To Sleep.March 30, 2011 at 11:44 am | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood), milestones, motherhood, My life | 13 Comments
O’s transition into his big boy bed has gone pretty well.
And by “pretty well,” I mean that once he’s asleep he’s pretty good about staying in his bed.
(Though, truthfully, I can’t be certain because this weekend we trashed the monitor, as it was starting to have random heart-stopping static episodes. I am convinced that my latest bout of insomnia is directly related to that.)
Okay, so once we’ve gotten him to sleep he’s good about staying in his room, anyway.
(We THINK. And for now, of course. I’m sure, like with all things kid-related, it’s going to change.)
However. The GETTING him to sleep part has gotten to be the REAL challenge.
When we transitioned to the toddler bed, O required us to be in his room with him until he fell asleep. We’d rock and read stories, then he’d get into his bed and we’d sit right next to him, waiting until he fell asleep.
I’d say, more often than not, he was asleep within a half hour of climbing into his bed.
By the very end of the Toddler Bed Era, though, he had stretched it out to 45 minutes. Some nights it took an hour. And I assumed that it was related to the bed, either he was cold or uncomfortable or whatever.
But J wasn’t really into it, and started to get more vocal about getting him to sleep in his bed on his own.
I was resistant to the idea.
Mostly because O would sob, really SOB, when we left the room early.
And I hate the idea of my kid NEEDS me and I’m not there to give him that comfort.
And plus. He’s THREE. I mean, if he were seven and doing this, yes, I’d have reason to be concerned. But he’s working on being independent in SO many things during the day that I don’t see the harm in being there when he actually needs me to be.
And, selfishly, I love the night time with O. It’s my favorite time with him, where we snuggle and hug and I can read him and kiss the top of his head and keep him warm and protected and loved. And I’m loathe to let that go.
However. We have noticed lately that his bedtimes are getting later and later. On the weekends, if we don’t limit his nap to an hour and a half, he’s up until 10pm.
And an hour in GOING to sleep is a LOOOOONNNNNG time to devote to being there for your kid. Because on a weeknight, when you’re a full time working parent, you try and cram a LOT of other things in that time every night. Dishes from dinner. The random load of laundry here and there. Lunches for the following day. Making coffee, recording receipts. Paying bills.
And THEN, maybe, just maybe, you can sit and actually, you know, TALK with your spouse before it’s bedtime.
So with the advent of the new bed, J thought it would be a good idea to try techniques for getting O to go to sleep without us. And though I confess I had reservations (and a pang of bittersweet “Hey! He CAN’T grow up and not NEED ME!”), I was game to try.
Initially we stayed there for a few minutes, then said we’d check on him. When I went in to check on him, he grabbed my hand and begged for me to stay. I stayed another 10 minutes, and when I left and closed the door, he followed me.
Thus began the hour of bringing him back into his room every 5 or 10 minutes or so until he was nearly comatose with sleep.
And the next night? He begged me to stay. And when I didn’t, he got up and looked for me. Then begged again.
And the night after that. And that. And that.
And, well, you get the picture.
So last night, after talking with J and deciding that okay, the whole Fall Asleep On His Own Like a Big Boy plan wasn’t working, I told O last night that I’d stay there as long as he needed me to.
And initially, I thought he was going to settle down and I’d be out of there in 15 or 20 minutes, tops.
Because he was TIRED.
Not so much, though.
Half hour later, he was still moving around.
It was like water torture. He’d be silent, unmoving, his breathing slowed and deepened, for two or three minutes. THEN all of a sudden, he’d move. And open his eyes.
It’s like he is TRYING to stay awake, I thought.
An HOUR later, when he was finally ASLEEP, I went and kissed his forehead.
He murmured to me, Mommy. Sit in the chair.
I told him it was okay, I was here. And he quieted down.
Two minutes later, he was fully asleep. And I could slip out of his room.
We’ve managed to give our kid a COMPLEX about falling asleep now.
And okay, he’ll figure it out, and we’ll get through it.
But for me? It really underscores the significance this fact: How we parent right now?
It really MATTERS.