Okay, so do you remember the “Sleep Must Happen” series? It was that traumatizing phase of development where Elizabeth decided she could NOT possible go to sleep on her own, much less with out holding my face? Do you remember this, because I do! I remember feeling like I would never get any work done again. I thought either Elizabeth or I would have to give up a normal bedtime. Either she would have to go to sleep after I finished my homework or I would have to go to sleep at 8pm instead of 11pm. I thought I could never handle her crying it out for less that seven minutes. I thought I would hate myself forever for making her learn to go to sleep on her own. Most of all, I knew something had to change for life to stop being a stressful vortex of procrastination and late assignments.
Do you remember the conclusion to series? It started with one hysterical night where Elizabeth was refusing to go to sleep and I was crying and Brian was desperately trying to drag me to the car so we could drive around and get her to sleep. (I don’t know if I shared those gruesome details or not..) We drove around for two hours. While we drove we talked, argued, deliberated and decided how we were going to fix this problem.
The solution: We enacted a brand new bedtime routing. The routine included a wind down time followed by a bath. Then we went to the bedroom to finish drying off and put on pajamas. Upon arrival in the bedroom, soothing music would be playing and the lights would be low. Then we would hold her and cuddle her. Then it was bedtime. We put her down and slipped out of the bedroom. She would have to go to sleep on her own.
The plan worked beautifully! Now we do that, sometimes leaving out quiet time or bath time, sometimes adding a snack, sometimes cuddling for an extra few minutes. She is out within a few minutes every night.
Of course we aren’t militant monsters. If she had a rough day or doesn’t feel good we are flexible. We take care of her physical and emotional needs first. And once in a while, if she wants to stay up late and cuddle while we watch a kid friendly movie we let her.
So that was the end of that story…….
Tonight though, I had a flashback to the holding my face days. Only tonight the moment was precious.
I was in bed taking a nap. It was getting close to her bedtime. (Yes, I know, taking a nap around her bedtime is probably silly, why don’t I just go to bed early?) She came into the bedroom and climbed into bed with one of her favorite books. She had be read her book. Then she laid on my shoulder and put her arm under my head. I loved on her and she cuddled with me. I tickled her face and arms. She was surrounded by three lovies (favorite stuffed animals) and chose to cuddle with me. She eventually fell asleep snuggled right next to me.
I stayed with her for awhile but then I was successfully able to carry her to bed without waking her up. Well, she woke up once, looked at me and went back to sleep.
I love my job!
Now, doesn’t that just make you stick you bottom lip out and think (or say) one of those extended “awwwwwwwww”s?