Since the dawn of man there have been helpless and brain fried mommies who have tried for hours on end to comfort their screaming, crying, ball of precious human larvae. Assuming that big papa caveman didn’t just smash the loud ones against a wall to keep the wolves from hearing it, at some point, every mommy in history has come to that point where she begins to consider a horrifying idea. Every mommy in the history of motherhood has thought, after hours of screaming and shushing and struggling in vain to help, “what if I just let the baby cry?” The mere introduction of the thought forces self-reprobating on a very personal level. “If I do that,” our exhausted mommy thinks, “What kind of mommy does that make me? Will the police come and arrest me for neglect? Will my baby hate me?”

With my first child, crying it out was not an option. I, like so many other mothers before me, dedicated my time and energy to attending to my son at the slightest indication of discomfort, even if nothing helped, I held him for hours, sometimes crying, sometimes telling jokes and singing songs trying to get some reaction besides tears out of him. I never gave up on trying to comfort him, and also never gave up on letting him sleep on me every night.

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With baby #2 I followed in the same fashion, except unexpectedly I started working at night when he would go to bed, so my husband broke him in to sleeping in his own bed. The first night I was off after he started sleeping in his crib instead of with us, I cried and begged my husband to let me get him. I was very upset but within minutes, he had calmed himself down, and fallen asleep!!!

My first thought was, “YOU MEAN THAT HE HAS BEEN ABLE TO CALM HIMSELF THIS WHOLE TIME?” My second thought was, “my baby is out of my bed! Finally time for frisky business!”

After the frisky business ensued (crowd cheers) and I was left alone to my own musings while my dearest love snored like a rhinoceros, I was so lonely, thinking to myself that I would never have my face be the pillow of one of my dear and firmly kicking brood. Never would I awake to a crookedly place diaper leaking on my belly again. (Sounds crazy, but you don’t know what love is until you wake up in a puddle of baby’s pee and you just stay awake long enough to get baby dry and go back to sleep with baby pee on you.)

After the loss of my middle child to the “big boy” bed, I was given another slumber party buddy in my daughter. However, once again, I was employed in the evening and I did not break her of sleeping with me, but nevertheless she was broken. Through my husband’s overwhelming conviction to have me to himself in our bed, he took the burden upon himself to hear her cry it out. He was the strong one in these situations, and I did not have to deal with it.

Thank goodness. Now we are trading our youngest from a crib sleeping baby to a toddler bed baby. This is my first test of being able to stick to the process of breaking her of an old habit, and letting her, if necessary, cry it out.

Last night was the first night of the mommy-run cry it out session… I have never encountered such an evil, heartless, and mommy-motivated trickster! The terror! The anguish! The freakily strong baby muscles!

Sometimes when my sweet littles are asleep I stand next to their bed with my hand over my mouth in awe at how beautiful they are, reflecting on just what perfectly wonderful people they’re turning out to be, I start to tear up, and I tell myself I am not biased, I have created the most perfect people ever to be born in the history of baby-making. Last night I revoked these claims (temporarily). Last night my perfect and beautiful blonde haired, blue-eyed Disney princess baby girl turned into a horrible harpy from hell.

Some of you might be thinking, Joanie, why would you call your own spawn a demon from the fiery pits of the abyss? But never have you seen the likes of the transformation of my adorable Precious Moments flaxen-haired angelic baby girl into an angry, starved shark that has smelled the blood of a weak injured fish and wants to rip the flesh from the skin whilst breath is still being drawn.

She screamed like a baby possessed by the devil, who wanted to feast on my blood “Mommy! MOMMY!” she did not ask for me, she demanded me. She broke down the baby gate, she ignored my comforting talk at her bedside, and forced her way to the gate, if I tried to stop her, she screamed at me and muscled her way towards the door. (This seems eerily false considering the sweetness of the little girl in question who is at this very moment asking me to make her stuffed monkey say “hoo-hoo” and sipping a juice box like a little lady).

After many times of trying to get past her angry and LOUD determination to get out of her room by any screaming, fit throwing, pleading and manipulating possible,

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I had to walk out of the room and rest myself upon the stairs nearby and cry (out of sight so I would not agitate the angry croc).

After a bout of screaming at her Daddy, spurred on by her behemoth feat of strength in breaking down the baby gate by her lonesome. She tried in vain to scare her daddy into letting her out of her bedroom. But when she started to pout a quiet cry to him, pleading with him, “daddy…daddddyyyy” I thought he was in her clutches, but he stood his ground, exited the room and never looked back, the brave soul.

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The first hour of my baby girl’s first night in a toddler bed was an actual, literal living hell, but after she screamed at us for

15 more minutes, we heard her go silent and VERY carefully peeked in on her, sweetly sleeping in a balled up fetus position on her toddler bed. She slept all night til morning.

It was a hard-won victory and a real endurance test for both of us, my husband has never had such an intense time with the babies and neither have I. EVER. It was worth it, however.

Tonight, on the second day of her big girl bed, I got her horsies and kitties ready, got her sippy cup and her ladybug star projector. Some love and kisses and mommy’s poor bunny rabbit made not a peep as I walked away from her, leaving the room; she went straight to sleep. The misery of her first night paid off, despite the guilt I will forever have about using the cry it out method. It worked.

It doesn’t seem like it was worth it, but it was important because, for one, we learned (and she did too) that she can sleep like a big girl, and also I learned never to cross her path again, because she might actually become possessed by Satan when in a fit of anger towards her Mommy and Daddy.


Joanie is an over-thinker, under-acheiver, and a genuine dork who wants to be everyone’s mom. She routinely threatens unsavory children she finds lurking around her house, and she just might think she’s an elf.





One thought on “The Dreaded Night of C.I.O. (cry it out)

  1. Joanie, your writing made me remember the days when my kids were little. They were my everything and I can hear that same sentiment from you. I love seeing your kids pictures and hearing your stories about them! love, Aunt Susan


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