I have no idea which night we’ve arrived at, but it was not good. It was bizarre. Michael woke one hour after he went down, and after we checked that he was okay and not stung by a bee or something (happened to Ralph the other day!) we put him down. He cried. We had doubts, picked him up, checked him, comforted him, put him down. He cried. Finally, after this happened a few times, we let him cry it out.
For an hour.
It was intense, it was hard, my heart broke. He stopped three quarters of the way in, was quiet some minutes, and then started right back up again.
My response to my baby crying hard is visceral. I feel a bit dizzy, I whimper, I flap around. I shut down. And in the moment, I am absolutely convinced that it’s the worst catastrophe in the world. He’s making himself sick, surely. He’s dehydrating. He feels abandoned. My poor poor poor baby. I imagine the tears running down his swollen face. CIO sucks.
Then morning breaks. Thank God, morning breaks.
According to my sister-in-law (who has two young children), babies are surprisingly resilient. It is true. At dawn, the reset button is pressed. Michael smiles happily from under his swaddle. I lean over the crib and touch his face, smooth and dry, nothing swollen, nothing broken, nothing lost. The trauma of the night retreats and is forgotten in the early morning light. I hightail it out of the room to prepare his milk. The boy deserves it these days.