Sometimes I can still hear my daughter's cries in my ears, and we sleep trained her using the cry it out method well over a year ago. I vividly remember how it felt to wonder if it had been two minutes or 20 (it always felt like 20, but was always two), or whether it would ever end. I vividly remember the giant sigh of relief we both exhaled when the house went silent. I definitely remember the things you learn about your partner when you cry it out because, well, some lessons you just never forget.
I suppose I should have expected that my husband and I would have such different reactions to crying it out, despite it being a decision we made together. He's a stick-to-the-plan type, with a fierce competitive streak that has served him well in basketball games but gets awfully annoying in real life situations.
We quickly learned that, without my husband there to give me regular pep talks and reiterate the plan, I would have melted into a puddle the second the first peep escaped my daughter's mouth. While she was crying (which admittedly didn't last very long at all) I wondered if my husband's heart was made of stone. However, when all was quiet after a few minutes of fussing, I realized he's simply programmed to be entirely more optimistic than I am. I also learned the following things about my partner during this time period, and I have a feeling if you're crying it out with a "buddy," you'll figure out a few interesting things about them, too.
How Well They Can Hear
I knew we were going to let her cry it out, and I knew it was a decision we had made rationally based on her personality and what kind of sleeper we wanted her to be. Still, my daughter's cries just cut right through me. I know most mamas out there know how physically painful it is to hear your child cry and not be able to help them.
My husband's response, most times she cried and despite our teeny tiny apartment, was along the lines of, "It's not so bad." Either his heart is stonier than mine or his hearing is significantly worse!
How Mean They Might Really Be
Speaking of that heart of stone, I often worried how mean my husband might be underneath his softer exterior. When we were letting our daughter cry it out, he proclaimed himself to be the enforcer. So, whenever I would waver and ask if we could go in to her, he said his job was to enforce what we had decided was our plan.
How Much Sleep They Actually Need
I'm pretty sure the amount your partner is willing to commit to crying it out is directly related to how sleep deprived they are or how much they miss their night's sleep.
How Patient They're Going To Be When Your Kid Is Older
Sleep training takes toughness, but it also takes patience. Crying it out gives you a great indication of the kind of patience your partner will have with your child as they grow older, perhaps especially in that 3-year-old toddler, "Why, why, why?" phase.
How Well They Read The Baby Books
Or, in our case, the 17 articles I texted my husband when we started discussing sleep training. I was surprised, because he's not really the type, but he nearly always read them!
How Attached He Or She Is To "The Plan"
Oh, the blasted plan. How often did I wish I could throw my husband and our darn plan both out the window all at once, you ask? Oh, you know, just almost every single night. Ugh.
When you cry it out, you'll soon see which one of you is tethered to the plan and which one of you would happily throw it out the window to make the crying stop.
Who Is The Timekeeper In The Relationship
I was convinced that every single minute we were "crying it out," was actually five minutes all rolled into one. Time made no sense to me. It either slowed down or just stopped entirely.
My husband, on the other hand, was always ready with his handy stop watch, ready to dispute my estimated timing.
How Competitive They Are
Sometimes crying it out becomes a win or lose battle, and you might have an indication that that could be the case with your partner if he or she is a giant sports fan. That stubborn, competitive spirit comes out and cry it out becomes more than a sleep training method. I guess whatever gets the job done, right?