When Macboy was little, he was a very easy child. Partly because he was my only child at the time, but overall he was a pretty easy going boy. For the first few months, he slept with me a lot. I was nursing and the Trucker and I were not living together, so it was just the easiest option for me to get some sleep. When the time came to move to his crib, the adjustment took commitment, but it wasn't very hard to get him to sleep on his own. I could put him down sleepy and he would fall asleep. When he came out of the crib, he adjusted well to the big boy bed with just a story and a few snuggles at night. In fact, those short snuggles lasted for a long time.
Art was not a difficult baby, but he certainly wasn't as easy as Macboy. He made almost the same progression as Macboy from sleeping beside me to a cradle beside my bed, then the crib. I was unable to nurse him so there wasn't as much opportunity or need to pull him in beside me. The Trucker was living here by then as well, and my super paranoid mom brain couldn't take it. Those nights that Art did sleep between us I woke up in so much pain from holding my arm just above him with a hand out so that the Trucker couldn't roll back and on to him!
Art was not as easy to get to sleep. In fact, he is still hard to get to bed and he's almost 8. In the crib, he would play, even if there were no toys he'd find some imaginative way to occupy himself. I'd have to go back and lay him down again. Sometimes there were songs, some stories. Often I would sit with my arm squeezed through the rails and rub his back or pat his bottom until he finally drifted off. Then came the morning that I woke up and he was sitting on his dresser. Calling me out of my slumber through the baby monitor, just like any other day. Until I got to his room, of course! Imagine my shock at that sight! His dresser was about a foot and a half AWAY from his crib and the mattress was as low as it could get.
Yep, it was definitely time for a big kid bed.
That was painful. That was the day that Macboy's bedtime snuggles ended. Art would not stay in bed, or even in his room, for any amount of pleading. I tried all the tips from the books. Being silent. No eye contact, no words and just guide him back to bed. Yeah. Right. Just that easy. That book said a week or two should make a substantial difference. I did this for hours... for more than a month... and I ended up awake until at least midnight.... many, many nights. So, I gave up that trick. I tried slowly easing my way out of his room. First sitting on the side of his bed, then a few days later I'd move to the floor. A few more days and I'd start inching closer to the door. I had to sit for hours, again. He just did not go to sleep. And no, for the record, it was NOT because he needed to drop his naptime. He hadn't napped since the day he got out of the crib. Actually, I think most days he didn't sleep much IN the crib at naptime. I just penned him in!
I finally thought it was going to work, I was almost sitting in the doorway and he would stay in his bed. He wasn't sleeping, but he wasn't getting up. So, one day I bravely slipped around the corner. Completely out of sight. END. OF. THE. WORLD. That was the LAST time this trick worked. Night after night, I was inching back in to his room instead.
I felt like the worst parent EVER. I couldn't get this kid to sleep in any reasonable amount of time. I was tempted to just put a lock on the door and not pay attention to any noises or crying. But I'm a super paranoid sort, so that was just out of the question. Finally, I just caved in and laid down beside him every night. Most nights it was less than a half hour until he was snoring. Some nights longer, but still light years better than it was before. I had to make up my snuggle time with Macboy at other times as I was never able to get back to him. The minute I left Art, he was out of bed.
By the time I could actually get Art to stay in bed without me for at least a little time, Macboy was 'too old' for that stuff anyway. Sad to say... he still needs to be chased back to bed WAY too many times everyday.
Angel Baby was easy. A few months close to mommy, a few months in the bassinet, then straight to the crib in her own room. I could put her down wide awake in her crib and she'd go to sleep. Well, she'd dance and jump and rock for awhile but I didn't have to go back in there. When the crib broke, she transitioned into a big bed pretty easy. I learned fast that I needed to keep her in her room but I wasn't going to be in there like I was with Art. So I put a baby gate in her doorway. As long as the gate is there, she'll get in her bed, do her little rocking dance and go to sleep. It doesn't even have to be latched in or locked. I don't even have to cover the whole door way. If she sees that, she stays in bed.
But crazy as I am, I have decided that she is big enough to have the freedom. Here and there I have had nights with no gate at all. When she wakes up she comes to get me. I guess I'm having a harder time with her on this because she doesn't talk as much as the boys did at this age. I feel like I can't explain to her that she needs to get me first. I think I'm overthinking. I've never tried to explain it before and yet, that is what she does.
Every morning, when I get up, I remove the gate. She wakes up, goes to my room to see if I'm there and if I'm not, she comes upstairs. I am always the first person she looks for. I think she'll be fine. I think I might go insane and worry like the donkey that I usually am in the scenarios, but I think she will be just fine.
I'm not really ready for my last baby to grow up, but I'm not going to keep holding her back either. Wish me luck on this adventure! I'm definitely looking forward to not having any baby gates in my house! (at least, not for my own kids.)