Childrearing

Twinning: I Was Too Much Of A Wimp To Ferberize

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twins sleepingHaving twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.

Ferberizing twins is not for sissies. Any mother who can tough out even one night listening to two babies scream at the same time is a stronger woman than I am. All the moms who had Ferberized their baby or babies back when mine were infants told me it’s just three to five nights of hell, and then you have babies who sleep through the night. It sounds so easy, who wouldn’t give it a shot?

My daughter was a great sleeper and didn’t actually need much in the way of sleep training. My son was the one who was difficult to put down and difficult to keep down.  Sometimes his crying would get my daughter crying as well. I had the option to split them up into two rooms, but I really didn’t want to give up my guest room if I didn’t absolutely have to, so some kind of sleep training was needed.

The first time I tried Ferberizing, I only lasted about 10 minutes. I went downstairs to try to get away from the crying and fight the urge to run to pick them up. But two babies yelling in stereo is loud, and there was no getting away from it. So I sat at the bottom of the stairs and cried along with them. And then I couldn’t take it anymore and that was that.

Sure, a lot of this was because I loved my little babies and didn’t want them to feel sad and abandoned, but it was also because at the end of a long day, I was wiped out and didn’t have the strength to embark on a sleep-training program. It was just easier to go in, pat their backs, or pick them up and rock them.

During those 10 minutes, I couldn’t help but think about a story my British in-laws had told me about the time they tried to let my husband Ian cry it out.

Ian was a colicky baby and one night they decided they were tired of him ruining their days and nights so they were not going to respond to his cries. They turned out to be pretty great at listening to him scream, because my father-in-law said after an hour or so of straight crying (what?!), he finally went to the nursery and saw baby Ian covered in blood from head to toe—so much that they couldn’t see exactly what was bleeding. After giving him a bath, my in-laws saw that he had a bloody nose. The poor little guy was very pale for the next two days so they took him to the doctor, who said if they had waited a little bit longer, things might not have ended as well as they did.

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My reaction to this tale was not one of laughter.

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