As part of his Christmas present to us, my brother-in-law, Chris, offered to babysit LMH on Thursday night so that The Hubby, his parents and I could go see Harry Potter (because, of course, Chris proclaimed in disgust that he was "not going anywhere near a Harry Potter theater"). Though not so good with adults, he is great with kids. Perhaps they’re on a closer wavelength or something? But, seriously, he’s always been great with kids. I knew LMH would be in good hands.
Before we left, I got bottles ready, set out his wubbanub, showed Chris how the swing worked, setup the playgym and all of LMH's other favorites so that the odds of it being a great night for both of them would go up a bit. We left for the movie at about 6:15. A little after the movie started (probably still during the insanely long previews), around 7:30 maybe, The Hubby got a text from his brother: “I can’t get him to stop crying. Any suggestions?” At that point, I realized the one thing I had forgot to tell him…LMH can get downright cranky right before bed. He gets so tired that he screams out of sheer exhaustion. There’s not much you can do when he gets that way except walk around with him or, in a pinch, let him cry it out. Nine times out of ten, I’m able to calm him down just by doing laps around the house, but occasionally he’s just over stimulated and needs a break. I neglected to tell Chris that, but I thought that once he got the text reply from The Hubby that all would be well. Back to the movie…We didn’t hear anything else, so assumed walking had done the trick.
A little after 10, as we’re leaving the theater, my mother-in-law checks her phone. Turns out that she missed a couple of texts…one at 7:30 (same one Hubby got) and another at 8:30…in all caps asking for someone to call him NOW. She hadn’t felt her phone vibrate when either text came in. We called…All was well. LMH was asleep, but Chris was mad…that whole not so good with people thing again.
In the end, all he had to do was let LMH cry it out in his crib. He said it took less than fifteen minutes for him to cry (er…scream?) himself to sleep…that was after an hour of frustration for both of them. I fully believe that babies can sense when their caretakers are upset. And I’m sure that, as LMH got more and more upset, so did Chris. It was a self-perpetuating cycle up until the point that he put LMH in the crib so they could both catch a breath.
Up until recently, I had trouble with the whole cry it out philosophy. It’s only been in the last two weeks or so that I’ve been okay with letting him cry, although still not more than 15 minutes or so. He’s gotten very good at self-soothing and it just seems like sometimes the only thing that will calm him down is the absence of stimulation—calming or otherwise. So, I would have thought I might have been upset that Chris ended up letting him cry it out. But, as it turned out, I almost wished he’d put him in the crib earlier…it might have saved a ton of stress for both of them! I think we all learned something that night...
1) Bedtime rituals are an important thing to tell the babysitter
2) Don’t call my mother-in-law in the middle of a movie if you need something urgently
3) Mom is okay with CIO, in moderation
I very much appreciated Chris’ Christmas gift of babysitting. And, now that we’ve learned what works for both of them, I’d definitely let him watch LMH again. I’m pretty sure I won’t be getting the chance anytime soon, though. His first LMH babysitting experience is probably his last for a very long time. Silly Uncle Chris…babies cry, didn’t you know?
644th Friday Blog Roundup
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