Sunday, August 15, 2010

The sleep dilemma

We are truly blessed by how well our little man sleeps. Well, in the past that is.  You see, we were the cocky parents who got plenty of sleep when he was first born. Only to be woken up every three or four hours to feed. He was sleeping through the night by three months old (mostly thanks to a progressive doctor and forward thinking, new age-y parenting by me) And the kid sleeps, like the dead all night long. Well, again, he did. You see making the move from California to Nevada the first time should have thrown off his perfect sleeping ritual. Or even the fact that we lived in a direct flight path of our airport, but after our normal routine of dinner, bath, and story time, E and I would sit in the rocking chair and he would fall asleep. Those were some of the best times I had with him.  I would sit there and hold him long passed the time he fell asleep and just hold onto my little boy with all my might. Truly blessed by his great sleep habits.

When the time came to make the transition between crib and toddler bed we thought it would be more difficult. Would he stay in his bed all night? Would he be up at ungodly hours staring us down in our sleep like a serial killer stalking his pray? We put up a gate on his door the first few weeks to *aid* the transition along some, but soon found he didn't need it. He stayed in his own bed until he awoke in the morning. Life was great. We had a kid who slept so perfectly!

Then we decided to move. And things got ugly, real quick.

First, Eth kept falling out of his toddler bed on a regular basis, prompting him to wake up in a rude fashion, and accordingly, come cry it out with mom and dad. So to solve this problem we used our twin sized air mattress in lieu of his tiny toddler mattress. (anyone who has seen my kid knows he's huge for his age)
When we first laid it out he was stoked....all this bed for ME? I'm sure that was what he thought by the look on his face. But we still had a toddler in our bed just about every night.

Then we were gone for the Christmas holiday. And instead of sleeping in his usual play yard at his auntie's house, he was just too damned big, so  in bed with mom and dad he slept. When we got home, the house was in such disarray that his normal sleep habits were not enforced. It became easy to just bring him to bed with me on nights when my husband was away. Eventually, we cleaned out his room and it was probably just too lonely for him to sleep in there by himself.  Then we moved.

Now we decided to get him a grown up bed once we had moved, since he has become accustom to this new way of sleeping. Good money spent on a great twin sized mattress for a not-quite-then-two-year-old. Now don't get me wrong here, that kid loves his bed. He jumps on it, rolls around on it, plays on it, reads, ect...but trying to get him to sleep the whole night through on it? Slim chance.

At some point, we just started laying with him in his bed to ease him to sleep. Yes, I know here most of you are shaking your heads thinking, well there is part of your mistake love! I already knew that, but pick your battles right? And when it's 11 pm and you have to be up at 4 am the next morning, you get pretty desperate! MMMkay? So this is where we are now.  Almost 7 months into our bad habits and starting to try our hand at sleep training, a thing many of you went through at 6 to 9 months old. And our first night? EPIC fail. Epic. I just ended up caving in and sleeping at the foot of his bed for half of the night, not very comfy kids!

It's not awful, him waking me up at 4 or 5 am, wanting to curl up with us in our bed. Nor is it really bad falling asleep with him in his bed, and then slinking off into our own bed later on. But he was such a good sleeper that I am trying very hard to reclaim my bed, and sleeping through the night un-interrupted.  I really want him to regain that independence. And yet at the same time, I cherish him wanting me, needing me to comfort him and cuddle him to sleep. He will not be my baby for much longer. I know this kid, he will be shoving me off him at 5! I want my baby to stay just that, my baby, for a little while longer. To have him come snuggle up to me, shoving me into awkward, tiny spaces in my bed, so tight that an astronaut would be uncomfortable. And, I love those mornings when I wake up in the middle of my man sandwich.

Tonight I'm lucky. He fell asleep, all 3'2" of him curled up on my chest, (at two he knows how great boobs are) fast asleep.  I let him stay put for almost an hour after he passed out, just relishing that moment, feeling him breath and twitch. Then I put him in his bed, and if I'm lucky he may just stay put all night long, but I won't mind much if he doesn't! Maybe sleep training can wait a while...

*I'd really love to hear anyone's thoughts, suggestions, critiques on this subject. I'm truly torn by the whole thing! Thanks ;)


  1. um, I have no clue how to help you being that I just have cats and they pretty much terrorize my sleeping. but I feel for ya!

  2. A little insight into my sleeping situation:

    Khalil will be 5 in October. Every night he crawls into bed and goes to sleep. We have never had to battle over pacis, bottles, or special sleeping toys/blankets. However, the above mentioned bed is MY bed. He has had a bassinet, crib, and a big boy bed all of which he has never used. Over the past few years, I have been greeted with drool crusted toothless smiles, dazed looks, midnight talking, a child wedged under me, and countless 6 am "Mommy, I love you"s. Do I get strange looks when I spill our dirty little family secret... yes I do. Have we set ourselves up for the ultimate battle (getting the kid out of the bed), yes. But he will most likely be our one and only, and I wouldn't change our sleeping situation for the world.