So, after the ups and downs of our Saturday night attempts to get Ben settled for the night he ended up sleeping through the night and woke up at 7:05am.
We decided we'd try to remain as consistent as possible with our routine on Sunday night and wait on trying anything new at this point. After gently explaining to Ben that it was time to sleep and he needed to stay in his bed, as I got up to leave his room he literally ran after me and slipped his little fingers around the door to keep me from closing it. It is SO hard to be firm in moments like this, but we've learned from experiences with Ben that consistency and keeping with a schedule really works for him.
I carefully moved his fingers from the door and reminded him again that it was time to sleep. I closed the door and stayed there for less than a minute to keep him from coming all the way out, but as soon as I heard him leave the door, I went and paced the living room sure that he'd be out any minute.
Then, Ben started crying and then Hugh started crying, which on the first night we learned that when Hugh started crying (twice) it was because Ben had climbed into the crib with Hugh. But last night we thought Hugh was just upset because Ben was upset and we were sure Ben was going to attempt to come out any minute, so we just waited for a little while (maybe 15 minutes).
At that point it sounded like Ben was saying "down", so Marc went in to check on him. He had climbed into the crib and was crying from there, all while Hugh had laid himself down on the far end and was already fast asleep, even amidst Ben's crying. Marc got him out and laid him down on his bed and told him it was time to sleep and then came back out. Again, we fully expected Ben to come out, but after a minute of protesting it got quiet and we didn't hear a peep from him for the rest of the night. That was 7:45pm and he ended up sleeping until 7:15am this morning. I went in to check on him a little later and he was snuggled up on his bed with his blanket and his two favorite stuffed animals.
We were able to understand better after last night that Ben climbing into the crib with Hugh must have been Ben's way of telling us of some fears and insecurities he was feeling with this transition. I felt some terrible mother guilt once I saw the whole situation from his perspective. I really felt like crying and was determined that we'd approach this whole bed transition more gradually and give him time to feel secure with the change.
Well, if we thought last night went smoothly, tonight was a piece of cake. We did all the normal stuff - scriptures, prayer, storybooks, songs, cuddling - and just when I was about to get up and leave, Ben patted his pillow and begged me to stay, so I sat down next to him and ran my fingers through his hair and sang him two more verses of his favorite lullaby, telling him over and over how much I loved him. He calmed right down and after making sure he had Elmo and his sock monkey in each arm, asking if he was going to go night-night with Elmo and his sock monkey, he even giggled a little. I wasn't sure if it was enough, but I left him at that point and was totally shocked that he didn't follow me to the door, he didn't cry and we didn't hear anything from him at all. That hasn't ever happened - even when he was in his crib.
I don't know if the coming nights will go quite as smoothly, but I've decided it doesn't matter. I think my mind made a way bigger deal out of this whole transition than it needed to. I'll blame it on pregnancy and my fear of never sleeping again once July comes, which I see now is just silly and ridiculous. I clearly value my sleep - and I value my kids' need for sleep and my role in helping them get the sleep they need to be happy - as well as the sleep I need to be happy. BUT, even more than that I've come to realize through this whole situation that I value providing a feeling of safety, of security, of love. And, coming to that realization (even if a little delayed) is the greater sign of success here.