Control Group (703 words)

Our youngest daughter just turned 5 months and we started sleep training her this weekend.  What does that mean?  Well, it means you use one of many different methods out there to “Train” your baby to sleep by her or himself.  We checked with our doctor of course and they gave us the greenlight, which meant I went online and read 1000 blogs to make sure it was actually okay and how to do it.  I am of course super excited.  I haven’t slept since this wonderful bundle of mixed emotions joined us.  It really begs the question of who came up with the idea to apply the phrase “sleeping like a baby” to describe deep sleep.  I wouldn’t mind kicking that person right in the vagina.

My husband on the other hand is not a fan.  He’s much more sensitive to her cries.  But I can’t deal.  This little parasite is literally draining energy from my body.  And while I love her more than anything else in this world – including my husband, chocolate, and back massages – I do not function on under 4 hours of sleep a night.

Our big debate is two-fold:  whether sleep training has long term effects on our daughter and whether it’s inhumane to let the baby cry unattended.  The internet seems divided as usual over this with each side of course taking the most extreme view of how sleep training does or doesn’t ruin your child psychologically and whoever disagrees is a terrible parent.

I don’t think a week of extended crying is really a big deal since if you have ever observed small children and infants for a period of time – they tend to cry a lot.  It’s a part of their fabric.  Regarding the humanity of intentional letting a baby cry I tend to take the side of discipline.  I grew up in a military family and discipline was the bible of the household.  But now as an adult I appreciate it.  It forces you to take responsibility and ultimately, in my opinion, leads to a more efficient and effective person.  My lovely husband grew up in a more hippie type of household with affection and hugs and kisses.  Hence the conflict now.

The downside is no matter what happens, is one of us may begin to resent the other…at least in the short term.  If sleep training works, I’ll of course rub it in his face, attribute everything good about the child from this point trhough the rest of her life to the well-timed and executed training regiment, and tell him to submit to my superior brand of parenting.   Of course, secretly, deep down in the recess of my right ventricle I know that’s all a load of excrement.  THere’s no way to tell how much of her personality behaviors, including, how she sleeps, from this point forward can be traced back to the training or not.  There’s just too many variables and as they every advocate of a method falls back on when that method doesn’t work – “every child is different.”


I guess we’ll never know, but I’m hoping one day enough data will be gathered to give parents a definite answer.  Hey because you have DNA xyz and your kid weighs 11 lbs, and they poop 3 times a day,  you have a 99% chance of this working…or whatever the key indicators are.  I assume we’ll get there one day but unfortunately by then, my kids will have already sucked the sleep out of me like the benevolent vampires they are.  Alas, there’s always boarding school to look forward to.

“How are the trials going?, ” the woman with glasses asks having just entered the room.

“Not bad, just kicked off a batch of parallel simulations on the new family with the profile and inputs they gave us.  The daughter will be trained by all the input methods and we’ll see how her personality and life outcome changes under each method in each universe.  We should have some results within a few days,” a man behind the computer says.”

“Great.  I’ll let the institute know they’ll have their results soon.”  The woman leaves the room and walks down the hallway, going room by room checking on the other technicians.

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