It’s 3 am, I’m rocking my 21 month old to sleep, are we on the looking glass, billy goat or horse and cart in this darn song? I know all the words (perk of motherhood) but they’re lost in my foggy brain. S. doesn’t usually wake in the middle of the night but what must have been a dream has woken her screaming, and brought me into the room. I was in a deep sleep and this disturbance is so unwelcome. My head rests against the hard wooden back of the rocking chair. Uncomfortable. My great desire is to be horizontal. Oh, how I’d love to carry her into the guest room (why wake hubby, too, in our room?) and lie down, snuggling to sleep. Wouldn’t that just be the best solution to this problem. NO!
The tiny inkling of a rational thought screams at me to be wise with number two. My son, just four, still comes into our room each night. We’re on Happy Face stickers now. Two if you can stay in your bed ALL night, one if you go back to sleep in your bed, without me lying down, on the first try. It’s slow going, painful to be consistent when sleep deprived.
We had good sleep habits at first. I followed the books when he was a baby and our nightly routine worked well. But newbies we were, ignorant of the most basic fact of sleep training: What you allow one night or two, quickly becomes habit and hard to undo! Charlie had a twin bed in his room along with his crib. When he woke at night, it was oh, so easy to climb into it with him, initiating a lovely snuggle and off to sleep. Who wouldn’t want to keep that up? Oh, yeah, until you try to climb out to return to bed and, oops, “Mommy!” And there we are.
When our son started climbing into our bed, we didn’t mind at first. How nice to snuggle and not bounce back and forth to his room. He’s not feeling well, he’s in a new developmental stage where he needs some extra attention. Yeah, right. If only it were possible to sleep with a flopping fish! The only way to break this habit is to return him to his room every time he comes in, no matter how many times it takes in a night. Consistency is key.
Back to my rocking chair. I muse to myself that if Sophie had a bed in her room along with the crib, we’d be in it now and a pattern would form. I realize that the only think keeping her good sleep habits is this hard rocking chair. I force myself to remain in it. After all, I can spend this time awake getting her back to sleep tonight, or postpone it six months when I’m trying to break her from wanting to sleep with me in a bed. In a few minutes, I’ll slowly return her to her crib, rub her back, and leave the room.
Okay, well, I did need to get her some warm milk, do you think she’ll wake for it tomorrow?