The Wife and I have been talking for a month or so about reclaiming our bed from the tiny, cute little invader. The issues have been discussed before: 1) if he can't get through the night without being fed, then we're back to our original problem - neither of us is willing to remain awake through the feeding to put him back in bed, and 2) there's no real good time to sacrifice a few nights' sleep. Considering that my wife has four more days of school, and that none of the days are particularly rigorous, and considering that my teaching schedule is light this week, this is about as good a time as any.
So, last night, with him having only napped for a short time during the day, we decided to pull the trigger and to start sleep training the baby. We put him in his crib, and it provoked the typical reaction: he freaked out. I mean, big time. He doesn't always freak in the crib; during the day, when we're changing a poopy diaper, he'll sit in his crib for a few minutes while I clean the diaper. But, at night, or when he's tired, he flips out. He stands up in his crib and cries piteous, heart-rending cries.
The Wife and I sat in the room with him, while he stood in his crib and cried. I sang to him softly and rubbed his back while The Wife looked up articles about sleep training. Eventually, I noticed that he was facing her and reaching for her while she cried; I asked her to leave the room, and things started to settle down. This might seem a little mean, but it really isn't: The Boy is used to falling asleep with, and on, my wife. When she left the room, things changed and he started to realize that things were a little bit different.
I did spend a little bit of time rubbing his back and his belly, as one would expect - he was crying so hard, that I wanted to help. That hurt my arm after a little while, because I didn't want to stand next to the crib, and the crib was high enough to dig into my shoulder. After a little while, I stopped - I don't want him to develop the habit of having his back rubbed until he falls asleep. I would occasionally reach through the crib bars to hold his hand or touch his leg. Eventually, he fell asleep at around 10:15.
He woke again at 11:00, and was up until 11:20. He slept until 11:45, and was awake until 12:10. He slept until 12:50, and was awake until 1:20. This time, he slept until 2:30; I poked my wife and said, "Your turn," figuring that he needed to be fed. Before she got moving, I said, "Wait a second... give him some time." I fell asleep about two seconds later. When I woke up at 6, by my wife getting out of bed to get the baby, I found out that he fell back asleep and didn't eat.
So, what does this mean? This means that the next couple of nights, while he's getting used to sleeping in his crib, are probably going to suck. I'll keep you updated.