The other night, my wife and I were watching Modern Family. If you're not familiar with the TV show, it follows three related families. One is Al Bundy (Jay) with his new latina wife and ten-ish year old step-son. The second is Jay's daughter (Claire) and her family (husband/two daughters/son). The third is Jay's son (Mitchell) , his partner (Cameron) and their adopted daughter Lilly.
We can relate to each set of families even with the diversity. I'm a step-father whose son will always have his dad's back no matter how many times he's been wronged by him.
My wife says that Phil (Claire's husband) reminds her of me because he's a dork and I guess I'm a dork too.
Even the gay couple. But because they have a new baby and are learning how to be new parents. The gay issue is really secondary.
Trust me, I'm getting to my point. My point is what was going on with Mitchell and Cameron this episode.
Mitchell walked in on Cameron and Lilly late one night watching Scarface. Cameron said that Lilly couldn't sleep and she enjoys Scarface. Mitchell got upset because he's allowing Lilly to develop a bad habit. If she cries at night, she knows that Cameron will come to help her.
Mitchell would rather go by the Ferber Method. The idea of this is that they learn to self soothe and not expect a parent to come get them if they cry.
I could feel my wife saying in her head, "Yeah, my husband spoils our children.."
I don't remember if we discussed it after the show, but we got a working example early the next morning. My mother in law has been staying with us, helping with the kids while I go into work. Beautiful woke up in the middle of the night and starting crying. MiL came in and asked if she could get her, I said go for it.
Around five o'clock I hear screaming on the monitor. I get up to make sure she hadn't stuck her head thru the rails or something. My wife comes in and said that she just laid her down and that I spoil her by getting up with her at this time.
Ok, this is what I do.
She starts screaming like she just looked in the Ark of the Covenant. I go in there and get her out. I usually get her some milk, sit with her for a few minutes, let her calm down and try to put her back. Sometimes it works. Sometimes she starts screaming like her face is melting off again. So I go back to the living room. Put her in her Dora chair, turn on Yo Gabba Gabba, she watches, I sleep on the couch.
Let me tell you why I do what I do.
When my baby (any baby) cries in the middle of the night because they do not want to be asleep, I do not go in their room as sympathetic daddy. I go in there before they wake the other two light sleepers up. My 1YO daughter is a level 1 telepath. She has the ability to hear thoughts while she sleeps. She'll wake up at the slightest sound. If her older brother and sister get aroused from their sleep. Forget about it. I'll have all three kids up and they will not want to go back to bed. I'd rather deal with one than three at 4:30 in the morning.
Again. It usually ends up with the kid watching some sort of recorded cartoon and I sleep on the couch. I usually wake up with the offender asleep on the floor. Occasionally I'll accidentally drop a phone on their forehead.
There is never a night where I shove my wife and say, go get the girl. It's always me. No one misses any sleep but me.
But I'm used to it.
So back to the other morning, after nearly 30 minutes of screaming KC tells me, " I know you want to go get her."
Well yeah, because she's being eaten alive by fire ants and she's going to wake the other two kids up eventually. Its not like I want to go apply Aloe Vera to the bites.
On the monitor, I hear that Nana went in to see if she was okay. I get up to get the baby, because Nana needs her rest.
I get some milk, sit next to Beautiful for a few minutes and she's ready to go back to bed.
I was kid free until 7:30.
Again, I don't do this to comfort them. I do it to save me from dealing with the entire horde prior to sunrise. Is that so bad?
There was only one time where I wanted to hold and squeeze one of my daughters when she was crying outside our door. But I'll talk about that another time.
Do any of you parents "Ferberize"? Or do you "Fockerize"?? Is it a combination of the two? Or why do you do what you do when your kid is crying in their bed??
Have a great weekend my friends.
And be sure to check out some pretty dang cool dads for Fatherhood Friday over at Dad Blogs.