Friday, January 23, 2015

sleep training

No I am NOT referring to infant sleep training! And this is certainly not a "how-to" post. Because anyone that knows me knows I have NO IDEA how to sleep train an infant! Let's be honest here...Hannah slept (for naps) in her bouncy seat in the bathroom (with the fan running) for the first six months of her life! And she was my third baby. Clearly I have NO qualifications to educate others on sleep training. No this is about sleep training my seven, four and two year old. Or maybe more accurately how they sleep trained ME over the past six months. And now how we are trying to change that....because a 2-3 hour bedtime routine just isn't going to happen once baby brother is here! (And I hope he makes his appearance soon. Very soon!) Not to mention it is completely ridiculous.

Let me just start out by saying that once upon a time not so long ago, we had a very normal bedtime routine with our children. We would get pajamas on, read a few books, brush teeth, say bedtime prayers, tuck our children into their beds, give them a kiss goodnight and walk away. And magically our children would fall asleep ON THEIR OWN and stay asleep all night. Of course there was the occasional request for water or a bad dream. But it was all very easy and manageable. I honestly didn't give it much thought. It was just bedtime. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

Nowadays I look back at those times fondly. I miss those nights!!! Why didn't I appreciate how easy I had it then?!? Because right now our "bedtime routine" is a disaster! Embarrassingly so.

It all began when we moved in with my parents (end of August). Hannah had recently learned how to climb out of her bed (pack n play). And by climb out I mean this girl is a complete monkey! I would lay her down and she would be out of her pack n play before I walked out the bedroom door! So I would pick her up and put her back in...only to repeat this process another 30+ times in a ten minute time period. To say it was exasperating was/is a major understatement! I quickly discovered that if I sat in the rocking chair in the kids' room it would decrease the number of times she escaped. It did NOT eliminate the problem, just minimized it. So began the "mommy-sits-in-the-rocking-chair-until-all-three-children-are-asleep" bedtime routine. Which wouldn't be so bad except it took on average two to three hours! Two to three HOURS!!! Ridiculousness I tell you! 

And yet I let this "routine" drag on for six months! Six months I sat in that uncomfortable and tippy rocking chair for HOURS each night. I would sit guard. Watching and waiting...and playing on my phone:) Now don't get me wrong, I do love some "me time" on my phone, but even I ran out of things to do on my phone for hours in a dark room every night. Plus it wasn't exactly relaxing...constantly putting Hannah back in bed. So most nights by the time my children finally all fell asleep (between 9:30 & 10:30!) I would crawl into my bed and call it a night. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my evenings!

All of THAT^^ to say...we had a major bedtime problem. And I knew it needed fixing. I just didn't know HOW to fix it. So I took the easy way out....I told Joe he needed to fix it. (Because that's what he does. He fixes my mistakes. And I love him for it). So the first night he was home this week I left right before the kids' bedtime. I went to a "Moms Night In" and asked Joe to put all the kids to bed WITHOUT sitting in the rocking chair. And he did it. Just like that. He put the kids in their beds, told them he wouldn't sit in the chair and walked out! He then proceeded to check on the kids every 2-5 minutes - to keep them in their beds - until they fell asleep...a mere 60 minutes later! Oh and there were very few tears and NO tantrums! 

When I got home that night and he gave me the bedtime report I nearly fell over shocked! It all seemed too good to be true. 60 minutes and NO rocking chair!!! I thought maybe it was a fluke. But then last night I used his method. And it worked AGAIN! And in less time...

Yes I timed it. And it was so gratifying. I will probably keep timing it because I am in AWE of this whole new & improved process!!! It's like a miracle. A bedtime miracle:) Now obviously going in and checking every few minutes isn't ideal but it is SO MUCH BETTER than before. I will take it. Gladly. 

As you can imagine nap time with Hannah had also become a process over these past 6 months. Well less of a process because I typically just gave in and napped too (in Isaiah's bed). Which was great...except some days I actually wanted to get something done with my afternoon! Some days. Most days a nap was fine by me:) Thanks to our rocking chair detox program/sleep training Hannah is now going down for nap on her own without a fight!!! The first day it took a mere thirty minutes. And by the third day it was down to 10 MINUTES without me checking on her once. Again this feels nothing short of miraculous. And to celebrate I spent nap time sewing!!

Aren't my boys going to be adorable in their matching bow ties?

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