Monday, March 18, 2013

Baby's Sleepy Time

Once you become a parent, it's funny what you forget in so little time. Lalo is 5 years old now, and I don't remember how I used to get her to sleep when she was 2 years old...just 3 years ago! I remember that, for at least the first few years, she slept on the couch during daytime naps, because she refused to be in another room alone. We'd have to put dining table chairs filled with one pillow each up against the couch to keep her from falling off. Lalo would never sleep in her crib.

I do remember one night when we tried the "let her cry it out" routine, as everyone suggested was best. She was probably about 9 months old. She sat up in the crib, looking through the bars, like a little prisoner, crying and crying. It probably took her several hours to go to sleep...Phillip and I laying in our bed in the next room with our hearts absolutely breaking! I remember that when she finally fell asleep, I went into her room and she was sitting up, with her head against the crib bars, slumped over forward asleep. I promised myself that I'd rather do anything than put her through that again...I didn't care what anyone else thought about it! So, she slept with us until she was at least 2 years old. But, I don't remember whether I just laid her down and let her go to sleep on her own or if I rocked her to sleep then put her in bed. I remember us rocking her, because we bought a recliner/rocker for that purpose; but, I don't remember if that was just while she was an infant or if we continued that process with her.

She was probably 2 to 2 1/2 years old before we couldn't stand her tossing and turning, feet in our ribs, etc. She was communicating with us so well by then, talking so clearly and using so many words and sentences, that we were able to get her all excited about getting a "big girl bed". We simply bought a twin mattress, put it directly on her bedroom floor (so she wouldn't get hurt if she fell off), and put a bed rail up. To get her to sleep in her new bed, we followed the recommendation of someone else by sitting in a chair near her bed, not making eye contact, and waiting for her to fall asleep. If she got out of bed, we'd simply put her back in bed, and wouldn't talk to her while doing so. We would move the chair closer and closer to the bedroom door about once a week. Then, we eventually stood in the hallway, out of her sight. She never cried or anything with this method. She would get out of bed, see us in the hallway, and we'd put her back in bed. Eventually, she stopped getting up. We assume it simply gave her the comfort that we were right there, so there was no need to be afraid to sleep in her own bed. Bubby on the other hand has been NOTHING like that...

I guess it really doesn't matter whether I remember, because nothing about our second child has been the same as the first. Bubby is almost 2 years old now, and he still has to be rocked to sleep. He simply refuses to just be laid down whether it be a nap during the day or going to sleep at night. If we even attempt to put him in his bed for a nap, without rocking him to sleep, he just keeps getting up. And, he's such a light sleeper that, with Lalo in the house, there's no way I can let him sleep on the couch. If we put him in his bed at night, then leave the room or even sit in a chair, he cries and screams. Or, he'll make a game out of it, and when you bend down to pick him up, he just laughs and runs back to his bed.

But, he'll go right to sleep on his own at night if one of us is laying in his floor. Yes, I have a bed of couch cushions and some blankets in his bedroom floor. Sometimes when he wakes up at night, and I take him back to his bed, he'll even (with eyes half open) point to the cushions and mumble "down" But, other than the laying in his floor thing, he has to be rocked to sleep. And, with Lalo, I definitely don't remember feeling so tired that I rocked myself to sleep at the same time; I do this sometimes before Bubby even goes to He also wakes up about 2-4 times each night though, which Lalo didn't do, so that explains my constant fatigue with this kiddo.

I find myself so torn about Bubby's bedtime rituals though. Lord willing, we do not plan to have more children, so I think about a time when my children will no longer need me to sleep in their bedroom floor. A time when they're too grown up to want the closeness of Mommy in the room. And, Bubby is such a good cuddler that I really try to appreciate being close to him. Lalo has always been very independent and not much of a cuddler. But, at the same time, I don't know how much longer my back can take Bubby's floor! Even with cushions, it's still not the most comfortable place to be for any length of time. And, he still wakes up often, which breaks my sleeping pattern. It's a tug and pull kind of relationship, but all worth it when he cracks that little grin :)

If you have a little toddler in your house, how do you get them to sleep for naps/at night? Do you battle with sleeping or waking habits?

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1 comment:

  1. Different things have worked for different children. Gabby had a hard time when we transitioned her out of our bed at 14 months. She was and still is a VERY active sleeper, so we reached a point where NONE of use were sleeping because of how she'd move, etc. in bed at night. We used to have to hold her in our arms and BOUNCE up and down for about 15-20 minutes before she'd fall asleep. Then there was a time when we'd have to lean over the crib and pat her bottom. If we moved away too soon, she'd reach her little arm around and pat her bottom to let us know that we shouldn't stop! lol

    Eventually she got it though. Aron slept with us until he was over 2. Then I was pregnant and needed more space in the bed for comfort. He was okay though most of the time since Gabby was in the room with him. For months after though, he'd come back and want to climb in bed with me in the middle of the night, so I made a little nest of blankets and pillows in the floor next to my side of the bed where he could just come in and lie down and still be near me if he wanted to. Once Lydia was born, he'd still come in there from time to time. Eventually he just stopped coming in.

    With Lydia, it took a lot of walking her back to bed, etc. when we transitioned her a few months ago. She still comes in and lies with me at some point in the night. I don't really mind though. They all will get it eventually and I'm in no rush. :)

    As for naps, I'm pretty strict there. Go to bed, stay in bed for at least an hour. If she gets up, I put her back. Rinse and repeat as often as necessary until she stays. Sometimes this involves crying, but I don't leave her to scream. I calmly tell her, "you are sleepy, it's time for nigh-night. We'll cuddle after your nap." It works. I don't have much trouble with her. All of my kids have napped until age 5-6 though so I think they are used to me sending them to bed for them. :P