It's no secret that there's not a lot of sleeping going on in our house. We had to get the child that requires alarmingly little rest without compromising his energy level in the slightest. (And okay, it doesn't help at all that Topher has a friend his same age that will literally sleep for 16 straight hours.) Well, there have been some big changes around here recently.
1) First of all, we moved Topher from his crib to a twin bed a few weeks ago and noticed that he seemed happier and even slept a little longer in it. (I sold his crib last week on Craigslist and expected to feel a TINY bit sad about it, but the sadness never came. I TOLD you I'm not a baby person!)
2) Next we decided to attack his bedtime routine. We started being even more strict about lighting, times, and doing the exact same things every night. Lights were dimmed at 7:30, we would read scriptures at 8, then we would read Topher his books and turned the lights off completely at 8:30. Unfortunately, this still meant holding him on the couch for at least another hour until he finally gave up and fell asleep.
3) This last Friday I decided that we were all too miserable to continue on this way. I feel very strongly about not letting a child "cry it out" alone in a room, however. So when it was time for Topher to take a nap, I explained to him what was happening and I carried him up to his room for a nap and laid him down in his bed. He was NOT happy about this at all. For over an hour I stood right by his bed and made sure that he stayed in it, remained laying down, and avoided hitting his head against the walls (something he is prone to do when he is really very angry.) It was awful to see him so mad and frustrated (and okay, there was a point where I wondered if he was even possessed), but I felt better knowing that I was not abandoning him. I was literally RIGHT there the whole time. Finally, with my ears ringing and resolve weakening, I curled up at the end of his bed. He was snoring within 5 minutes.
4) Since that first incident he has only cried one more time whenever I have laid him down for a nap or for bed. Usually I will just curl up at the end of his bed for a little while until he doses off. Last night I even was able to leave him alone in his dark room for about 20 minutes while he was still awake and he didn't cry or get out of bed once. And now when he wakes up in the middle of the night, I can just go in there, change his diaper, lay at the foot of his bed, and he generally falls back asleep within 5 minutes. (This is a VAST improvement over carrying him downstairs and holding him on the couch where he could be up for an hour or much much longer.)
Maybe it has taken us over 25 months. Maybe we have complained more than any other parents in history. Maybe we made it so much harder than it had to be. Maybe I've prayed and pleaded for help with this problem for two years. Maybe we're just awful at this.
However, I believe we ARE moving in the right direction. And once we finally master this sleeping thing, no one will EVER appreciate sleep more than we will.
P.S. I do realize it has been nearly a month. Our camera broke and our computer is being less than cooperative lately. And unfortunately, cameras and computers are the two main ingredients of blogging. :) I will try to do some catching up soon. Thank goodness our phones take useable pictures!