The Ferber Method, or Ferbonificationism.


Week 33

Somewhere near 3am, “…be like a ninja!” 

My whisper might as well be a shout, with all the breathy emphasis.  I suggest this martial approach to Vaness while she leaves our bedroom, on her way to console the lachrymose Jack.  I figured stealth was necessary not to further alarm him.  My ninja comment represents the tail end of our conversation.  Let’s rewind, so you can witness our Ferber Method dysfunction, I mean discussion…

“I thought you wanted to wait until Spring Break, when you’re off, to start this?”  I’m confused and a bit pissed.  The Maelstrom s-c-r-e-a-m-s from the baby monitor.  The LED display is pinned, maximum volume reached.  He’ll overload the speaker.  He’s so loud I turn the mechanism’s volume down, nearly off.  He can now be heard from his true location—down the hall, at the far end of the house.  Good lungs on this kid.  This is a Category 5 situation.

“Well… I don’t want to ruin my time off.”  Vaness seems to have changed her mind, without having informed me, but this is a legitimate concern.  She has every right to have a restful Spring Break.

I’m ready.  It’s Ferber Time.  “Ok.  You wanna do this full-bore?”

Flabbergasted, Vaness erupts, “What does that mean?!”

“That’s the way I talk!”

“It’s like 3am and you’re gonna make me ask you what that means?!”

“And you’re asking me to change the way I think, the way I communicate?!”  I’m a hopeless ass.

We agree to make this the first, in what we expect will be a week’s worth (or longer!) of Maelstrom filled nights.  We watch the clock, increasing the time between consolations, proper Ferbonifiers.  My turn to weather the storm.  I gird myself.

I tear through the tempest’s threshold, immediately blasted by piercing its sound barrier.  I witness what can only be described as a scene from The Exorcist (1973).  Through the crib’s slats I see what looks like a blatting organism, some thing under severe possession.  With an eagerness to provide relief and without care for my safety, I reach in.  Stillness comes over this creature.  Its eyes fixate on mine.  I rub the tummy.  He reaches up to me, but soon realizes I’m not here to pick him up.  It’s on.  The Maelstrom returns with dizzying speed, filling the room with a broth of infant obscenities.  My arm gets caught in the flurry and is tossed aside.  Legs rise up and slam down on the mattress, imprinting the sheets with each blow.  And the tears!  This is just heartbreaking.

After a while I admit defeat and return to our bedroom, noticing the time.  The storm’s duration approaches 30 minutes.  Vaness waits patiently and goes in for what will be our final visitation.  Did The Maelstrom get the message, or was he finally out of steam?  Can’t say.  He simply went to sleep.

I finally doze off myself.  What feels like seconds later I wake up to my alarm, exhausted, feeling like a casualty.  Through the fog of morning activities I begin to wonder, how long will it take?  When will Jack finally sleep through the night?

The next night feels like a fluke—Jack murmured around 4am but nothing more.  Vaness and I wake up feeling like royalty, having slept peacefully, most likely the best night’s sleep since his birth (33 weeks, people).  The third night goes the same way, just a few sounds, and no sign of The Maelstrom.  This really is incredible.  I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We’ll see.

Don't be fooled. The Maelstrom lurks behind those eyes.

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8 Responses to The Ferber Method, or Ferbonificationism.

  1. I laughed out loud when I hit the “full bore” segment. I can totally see communication at it’s finest, righ there at 3am in the hallway. At least with context clues someone is likely to quickly figure out what it is you mean…I’ve got more of the made up words that my wife has zero tolerance for. In fact it takes her years- to even refer to one of my made up words. I think the first time she acknowledged “Meatfalcon” made me blush, as I had no idea that she had even been in the audience all this time? Go figure. Not a fan, but in the audience, dude! Awesome post. Need dictionary for Larchymose?

    • Thanks dude. Nice to see you on here. Yeah, full-bore. I really am an ass. This post (Week 33) is from a 160 page memoir from Jack’s 1st year. Week 33 represents a place where I started to hit my stride (took a while). Now I have to mention–the use of the word “blatting” as in “blatting organism” had me screaming for weeks. It still makes me laugh. I use to call Scardena and holler BLAT!

      lach·ry·mose
      –adjective
      1. suggestive of or tending to cause tears; mournful.
      2. given to shedding tears readily; tearful.

  2. Faun says:

    DAAB (or maybe that’s Mr. DAAB, sir) – I was laughing so hard at the title, I could barely read the post! Giving you props, man. I raised 4 and couldn’t make it happen. They wailed for nights on end ( my mom told me give it 3 nights….yeah, right). I had to stop the madness just to get some sleep. Make a long story short, we embraced the family bed. I usually ended up sleeping in a small corner of the bed…with no cover. *grins* I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep…30 years later!

    My oldest daughter, on the other hand, successfully Ferberized the grandboys. Go figure…

    Great post!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I feel for you! I had a grandson who started screaming at 13 months and didn’t stop until he was two. And it wasn’t just at night, it seemed to be all the time with brief times for him to refuel his energy.
    May you have sweet, uninterrupted dreams!

  4. Tori Nelson says:

    We did the “sleep training” with my son. We still refer to that time as Hell Week or The Time Mommy Got Hives. A year later, though? Totally worth it. It’s a pretty awesome thing to have to wake your kid up in the morning!

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