Monday, February 26, 2018

Ferberizing Papa

Is “Ferberizing” still a thing?

Thirty years ago, Dr. Richard Ferber wrote an influential book advising parents to let their baby “cry it out” for specified periods before offering comfort. I vividly recall an elegant dinner party where the guests all dutifully ignored the banshee screams upstairs, as well as the mortified parental faces downstairs.

I don’t know if Ferberizing actually works. Every time we tried to put newborn Eleanor in the crib, her sobs and shrieks were too heart-breaking to find out. Instead, every night of her first year, Eleanor fell asleep in Daddy’s or Papa’s arms.

Last year I read a memoir by my contemporary and doppeler Rob Lowe. Among the many things we have in common are a passion for fatherhood, including its bedtime rituals. Lowe writes movingly about how his older son always insisted his father tuck him in bed with dad’s special burrito-blanket fold – until the inevitable day when his son said he didn’t need to be in a burrito to sleep any more.

As I tucked my son in bed last night I felt just like Rob Lowe, or maybe like Winnie the Pooh contemplating Christopher Robin’s looming betrayal:

            OLIVER:             Papa, I think next year we’ll stop cuddling at bedtime.

            PAPA:                 Next year? You mean on your birthday, or at New Years?

            OLIVER:             No, at the start of fifth grade. Well, maybe sixth grade.

            PAPA:                 That sounds good – we’ll be ready by middle school.

            OLIVER:             Yes, seventh grade would be too late. Or high school. College would definitely be too late.

                                             Long relieved pause

            OLIVER:             (Sleepily) Papa, how old do you have to be to drink alcohol?

No comments:

Post a Comment