Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sleeping in her own bed

Tonight as I was trying to sneak out of Astrid's bedroom she said to me, "Goodnight Mom. I'll see you in the morning. Can you turn the light off?"

Oh my gosh, my daughter is a big girl now!

When she was born both U. and I agreed that we didn't want a baby sleeping with us in our bed. We'd heard horror stories from friends and didn't want that for ourselves.

We setup a routine as soon as we could and Astrid slept in her crib and then her own bed. Then over a year ago things changed. Astrid traveled with U. to Germany to see his dying mother and pay his last respects. She died not too long after that. Astrid had night terrors after that and was traumatized by the experience. She continued to have night terrors when she got home, so we let her sleep in our bed. That setup a bad habit. It was easier to let her sleep in our bed then it was to go through a whole ordeal and lots of tears and tantrums to get her to sleep in her own bed. We thought she would go back to sleeping in her bed, but realized unless we went back to the routine it would never happen.

So we started with baby steps, Astrid had to go to sleep in her own bed, and she could come into ours if she woke up in the night. We got her a dream catcher, and hung it in her bedroom window to help catch the bad dreams in the webbing, so no bad dreams to get through and they'd melt away with the morning sun. That helped a little. Until she had bad dreams again and told me the dream catcher didn't work. Then she would sleep and come into our bed in the morning. Whenever she would protest that she couldn't sleep all by herself, I reminded her that she did when she was a baby and she could as a big girl.

Friends of ours with a kid around the same age have the same issue. Their take on it is that their kid won't be little forever, and will one day not want to be so close to them, so they permit it.

It can be very sweet to sleep with your kid. They're warm & snuggly and there's so much love and tenderness there. To watch Astrid sleep takes my breath away sometimes, she looks so sweet an innocent, a little angel. But the reality is it never gave U. and I time to ourselves in the evenings, and one of us would end up on the couch when Astrid would crawl into our bed, because there wasn't enough room for all 3 of us to be comfortable. After a year of that things had to change back to the way we tried to hard to get to - her sleeping in her own bed.

In the process, she would cry like a banshee every time she heard me try to sneak out after she'd just fallen asleep - after hours of trying to get her to sleep with reading, songs, back rubs, her sleep sheep playing the song of rain. She'd cry out, "Don't leave!" I was getting frustrated, and more times than I'd like to admit I fell asleep in her bed - being exhausted and waiting for the moment when she would fall asleep - I'd put myself to sleep.

The past couple days she has slept through the night again in her own bed. I've tried to make her bed the most comfortable, cozy place on earth with a new blanket and pillow, and U. put up the canopy again that makes it like a kid cave. (We took it off in the summer when it got too hot, but now it's Fall and nights are cooler.) Recently my mom bought her a winter blanket that is pink and super soft, with a matching super soft, pink pillowcase. She crawled into bed and had no qualms about going to sleep tonight.

We're also reading "The Wizard of Oz". The book has great illustrations and it's long so I read pages to her each night, and we continue where we left off each night. She saw the movie with her nanny so she knows the story, which captivates her imagination.

And I sing to her which I've done since she was a newborn.

Keeping my fingers crossed that this sticks - so U. & I can get a good night's sleep and hope the little one does too in her own bed.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Great job on that! ...

J still sleeps in the master bedroom with mama .. while I have been banned based on alleged snoring charges ... I wonder WHEN he will ever want to sleep by himself ...