I’ve waited nine days to talk about this because I didn’t want to jinx it.
My toddler sleeps at night.
I know, you’re shocked that this is news. Why wouldn’t my 2.5-year-old be able to sleep? What’s wrong with her/me? Well, nothing/plenty.
Our latest “method” of going to sleep was to do the whole bedtime routine, then I would tuck her in bed and sit in a chair in her room with my Kindle till she passed out. Mostly it was fine and didn’t take too long. Unless it did. I’d come downstairs, the life force sucked out of me, because she would be laying calmly in her bed but just couldn’t fall asleep, and if I made a move for the door, she’d say, “Stay ina rocking chair, Mommy!” and back I’d go. If she woke up at night, the same thing, or more likely I’d just crawl into bed with her because I was too tired to wait her out.
One evening last week I realized I had been there for an hour and I was just over it. I told her my body was uncomfortable (oh, it was) and I needed to go. It was super late and she was really tired, and for the first time, there was no protest when I left the room. Okay then! I made a new plan. I was going to start leaving after tucking her in. It had worked on and off for naptime before. If she cried, I would wait and listen until she was done, but I’d keep making to leave the second she was calm. Something like this.
But she never cried. Barely protested. Naptime, Bedtime, whatever. We’d rock in the dark for five minutes to get her in the zone, singing and talking, and then I’d tuck her in, listen to her pray (oh, my heavens, that is cute), and then I’d say, “I have to go clean the kitchen,” and I’d leave. She was fine. Every time.
Sometimes she says, “Stay ina rocking chair, Mommy!” and I’m all, “I have to clean the living room!” and I go, and sometimes I actually clean the living room because I have all this time and energy and will to live.
So then we tackled night wakings, cause hell, we’re on a roll. We ordered this little piece of magic off Amazon and waited impatiently for its arrival.
Audrey thinks it’s awesome. And it is. It’s like a little clock with two scenes on it. At night, it lights up with a picture of a bunny sleeping in bed. At the time you choose in the morning, a picture of an awake and playing bunny lights up. When the bunny’s sleeping, child, you sleep. When the bunny wakes up, you can open your door and wake up Mommy and Daddy. Genius.
She still woke up at night. But this time, I would come in, ask her what the bunny was doing, put her back to bed, and leave. She was fine. If she woke up in the morning, but before I wanted to be up, I’d ask her about the bunny and tell her to watch for when he woke up, maybe even telling her if she only had 20 minutes to go. I’d hear her talking to herself until 7:00 on the dot when I’d hear, “The bunny wakes up! The bunny wakes up!” Two nights ago, she only woke up a little early in the morning, not at all at night.
And then last night? Didn’t hear from her all night. Heard her wake up unhappy in the morning but not call to me. Heard her talking and singing and playing for at least a half hour before that bunny woke up and she opened her door.
I told her how amazing she was for waiting till the bunny woke up and she shouted, “We did it!”
I LOVE THAT BUNNY.
Look, I know nothing’s forever. In a while, she’ll grow old enough for nightmares, or other problems. But this has been sweet. It makes me think of every other night transition I made with her: out of my bed and into her room (15 months), cutting off night nursing (soon after), not laying down with her till she falls asleep (a couple months ago), and how truly easy they were. Yes, maybe because I waited to do those things quite a long time, and maybe because she has a really confident, easygoing personality. But I think I could have done them all a tad sooner. Not when she was a few months old or anything. But definitely sooner.
I think the next kid will get nudged along the path a little more quickly. Assuming he has a similar personalty and needs, of course, but…sooner, baby.