Mission: Getting Toddler to Fall Asleep on His Own – Nights 3 and 4
The saga of trying to get our toddler to fall asleep on his own continues with Nights 3 and 4 of this educational experience….
t-1 minute: Smarty Pants is tired, but not as tired as Nights 1 and 2. He is still pretty sleepy as I sing him his good night song, but isn’t quite dozing off just yet. I finish the song, say “Goodnight” and “I love you,” and step out of the bed.
t=0 minutes: I sit myself slightly farther away from the bed, on the cold floor. Smarty Pants immediately crawls out of the bed and sits on my lap. Shoot. What now? The book didn’t cover this scenario.
t+2 minutes: Smarty Pants is still on my lap. I am not sure what to do.
t+3 minutes: I am reassuring Smarty Pants that he can sleep by himself, just like the last two nights. Me: “Did you sleep all by yourself last night?” Response: “Yes.” Me: “Do you think you can do it again?” Response: “I don’t want to again.” I feel like I have been shot through the heart.
t+4 minutes: I put Smarty Pants back into bed. Wailing, he climbs back out and onto my lap again. I am now sitting right beside the bed.
t+6 minutes: Put him back in the bed again. He climbs out again.
t+7 minutes: He is sitting on my lap silently. I am also silent. I wonder again if I am doing the right thing. The floor is cold. It would be so much easier to just go into bed with him. But I need to think long term.
t+8 minutes: I put him back into bed and he ain’t happy. I tell him to stay in bed, otherwise I will leave the room. I wish I didn’t have to use this threat, but it is the only way I can think of to get him to stay in the bed. He is upset, but stays in the bed this time.
t+11 minutes: He is still awake, but has settled down now. He’s lying in bed, staring at me in silence. I am right beside the bed. I close my eyes.
t+13 minutes: I am nearly falling asleep myself. I open my eyes to see if he’s still awake. His eyes are still wide open. I close my eyes again.
t+15 minutes: I open my eyes again to see this time that his eyes are closed. I wait, silently.
t+17 minutes: Pretty convinced he is asleep, I slowly get up and leave the room. Thinking, this is going to be a lot harder than I thought. Three nights, and I am at the same place that I started. Each night seems to be getting more difficult than the last. Wondering how long this is going to take. I feel I have to stay positive though… it will be worth it when he can fall asleep without our help.
Thought that was difficult? Night 4 brings a whole new twist…
Smarty Pants doesn’t want me to put him to bed tonight. He wants Mama to put him to bed. Wonder why? He knows whats going to happen when I put him to bed, and he’s trying to avoid it… hoping Mama won’t do the same as I have done for the past three nights. That’s why he’s called Smarty Pants.
Oh, and by the way, he’s REALLY tired. Cue 10 minutes of meltdown as we try to explain to him that Papa is going to put him to bed, not Mama.
t-5 minutes: He is settling down a bit as I read him a book and start to sing him a song.
t-2 minutes: He is really sleepy. I am almost finished the song.
t=0 minutes: Song finished. He is about 10 seconds away from falling asleep, and exhausted from the meltdown. I contemplate getting out of the bed before he falls asleep, but don’t have the heart or the will to put us through another meltdown. Especially knowing that he will be asleep quickly if I just stay in the bed for 10 more seconds. It has been a long day, and I would like it to end soon.
t+10 seconds: He is asleep. I am still in the bed. He fell asleep with me by his side. This may be a setback. Four nights and still no major progress.
t+1 minute: I get our of the bed and leave the room. He is fast asleep and doesn’t budge. I go to the kitchen for some dark chocolate. Wondering if that was really a setback and what Night 5 has in store for us….
**Flickr photo courtesy of Caroline on Crack
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