked for getting their babies to go to sleep . . . but it never worked for us.
“I can’t let him cry it out,” I said to my husband. “I know he needs me.”
His response was, “Good, because I hate it.”
He was right, I hated it, too.
I wanted that sweet, little, chunky bundle back in my arms. I didn’t care if I stayed up all night (and most nights I did).
So we rocked and danced and swayed and swaddled and bopped around with the baby carrier strapped to our chests with not one, not two, but all three of our babies. We lay far too long with each of them at bedtime as they got a bit older. We gave in to one more story, one more snack, one more kiss, one more cuddle.
We never let them cry it out. One or both of us always ran to comfort them. No matter how tired we were, no matter how demanding work was, no matter what we thought we should be doing instead, we ran.
And honestly, we will always run to our kids, as long as there is still breath in our lungs.
When they started learning how to crawl, they would speed crawl over to us, then waddle-walk over to us, then eventually they ran to us too.
You will likely never see an article about running to your kids as the best method to calm them down, but that’s what we did. Right or wrong that’s what worked. They knew they never had to wait too long for mom or dad because we were right there beside them in almost an instant.
No flight of stairs could keep us away. No phone call, no conversation. We must have looked ridiculous when company was over. But as I said before, we will always run to our kids. No matter their age.
And we will pray nonstop that they will always run to us. With any problem, any mistake, any fear.
We will never stop running to our babies.
We know we are their protection, their home, their safe place. We know we get one shot at this parenting thing with each of them, and we won’t always get it right, but we will always be there for them when they need us.
It goes so fast from carrying them, to walking beside them and holding their hand, to walking beside them, to walking behind them, to watching them walk away and embrace a life on their own someday.
We can’t think that far ahead, but we hope when they get to the walking away part, they know they can always turn around and run right back to us for one more embrace . . .
The same way we always did for them.