The first cry-it-out fight came via our church nursery. Pk has never been willing to go to the nursery alone. I haven't sat through an entire church service since she was born (well, since she was old enough not the sleep through the entire service). From what I have heard from other mothers, I am not alone in the "church nursery struggle". I tried to leave her quite a few times but the hysterical crying wasn't worth it. She goes to her babysitter without any fuss and now to her dance class so I am not concerned that she will be attached to me when she is 25. Given that I leave her Monday to Friday when I go to work (when I am not on mat leave, which I am right now - hooray!), the last thing I want is to "abandon" her on Sunday, especially at church, which is supposed to be a wonderful, pro-family place, not a place of stress and trauma. I have somehow become one of the people coordinating the new nursery curriculum at our church (something which I enjoy, by the way) and we needed a few new volunteers for staffing. The minister asked me to see if I could drum up someone so I went on Facebook and asked. Whew! The discussion that ensued was fast and fierce. What emerged was that our church has two distinct camps - the "I'm leaving my kid no matter what and if he cries, he'll get over it and the volunteers with just have to deal with it" crowd and the "I will go to nursery with my kid until he/she is o.k. with my leaving even if I have to be there until he is 15" crowd. It got kind of fierce and I found myself feeling very defensive. It seemed that there are those who feel that I am in the nursery to socialize with others and that if I just left Pk, she would deal with it. I don't know about you, but I feel a bit unfair leaving a poor once-a-month volunteer who already has his or her hands full with some of the almost feral boys with Pk in full-on meltdown. It was one of those situations in which defending myself would almost certainly come across as being critical of the choices of others. Not fun.
The other situation happened at the park the other day and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. There is another mother I have gotten to know from the area who we see at the park. I have always experienced her parenting techniques to be a bit harsh (not abusive, not in the least, just very different from the way that we do things). She has a four year old daughter and a baby boy who is 5 days older than Baby Bean (making him 14 weeks). We were chatting last Wednesday about the fact that both boys had done very little napping during the day and that almost always leads to a fussy evening. I said that I wasn't looking forward to it and her response was that it didn't matter to her - he would probably cry for an hour in his room but it wouldn't be a problem since he would be doing it alone with the monitor turned off. I just keep thinking about the little guy, less than four months old, screaming for an hour alone without any comfort. I think that even a lot of the hard core cry-it-out advocates would say that less than four months is too early for that. It kind of took my breath away but I kept my mouth shut. I wonder if I did the right thing?
So, I guess what I am saying is that you are allowed to do things your way and I won't judge you, unless you disagree with me :-).