Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 51)

We’ve decided against letting Em cry-it-out and have instead enrolled in the more passive sleep education course. You see, Em is one of those babies who does not calm down by crying. Instead, crying makes him more and more hysterical until he erupts, spit and other bodily fluids spray out of his mouth, eyes and nose and his head looks like some kind of pierced water ballon. He gags and sometimes it sounds like he’s going to vomit. It’s awful.

Naturally, I have only let it get to this point twice in his life and both times it felt needlessly cruel. I know that it works for some people, but we simply cannot do it. (And we don’t want to.)

And so we’re trying something less aggressive where we’ll sit with him and console him when he needs to be consoled. It’s not yet going according to plan. He still cries because he wants to be picked up. But we have high hopes. (This is all still very new. We’re still reading up on how to do it. I anticipate a long road ahead of us.)

Anyway, on Friday Tobyjoe decided to sit with him and watch him cry as I frantically tried to block it out by cleaning the entire apartment.

Normally I lock Murray in our bedroom whenever I mop because he really likes to be involved. He’s weird. But this time I thought he’d be OK. Plus, I wanted to keep noise and cats as far away from Tobyjoe and Em as possible.

I decided to clean with Murray in tow.

Everything went just fine up until the very end when the entire railroad apartment was wet. That’s when Murray decided it was time to attack.

The next 30 seconds were that of hilarity and I so wish I had them on tape so I could watch them over and over again. And I swear to you, all 30 seconds took place in slow motion. Like, someone actually slowed the rotation of planet Earth just enough for me to thoroughly enjoy what was about to take place. Even the baby’s cries were muted. It was just Murray and me and a slippery apartment.

Murray successfully jumped over the mop, but whenever he touched down on the other side, his feet gave way on the slippery floor and his back legs slipped out from under him, making his entire body skid to the left. In an attempt to correct the sudden momentum, he immediately turned his body to the right, a decision that may have worked had Murray not thought someone (or something) did this to him. He wanted to find the culprit! He jerked his head from one side to the other looking for the invisible prankster. That threw everything off and sent him into a full-force right-hand slide. Still unable to make peace with the slippery floor, and still in search of the guy who pushed him, he just kept sliding, like an out-of-control slalom skier.

This went on for the entire length of our apartment. All I could think was, “PAUSE! PAUSE! STOP! STOP!” and then, “REWIND! REPLAY!” because in my head everything, including my every day life, can be controlled by the DVR. And, oh my God, I love this show!

But I couldn’t pause it so I could show it to Tobyjoe. And I couldn’t rewind it and watch it again. This was live. And it kept happening until he finally hit the wall at the very far end of the apartment.

Time immediately sped up again and the baby’s cries came billowing out of the bedroom once more. And Murray, unfazed, walked directly to the food bowl to refuel because sliding across a wet floor counts as exercise.


  1. Hilarious! Thanks for sharing that one.

    Good call on the choice to not let Em cry it out. It’s not for everyone, and it sometimes seems to me (as a mommy who happily shares her bed and feeds her baby to sleep) that there’s an awful lot of pressure out there to adhere to a cry it out method.


  2. We let Evan cry it out when he was a baby and it worked…he’s a great self-soother…but now, if he throws a tantrum he needs to be talked back to calmness (he’s 2.5). When he cries and throws a fit, we ask him “are you upset?” and he’ll say “yes, I need to cry” so we acknowledge he’s upset and his need to cry. Then he comes to cuddle and tells us “I’m settled now, mommy!” Kills me everytime! It’s tough because not a single thing works for every single kid! You’ll find your method!! And…Murray is hilarious. I would love a cat but I think Murray has set too high a standard for hilarity and I would be disappointed in my less funny cat, lol.


  3. Before I had my baby, I coolly informed everyone that I “did not believe” in co-sleeping, that my child WOULD cry it out at the age of 6 weeks, and various other miscellaneous parenting choices. A-ha-hahahahahaha. How the reality of a baby with, like, it’s own personality and stuff? really changed things. Turns out I really like co-sleeping! Who knew! Which is synonymous with saying I like sleeping. Because who can sleep when the baby is miserable in the next room? For hours on end?

    If you want to share, let us know how the “comfort project” (I just made up that terminology) goes.

    You are not alone in wishing you had caught the Murray dance on tape. I kind of want to try that out on my cat.

    I love that he helps you mop. What a great cat.


  4. Joey (girl w a boy's name) July 8, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    It’s totally personal, and I have found CIO to be pure torture. BUT, after completely hitting a wall with frustration at Henry’s absolute refusal to nap AT ALL and watching him spin into complete hysteria from pure exhaustion, we finally tried it a third time 2 weeks ago. And as much as I hate sounding cliche – IT ACTUALLY WORKS! And (knock wood) he’s sleeping 11-12 1/2 hours a night and naps like a prince like clockwork every 2 hours through the day. It is still THE MOST PAINFUL THING EVER having to hear him cry at all, but he is now down to crying for 3 minutes max for naps and 12 minutes max (or not at all) for the big sleep. I also think (and I may be very very wrong) that as much as I hate to hear Henry cry, and do everything in my power to prevent it, when he cries himself to sleep, it seems like a big release for him. One that might, in fact, feel “good” somehow for him – in twisted way. Again, I would never wish CIO on my worst enemy, but it’s really been amazing.

    I can’t believe I survived CIO and lived to want to preach about it.

    Joey – mom to Henry (6 months) who will probably grow up needing therapy after all this.


  5. Adeline is just like Emory in that regard—she builds up tension as she cries, until she starts choking and gagging. CIO doesn’t work for us. Before she started daycare, we were on a great schedule. I would lay her down twice a day, (regardless of what we were doing), and she would just go to sleep. She would lay there, talking to herself, not crying…daycare ruined that! She cannot go to sleep on her own anymore. We tried sitting next to her crib, soothing her, rubbing her back, etc, and even that doesn’t work. It’s frustrating that we have an almost one year old that can’t go to sleep/ fall back asleep on her own, but I don’t worry about it. It’s not like she’s going to go to college needing to be rocked to sleep.


  6. We did the cry it out method several different times with out son. The first time, it worked after about two weeks. Then something happened and the routine was broken and he wouldn’t go to sleep. Then there was teething and he was miserable.

    Finally, I said to my boy, “enough is enough. you are going to bed tonight. cry if you want.” and he went to sleep. I was shocked.

    Letting your child cry it out is torture. There’s no other way to put it…pure and simple, torture…for you, the parent. The amount of fluid that can come out of a child is amazing! My son’s face used to get so red and the snot and the tears and the drool. It was all non-stop.

    There are, of course, other methods. The pick up/put down method is supposed to show the baby you still care but it’s bedtime…or something like that. It’s the baby whisperer, Tracy Hogg, way. I couldn’t do that as it was too hard on the back.

    Whatever method you choose, it might take awhile for it to stick. Just have to keep at it and not lose faith.


  7. I can’t bare to do CIO with my 6 month old son. (He’s also a co-sleeper) I say they are only little once so go ahead and do what feels right to you as the mom and don’t worry about what others say your supposed to do! :)


  8. Gabriel refused to sleep in his crib starting at around 6 months and we had him cosleep with us till about a month ago in a full size bed. It was great because we all got full night of sleep. At 14 months I decided the bed was getting smaller so I took down one side of the crib and secured it next to our bed with the mattresses aligned and he’s been sleeping and napping there since. At night either one of us will go in there and just lay down next to him a little till he falls asleep. Then we are free to watch movies or do whatever afterwards. Of course you guys do whatever works for your family, this really worked for us. Murray is awesome I wish my lazy cat would chase the mop sometimes ;))


  9. Em sleeps with us still. We’re fine with that as well. We kind of enjoy it, actually. Plus, he sleeps the entire night that way. Occasionally he’ll wake up lately because he’s got teeth coming in EVERYWHERE. Poor bugger. He’s in pain a lot of the time these days. So fussy.

    The naps have to get better and they are slowly. I have to keep my act together as well and make sure he’s home and prepared for naptime. It’s tough. But we’ll make it happen. I hope.

    You know, though. That’s what it’s like having a baby, right? Sleep has to be tough for a while. I can’t complain that much, although I do. hahaha

    Ask TJ.

    He’s not so bad yet that I don’t want another one! heh!

    And, yes, Murray is fantastic. I love Murray. He’s my best pal.


  10. Oh my gosh! I think that’s the funniest Murray story yet. You are such a fantastic writer.

    We can’t do the CIO method either. I think we’ve tried 2-3 times, and I’ve lasted all of 5 minutes. Our son is 10 months and still gets rocked to sleep. He sleeps in his crib. He doesn’t sleep through the night yet. We would let him sleep with us in an instant if it meant he would sleep through, but he wiggles so much and is so restless with us and takes up so much room. So when he wakes we rock him and feed him and then we’re all back to sleep in 20 minutes. I know, we probably don’t need to feed him, but if it’s the difference between being awake for 20 minutes and 2 hours, well, I know what I’m doing. But sometimes in the middle of the night he’s still awake when I put him back down and he goes to sleep on his own. So he CAN do it. I think it’s the teething. He already has 8 teeth, quite a number for a babe his age.

    Good luck. If you feel like you can, please, please share what you think helps. Our son is starting to fight naps. What have you done to help with that?


  11. There is a fantastic entry on Ask Moxie, I think it’s called: The Down and Dirty On Sleep; where she goes into the building tension vs. releasing tension by crying.


  12. Pinwheel Murray!


  13. I will most definitely let you know, Erika. I can’t say I’m an expert or ever will be, but misery loves company right? heh

    I do know this and it seems to be the case, the longer they stay asleep during naptime, the more likely they will sleep easier and longer at night. So, as of late, what we’re focusing on is keeping him asleep during the day for longer than one hour. My guy hasn’t ever been a long napper. I am lucky if he sleeps past half an hour. But after reading that they sleep better all around (and longer) if they stay asleep for naps longer, we’re trying our hardest to make that happen, even if it means picking him up whenever he stirs from a nap and putting him on our lap for another half an hour. (This is precisely why I have managed to read THREE books over the past few weeks.)

    So, my only advice so far is if you can, as soon as you see your guy stir, pick him up, feed him, whatever you need to do and get him to nap longer. The goal is longer than an hour. We’ve managed to get him to sleep 2 plus hours this way! Granted, he’s attached to us for the second half of many naps. But it seems to be working, albeit slowly.

    I hope that makes sense. :]

    He’s also teething. Two popped out over the last week. I think that has a lot to do with his attitude lately. I know it would bug me!


  14. I love your last line—sounds like an excuse I would make!

    Good luck with sleeping. I have a fairly easy baby in that department but when I’ve hit bumps in the road I’ve discovered that sticking to a rock-solid schedule really helps. Teeth and learning to crawl have recently REALLY screwed up our sleep over here (one night she woke up to practice crawling and standing from 1 am to 5 am. UGH) but things, knock wood, seem to be getting back to normal…


  15. We tried the “cry it out” method w/Jack and he beat us down. After 6 hours we gave up (and our pedi yelled at us). We’ve co-slept since about 6 months old and I’ve loved every minute of it. Jack turns 3 is Sept., and we just last week bought his “big boy” bed. Guess what? Made the transition just fine. Sleeps all night and wakes about 6:00 asking for me. I had read that 3 was a good time to go to a big boy bead – they’re ready at that point.

    Don’t beat yourself up – get your sleep. Em will make the transition when ready.


  16. I’m sorry, but, 6 HOURS????!!!!

    We lasted 45 minutes once and that nearly sent us to the asylum.

    6 HOURS?!!!! Holy crap.


  17. I wanted to think of myself as an AP mom of sorts. We ended up cosleeping out of necessity since our DD just didn’t sleep well on her own. We tried CIO a couple of different times, and it just didn’t work. So, we were somewhat slaves to her sleeping schedule there for a while.

    We decided to try CIO one last time since our pediatrician (who we no longer see) told me now or never – don’t CIO now, you’ll never get her out of your bed. It was awful, but it worked.

    Now our DD is 3-1/2, and she’s being quite difficult at bedtime. I don’t blame her for not wanting to sleep by herself, but she doesn’t go to sleep if I stay in there, and she cries (and follows me out) if I leave. Grrrrrr!

    Ah, this too shall pass. Right?


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