"How Can You Have Too Many Children? That's Like Saying You Have Too Many Flowers" ~ Mother Teresa

A Peek Into Our Hectic, Crazy & Loving Family of Eleven


Monday, June 28, 2010

Hypocrisy, Eating My Words & And Apology

I have debated about this post for days. Half of me says 'write it, it's important'. The other half of me, the ashamed, chicken shit half of me, says 'no way, hide in the closet, do not speak of what you've done'.

It seems that hypocrisy is a word familiar to me. I posted about it here when the triplets were born and I had to leave the hospital to come home to get some rest.

I also posted a few weeks ago about a very controversial subject, CIO.

In that post, I said "I WILL NEVER DO IT".

Well, I did it. I am not proud. I am not happy. Even though, it seems to have 'worked'. I am not relieved. Not yet. I am ashamed, sad and judgemental. Now of myself. I hope that feeling goes away soon.
We have tried EVERYTHING to get these babies to sleep. Noise machine, car rides, wearing them, rocking, pacing, the dryer, binkies. All that worked was me and the boob. But these babies are not only children. They are #7, #8 and #9. They have to make adjustments to our family too. Sounds harsh, but for 7 months we have been literally catering to them, which is NECESSARY for babies, don't get me wrong, but when it's affecting our entire family to the point of complete and total dysfunctionality, it's time to make some changes. Not fun changes, but necessary ones.

You may be asking yourself, what got you to that point? Honestly? Besides exhaustion. My mental well being. I felt thisclose to cracking. I've never in my life experienced a mental breakdown, but I'm pretty sure what I was feeling was close. I cried all the time. I yelled at my other children, alot. I was never happy. I even wrote my husband an email telling him I couldn't handle this anymore and that I was leaving. Yep. I did. Now, a person in their right mind could see how leaving, with the 3 babies and the toddlers, would accomplish nothing. I was not in my right mind. I was literally losing it. Ask any of my Facebook friends. They saw my pleas for help. I'm actually surprised that CPS never showed up at my door. I am not one to ask for help. Ever. So when I am pleading for it, you know something must not be right. My husband saw this, and told me we had to do something fast before our whole family fell apart.

All this because of 3 tiny humans that would not sleep.

We made ourselves a checklist. We found some resources on the internet and used them.

•Am I content with the way things are, or am I becoming resentful, angry, or frustrated? I was becoming angry, resentful AND frustrated. NONE of these things makes for a good mommy. In fact, those 3 things alone are a recipe for disaster when parenting triplets.

•Is my baby’s nighttime routine negatively affecting my marriage, my job, or my relationships with my other children? Yes, yes and yes. Aaron and I were not even talking. My job is my children. When I spent 5-7 hours a day putting babies to sleep, I never saw my kids. Which partners with the relationship question. I need to be a mommy to ALL NINE of my kids, not just the triplets.

•Is my baby happy, healthy, and seemingly well rested? No, yes and no. Grumpy grumpy babies. Almost always. They wanted to take up to 15 naps a day because they weren't getting any sleep. They are all very healthy so that did play a part in this decision.

•Am I happy, healthy, and well rested? No, no and no. I was not happy and enjoying my life or my kids. My mental health was suffering and I haven't slept in months. Not for more than an hour at a time.

•What is a reasonable expectation for my baby at his/her age? At 7 months, these babies SHOULD be able to fall asleep on their own and stay asleep for at least 4 hours.

•What naptime and bedtime situation would I consider “acceptable”? Falling asleep without assistance from the boob. After 3-4 hours, I do feed them/cuddle them/bring them into my bed.

•What naptime and bedtime situation would I consider “pure bliss”? Just what I stated above

•Why do I want to change my baby’s sleep patterns? Is it truly what’s best for me and my baby, or am I doing this to meet someone else’s expectations? This is what is best for our entire family. Including the babies. Babies need SLEEP.

•Am I willing and able to be patient and make a gradual, gentle change for my baby if that means no crying? Willing, yes. Able, no. I am alone during the day with 5 kids under the age of 4.
This is the 'list' we looked at. Our answers to these questions are in red.

So, given all that, we made the decision to CIO. I know, I know. Believe me, I KNOW.
I am fully prepared for the comments that are sure to follow this post. I considered turning off the comments so that I didn't have to face up to what I did, but then decided not to. Post what you must, but believe me, I am my own worst critic. I do know that this solution sucked. It sucked BIG TIME, trust me, I was the one sitting here crying with the baby monitor in my hands. My babies were the ones crying in their cribs. But as a friend said to me 'You've never raised triplets before, your doing your best' and as I keep saying to myself 'Having multiples sure changes the 'rules' of AP'. I do wish that my best felt good enough, just once. I do my best day after day after day, and it feels like I am always letting someone down no matter how hard I try.
It has been 3 days now. The babies still cry when we lay them down. It still breaks my heart. And we are still working on it. I've given myself 5 days. If they are still sad in 5 days, I'm done. But they are getting better. The most they cry for is about 20 minutes right now. And it's not screaming crying. It's some crying with alot of baby bitching in between. And when they wake up, they are smiling. They are still happy. They still love us.
I will say that I would NEVER EVER EVER condone CIO in babies younger than 6 months. NEVER. To be honest, I still don't condone it. I know, hypocrisy at it's best. It seems I am good at talking the talk but not so much at walking the walk.
CIO should never be done out of convenience. It really should be a last resort. If at all.
I stick by my original post that CIO is harmful to babies, and I HATE myself for doing it. But I had to consider the alternative. A mentally healthy mommy is pretty damn important too.
So, to anyone that HAD to use CIO, with no other options, I am sorry. I am sorry that you had to go through that. I am sorry that your babies had to go through that. Now that I have been there done that, I know the stress it causes and I wish that kind of pain and stress on nobody. No baby, no mommy, no daddy, and no family.
Our new routine? Just so nobody thinks I am completely heartless:
Upon waking, from either a nap or nighttime, I nurse them. Then we play. And cuddle. And take walks. When they start to get tired, I nurse them all again. (and whenever they want as they are playing, we still nurse on demand) Since they all have to sleep together, in our room, ( 9 kids and a 4 bedroom house) they do have to get accustomed to sleeping through each others noises.) They will always be sharing a room. Then we turn on the sound machine, their projectors that put a picture on the ceiling and lay them down, in their cribs with their little Carters animal head lovies that they like to suck on, tell them we love them, smother them with kisses and hugs, say Night Night, and walk out.
Right now, they still cry. I'm hoping and praying it gets better. Soon.
As they awaken in the night, I bring them to bed with me and feed them, on demand, as usual.
What has this 'gotten me'?
Time with my family. For the first time in almost a year, I can tuck my toddlers into bed. I can say goodnight to Noah. I can watch a movie with Madeline. I can talk to my husband. I can talk with Joey about soccer. I can hang out with Juliette.
I feel myself slowly getting better mentally. Yes, the process of CIO is a whole new stress, but it's one that will dissipate soon. I hope. I hope to forgive myself. Being able to heal as a family should help that. Again, I hope.
And hopefully, the benefits of rested, happy babies will outweigh the damage of CIO. I can only hope.


  1. Part of being a parent is saying "I'll never" and "I won't" and then realizing that each and every child is different and every situation is different. Don't be too hard on yourself!! We all get to a point where we learn and grow and do what's best for our kids!

    I too was against CIO when my first was born and my bedtime routine got so horrible that I had to let her CIO. She was about 7 months old and figured it out really quick. You and your babies will be happier and healthier!!!

    Good job mama!!

  2. Nicole, I love you! I love you for parenting and loving your kids..all of them...so passionately! You should know by now that I am for YOU and WHAT works for YOU!

    Babies change. Their needs change. Your kids change. Their needs change. And our needs change too. But that doesn't change "WHO" you are and what you stand for.

    We've talked about the age that the babies are at and that with the 6-7month stage we can breath a little easier that they can handle some change as well. Whatever the change is and however you do it...

    I'm so glad that you are listening to what your body and mind are telling you...just that something needs to change to make you healthier and happier as well. You are an amazing Mom, Nicole. No One can disagree with that!

    You've been on my heart alot lately and I've been praying for you! HUGS!

  3. Please don't beat yourself up about this! You obviously love all of your children and have to make choices that benefit all of them. You have to take studies with a grain of salt. What did the researchers call CIO? Where those parents also making other choices that affected their children in a negative way? I think that your girls will greatly benefit from being a part of a large happy family even if they have to fuss a little and wait their turn from time to time.
    I enjoy reading your blog! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow. That was really unexpected.
    I'm not going to judge you, I've never had nine children and I've never had triplets.
    You've done an amazing job holding it all together for 7 months on that previous routine!
    As I said in a previous comment, I CIO with my first-born, naively following the advice of others instead of trusting my own instincts. Over 5 years on I still feel guilty when I think about it, but as I said in that previous post, she is an amazing, perfect, affectionate and well adjusted 6 year old now and I've realised it is time to let the guilt go. She is fine and unharmed by those 3 nights of CIO.
    Part of our role as parents is to make these heartbreaking choices for the greater good.
    I feel for you and I hope it works. Good luck!

  5. Nic-just hugs from me. I've been there too-just not to the extent you are. Also-another major point is that your MARRIAGE is a priority too-You need to have that connection with Aaron in order to keep your sanity too. And not build resentment or frustration. He needs it from you and you need it from him. Your other kids deserve a happy functioning mom too. The babies are not 2 weeks old-they are fully capable of being with out you for a little bit snuggling in their beds. None of this helps you feel okay about it though-I know. I sat outside the door a few nights in my time saying "just 3 minutes more then I'm going in". Of course mine were fine and didn't scream-just complaining like it sounds like yours are. And they are wonderful sleepers now. Hooray! <3

  6. Aw hun!
    Please don't beat yourself up over this. I know you will...but I hope you get to a point (very soon!) where you realise you are doing the best for you AND your babies AND your other 6 babies AND your husband.

    It seems clear to me that CIO is well and truly an absolute last resort for you guys, and that says a lot. You aren't doing this because you can't be bothered cuddling them, or are putting yourself first, or because someone else is pressuring you, or cuz 'that's how my mum did it and we turned out fine'...your babies aren't newborns and I imagine you aren't leaving them for hours crying because 'the book says not to pick them up'.....I don't know you, but to me it sounds like you are doing the best you can and that this decision is not just about you- it's about what's best for the triplets as well, like you said they need sleep, and your other children and relationship with your husband.

    Whenever you have to make a hard choice like this, it will take time to get used to and be ok with, but I hope that in a few months when you are looking back on this, you will see so much that this was the best thing you could do for everyone!!!

    Hang in there wonderful Mama :-)

    PS I doubt anyone will leave negative comments for you about this- if they do, they clearly haven't been reading all your posts, and are very judgmental- NOT people whose opinions you need anyway!

  7. I'm sure this was an incredibly difficult decision, but I hope no one judges you for this. I am really amazed you were able to keep it up for 7 months; as agonizing as this decision must have been, it makes a ton of sense for the reasons you mentioned. I'm also proud of you for having the courage to write this post; there might be others who face a similar agonizing decision and your post might help them know they're not alone. Hope your girls do start sleeping well soon and that you're able to enjoy this new gift of time.

  8. I'm impressed by your honesty. I was like you - I had a baby and nursed her non-stop. No crying, co-sleeping, total guilt over any moment I wasn't meeting her every need. Then I had twins. A two year old and two babies was enough to put me over the edge. I lasted until they were a year before I couldn't take it anymore. It was the day I realized that I didn't want to play or sing or do anything to entertain my kids during the day because I was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open.

    I realized that sleep was a necessity - something that my entire family - me and the babes - needed. That the utter lack of sleep was keeping me from being a good mother and them from being happy kids. There were nights with crying - and there were nights when I scooped them up and held them and we cried together. We made it through - and you will too.

    Again - I know it is hard to eat your words - but as mothers we learn that what is best for our family is best for us. Good for you for your commitment to your family and best wishes for an easy transition.

  9. Nicole, I love this post. You did what you had to do for your family. For all of you. I hope this is the start of a good balance for you. I hope the girls cooperate and learn to fall asleep on their own. Love you!

  10. Another post that reminds me exactly why I read your blog. You always make me realise that I (like you) am doing a good job. It takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately we try to achieve the work of a village in a nuclear situation.... There is no way we can meet our own ideals.

    Don't hate yourself. You are doing a brilliant job.

  11. I admire you for putting yourself out there - first in sharing your feelings against CIO and now with relaying that you used it.
    I share a lot of your feelings about CIO, and yet I get it. My twin girls are now 14 months and have yet to STTN. Just last night, I was probably up 20 times in a span of 3 hours. And I'm getting to the point where I just can't do it anymore. Just like you, I'm angry, resentful and TIRED. I still hope to find a sleep solution that doesn't involve CIO, but I don't have an ounce of judgement for you. I get it ... and like others have said, I don't have triplets or other children.

  12. What an amazing post, thanks so much for sharing what you're going through. What a difficult decision, but I agree with everyone else - though it was hard, defintely the right thing for your WHOLE family (and for your mental health...and I 100% agree that a sane mamma is key to a healthy family). Hope this passes quickly!

  13. I am glad that the only person who's opinion you seem to respect (yours) is getting to you. Now maybe you will understand how your judgmental attitude makes others feel.

  14. Jennifer, my being judgemental will never change. If more people would stand up for our children, then maybe things could change in this world. 'BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THIS WORLD' and if being judgmental is what it takes, I will be judgemental.

    I still believe that CIO is not a good solution. Sadly, in my case, it was the only one we could come up with. I would love to have been able to come up with another one. But now, hopefully, others can learn from what I have done and not take the decision to CIO so lightly. And I do respect others opinions, I just dont have to agree with them, nor do you have to agree with mine. And when I dont agree, I voice it. Again, this is my blog to write as I wish and it is everyones choice to read it. If what I write hurts your feelings you may make the choice to not read it. Im not forcing anyone to sit at their computer and read my blog.

  15. Nicole- don't beat yourself up about it! Your doing the best you can. And like you posted NOT doing CIO wasn't working. You are also not a parent who yells at her other children all day long, and is grumpy. Your also one not to ignore your other children either, and you had to spend quite a bit of time with your toddler unattended so you could tend to the babies. Good for doing what you can to make the best situation for your entire family. With multiples everything changes. Don't forget those little ladies are tough. They were all squished together in utero, and have to share your attention all the time. These few days of them learning to sleep on their own won't kill them, and all around it will be beneficial for EVERYONE.

  16. Thank you everyone for your support. It's truly appreciated. The girls are doing really well. Right now thet cry for maybe 5-10 mins with the 'baby bitching' mixed in. They are sleeping for about 45 mins-an hour at naps and 3-4 initially at night. After that tho, it's on and off the boob all night. lol.

  17. Using a Mahatma Gandhi quote in order to justify being judgmental is so incredibly ignorant. He did not say "force your opinions on others and try to make them be the change you want to see in the world". He said BE the change, not judge other people who are not the change. He also said "Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected".

    The dime store psychology that you use when people disagree with your or call you judgmental is laughable. Not everyone who disagrees with you and is annoyed by your arrogance feels some sort of shame, guilt or even takes offense to what you said. I am not offended. I simply think it's funny that you decided to have nine kids and now you're making parenting choices that you would judge others for making because you think having triplets exempts you. It's hysterical. I simply wanted to point it out, because I don't quote Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa and then act like a pious moron.

  18. Arrogance? I am not arrogant, I am confident. There is a difference.

    I do not think having triplet exempts me from anything. I have tried my hardest to treat these 3 babies as if they are singletons since birth. I am merely stating that there comes a point when there has to be some give.

    If you would read my posts and take them as what they are, a mom with 9 kids just posting my thoughts and feelings and wishes and desires. My frustrations and vents.

    I am human.

    Are you?

  19. And, Ghandhi said BE the change. Who are you to say this is not my way of BEING that change?

  20. Well I have come to the conclusion that jenniferjoneswashere is made up and just follows and blog bashes and needs to seriously go get a life of her own. Can you put a block on her ?

  21. LOL I guess if the change you want to see in the world is self proclaimed judgmental women having more kids then clearly they can handle while abandoning the morals that they judge other people on, then I guess you're doing exactly what Gandhi said :)

    I think there's a way to block people Tiffany. Though, I am not sure. It shouldn't be an issue as I said what I wanted & have no need to hold a conversation with someone who is only flexible when it suits her own needs.

    Have a good one gals.

  22. Why block her? She will just get another user name and write more as she feels just.

    And I DO NOT have more kids than I can clearly handle. I am handling them all just fine. I have to make some adjustments, yes. And while I may not like them, I do it for the sake of my children and because I love them.

    I am not hiding behind a false ID just to go and bash peoples opinions.

  23. Hey mama! I have followed your blog for a good while now, with some admiration, with some *hmmmm* moments also, We do what we have to do to survive :P

    Life learns us some lessons sometimes, and thats ok :) For our first child I was a demand-feeding, pretty much baby-wearing mum. We then found out we were expecting twins. Unexpectedly, a neighbour gave me 'On Becoming Babywise - the revised edition' I have read your opinion of this book, have you actually had a chance to read it? I got to peruse the book before I even knew there was controversy surrounding it, so I had no pre-formed opinions of it. It truly was my savior. I demand-fed my babies, to a routine. (its possible!) The most they ever 'cried' was ONE night, at 11wks old, hubby and I had separated I was alone with a 2yr old who STILL didnt sleep through, and was feeding 3hrly (or sooner) around the clock. It was 3am in the morning (digital clock by the bed) and they started. I was so tired, shattered and emotionally shot (also battling thrush, mastitis and bleeding nipples)I couldnt physically lift my body out of bed. They cried (a bit more then a grizzle, but not a scream)for 9 and 11mins respectively. And slept through til 6am. They then consistently slept through from 10pm-6am with not a snuffle. The book or the clock never dictated the time I fed my boys, I simply read it and used or adjusted what parts I could to meet my needs/wants for my parenting. We've gone on to have 2 other children who I also used this 'method' with, adjusting as needed to suit the childs personality, and our needs as a whole family.

    I wish you well with your darling children/hubby/life. You are doing soooo so well :) xx

  24. Deina thank you :)

    I totally have some Hmmm moments too. Especially when I go back and read posts from a few months ago lol.

    I do admit that I havent read Babywise cover to cover. I have reads parts here and there and didnt like what I read. Having a few friends that used it and shared their experiences didnt help my opinion. It seemed brutal.

    But, like any parenting resource, be it a book, the internet or whatever, you should always use your judgement. Sounds like you found your nitch with that book :)

    I truly think my first mistake was not letting the trips 'baby bitch' early on in their life. I ran to pick them up at every whimper.

    Now I know :)

    Too bad I wont be having triplets again, I could do it so much better the 2nd time around :)

  25. @Jenniferjoneswashere... If you don't like what she has to say, then quit reading her blog.

  26. I don't come read your blog often, and mostly just lurk here and there. I don't have a ton of time for blog reading, but my mom had twins and I like to read about other AP mamas too. I wanted to comment here though. I don't agree with CIO, and it's something I've always said is one thing I will never ever resort too. But I would never judge a mom of multiples until I had walked in their shoes. ;) My (now) almost 3 year old woke up every 2 hours to nurse until she was over 2, and still wakes up more than our baby (now 4 months old) some nights. I lucked out with my baby. She often sleeps 4-6 hour stretches. We cosleep and nurse on demand, so with just one waking that much it wasn't too big of a deal because I could just roll over and stick my boob in her mouth and go back to sleep.

    Anyway, the reason I'm posting is because I wonder if something like this might work for you (even though he says it's only for older babies): http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html It might work better for Rosalie maybe? It's supposed to be a way of sleep training without much cio, though it certainly isn't instant and can take a couple of weeks. I've never tried it, though when I found out I was pregnant I did a bit of a modified version with my older daughter as I was worried new baby would wake up as much as her and that would be problematic. So I stretched out his plan over several months and never did have any crying with it. With only one child at the time I had that luxury though, and like I said earlier, she still does wake up some nights to nurse.