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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bed transition - update

This is for those of you who are interested, as well as for my own attempts to keep track of what we're doing that works and what doesn't work. Our first night of transitioning Ben to a big boy bed was a bit of a long night. I slept pretty good the first part of the night, until about 1am. That was when I heard the boys' bedroom door open. In my half-sleep disorientation, I jumped out of bed and ran through our living room and down the hall, hoping to get to Ben before he stumbled into something in the dark. And, luckily, in the process I didn't stumble into anything myself! He had barely closed the door behind him when I scooped him up and took him back to his bed. He was being really talkative, which was making it really difficult to get him settled down. I had been hopeful that it'd only take me 10 minutes before he'd be fast asleep and I could go back to the comfort of my own bed. Not so lucky.

I made five attempts to leave his room, when I thought he was asleep enough not to notice, and before I could get to the door, he was awake and making his way to the door with me. On that fifth attempt I had to use the bathroom so bad and was so tired and uncomfortable from laying down next to him in awkward positions, that I left him and hoped he'd just stay put. I was really surprised to come out and see that I'd been in there for two hours. That was when I decided to ask Marc to take a turn with him.

I tossed and turned the rest of the night, waiting for Marc to come back, but he ended up falling asleep with Ben until morning. I guess being non-pregnant made a difference in the comfort level.

Thursday night we repeated the bedtime routine from the night before and we both laid down with Ben expecting it to just be a 10-minute process. But, since he'd had a three hour nap that afternoon he wasn't nearly as exhausted. After 10 minutes Marc had to get back to a work project, so I stayed with Ben until he fell asleep. An hour and a half later I emerged from his room, admittedly a bit annoyed and impatient that it took him so long to fall asleep. But, that night he slept through the night and didn't come out until 6am when he woke up.

Friday night I let Marc have a turn laying down with him, which ended up taking about an hour. But we were both starting to feel like it was becoming a bit of a game and making Ben more distracted and dependent on us being there than we wanted him to be. So, we decided it was time to switch things up a little for our routine tonight.

7:00-ish - baths are done, scriptures are read, prayers are said, and snuggle time begins.

7:17pm - We say good night and leave the room.

Between 7:24 and 8:26pm - Ben comes out 25 times and Marc patiently and stoically takes him back to bed. There were about a dozen other moments when he opened the door and shut it again on his own without coming all the way out. By around 8pm he was getting a little fussy, a sure sign that tiredness was starting to hit.

9:00pm - After a half hour of complete silence I went in to put him in his bed, because I was fairly sure that he'd fallen asleep right by the door. In the process of carefully pushing the door open, he woke up and became really frantic when we tried to continue what we'd been doing of laying him down and leaving the room.

So, I caved and laid down with him. As soon as he realized I was laying down with him he wiped his tears and leaned in to kiss me and then cuddled his face right up against mine. I hummed a calming lullaby and within ten minutes his breathing was heavy enough that I thought I was safe to leave. Before I could get to the door he was up and running towards me, totally in a panic.

So, I went back and laid down with him again. I kissed him on the forehead and whispered, "go night night, baby." He then very sweetly brought both arms up and around my neck and pulled me close and would not let go. So, I stayed and cuddled him back to sleep. Again, when I tried to leave, he woke up just as I got to his door. So, the next time, I put his sock monkey in one arm and laid his Elmo next to his other arm. And, rather than laying down, I just sat next to him. It was obvious that he was exhausted by how quickly he was falling asleep. It was just that his radar of being left alone was on a high alert.

9:45pm - On my third attempt to come out, he woke up again, so Marc took a turn going in with him.

10:25pm - Marc emerges without Ben waking up. Success! Well, kind of, I guess.

I'm not really sure what this means for our night tonight, if he'll be so zonked out that he'll sleep through the night like he has been or if our efforts were more traumatizing than we intended and he'll wake up in a panic at some point. And, at this point, I'm really not sure what our plan will be for tomorrow night. But, somehow, someway, we'll all make it through this transition successfully. Hopefully sooner than later.


Erica said...

Put a child lock on the inside doorknob. Then even if he wakes up he can't get out and eventually will go back to sleep on his own w/o waking you up.

Inkling said...

This transition is soooo hard, I know. Too many nights, I've had to go in and wake up my husband to get him to come back to our bed after he's fallen asleep waiting for our little guy to give it up for the night.

What has helped us is an idea called the "Brave Box". It came about after a hospital visit that involved needles and was super traumatic for my little guy. But basically what it is, is a big boot box filled with neat little things from the dollar store (straws, a book, construction paper, a wooden box to paint, packages of character napkins, kazoos, a big bouncy ball, a big set of plastic/rubbery jacks, etc.) that my little guy can choose from if he goes to bed without us needing to be in there the whole time and if he stays in bed. We don't use it every night, though we did in the beginning. Now we just use it when he's having extra difficulty feeling brave enough to stay in bed without us. It works fairly well, though I'll admit to being discouraged when he said to me, "Mama, I don't want the Brave Box in the morning. I want you to stay with me all night and all day."

But it's an idea that might buy you a tiny bit of sanity. Maybe? I keep reminding myself that he will be brave enough to sleep on his own by the time he's driving, and that he will be potty trained by college. In other words, I'm trying to remember to treasure this season, even though it is hard.

Here's hoping you guys get back to nights of good sleep soon!

JessicaP said...

Oh, the neck-aches and back-aches and side-aches and all-around-aches I've had from sleeping with little ones at night. I hope Ben finds the independent sleeper in himself soon...goodness and I know it can take time with some kids.

Tim, Annie, Jack said...

Good Idea to take turns. Ben is so lucky to have a mom and a dad that will lay with him till he falls asleep!

Carrot Jello said...

Just know that eventually they will stay in their beds.
I remember falling asleep on the floor or in a bed with every single one of my children. I'd try to sneak out, and they'd catch me :S
Now they all go to sleep by themselves.
I wouldn't recommend locking them inside their room. That could cause a lot of anxiety.

The Katy Daileys said...

For this transition we would make conditions. For example: If you stay in bed, the door stays open. If you get out of bed the door has to be closed. Or, same could be applied to whatever he cares most about...night light, hall light, etc. That makes it so much easier on you guys, and helps him to see consequences to getting out of bed (but not horrible, traumatic ones if you can find the right thing). Good luck! This too shall pass!