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17/52 – To Sleep or Not To Sleep

April 28, 2013

17/52 - To Sleep or Not To Sleep

This is so very uncharacteristic of the Doodle.  She fell asleep in the wrap in my arms during a dinner party at 7:30 pm on a Friday night.  If I wanted to collect any more evidence in support of my theory that this kid needs a little bit more sleep each day this was it.  Since we stopped nursing to sleep, her routine has been entirely upended, which has only been further complicated by yet another shift in her natural biorhythms.

As we neared our weaning date, I was nervous about how we’d get the Doodle to sleep.  While for most of her life she’s been a crappy sleeper, the sanity saver for us as parents is that getting her to sleep hasn’t been incredibly trying.  Until now that is.

For the most part, she’d nurse in her bed while I read, and she’d be out in 5-20 minutes.  In the month leading up to weaning, she would push out this pre-sleep nursing period longer and longer and longer each night.  Sometimes upwards of an hour or so each night to fall asleep. She was intensely wriggly and fidgety during these particularly long bedtimes.  It’s like she couldn’t get comfortable in her own skin.

On these evenings she’d actually stop nursing and curl in to me and eventually fall asleep in my arms.  We knew that once she weaned we’d not only have to grapple with needing to up our game in sleep inducing techniques, but that we’d also be grappling with finding the new sweet spot for the optimum number of sleep hours in a 24 hour period.

Right now we start the Doodle’s bed time routine at 8:30 pm.  We potty, brush our teeth, have a bath if needed (or really, if we can get this water loving kid to bathe willingly), and read 3 or so books in bed.  Then it’s lights out, a non-stop song request, then the Doodle will more often than not want a drink of water and another snack like a plum or granola bar, then we try to lie still as we cuddle and go to sleep.  Sometimes the toddler sleeps as soon as that plum is out of our hands, and sometimes it’s another hour.

The kiddo falls asleep somewhere between 9:30-10:20 pm every night.

I’d love to be in bed by 10pm every night, but I’d also like an hour or two to spend with the big kids, talk to my wife, or have some alone time for myself.  You know, I’d like to at least have the opportunity to consider sitting on my ass for 30 minutes with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and do absolutely nothing.

This has been thankfully accompanied by a shift in wake up time.  All winter long, the Doodle was up between 5:30 – 6:30 am and now we often to wake her up at 8:00 am to rush out of the house to get to daycare.  That is, if she hasn’t woken up at 7:30 am or so on her own.

We’ve also been working with daycare to reduce her nap to 1.5 hours from 2 hours.  On the weekends, sometimes she won’t nap at all.

I’d gather that in a  good 24-hour period the Doodle’s getting roughly 11.5-12 hours sleep.  On a bad day, around 10 hours.  And if she wasn’t horribly cranky and difficult to deal with some days in the 4:30 – 7:00 pm witching hour, I’d say we’d just have to suck it up and deal with it.  That she’s clearly established a new sleep and wake time.  But this kid is newly 2, tired and we could all benefit from just a smidge more sleep.

So my dear blog friends, how do you get your littles to go to sleep?

I’m working towards some sort of utopia where we can read her stories and then leave her in her room all on her ownsome to fall asleep, but for now, I’d love your thoughts on how to a) reduce our bedtime routine to about 30-40 minutes of hands-on parenting, and b) bump up the time she actually conks out to about 8:30-9:00 pm.

Because we could all use more time looking at our kids when they’re as sweet at this.  No?

Sleepy head

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2013 7:02 am

    I wasn’t planning on commenting because I gather, from reading your blog, that our parenting philosophies are different enough that what works for us might not fit for you but I couldn’t not comment after that last
    Picture. SO CUTE!!! Absolutely ADORABLE!

    I hope you find something that works & fits.

    • May 9, 2013 10:25 am

      I think I love your comment. It totally made me laugh. That being said, I’d really love to hear what you do. Sometimes my best parenting is co-opted. Other times it’s a mish-mash of others solutions.

  2. May 5, 2013 11:41 pm

    I wish I had some magical advice to give you. I am sorry sleep has been so hard for you. We did sleep train, but we did it long ago and Juju was always a good sleeper. A s&^%ty nurser, but a good sleeper. It all evens out, I suppose.

    I found this link on facebook and thought it might be helpful? https://www.facebook.com/goodnightsleepsite. She says to ask all your sleep questions. Might be worthwhile. Good luck. I hope you’re all better rested soon.

    • May 9, 2013 10:27 am

      I’ll definitely check that link out. Thanks for sharing.

      The Doodle’s not such a shitty sleeper these days. She’s up usually only once per night and it’s usually because she has to pee. She’s back asleep in a snap in the middle of the night. It’s just this crap-tastic going to bed routine!

  3. May 12, 2013 6:39 am

    Lol… I’m with you on the parenting being a mish mash of things. My earlier comment made it sound like we had some organizing philosophy which isn’t what I intended. What I was getting at is that I felt you might be closer to attachment/ non-CIO parenting than we are.
    In any event, like the other commenter we sleep trained early I.e. 3 months. And we’ve had good sleepers since.
    When we’ve gone if schedule in vacation or something, on the first day back, we start to remind her (she’s 22months) in the evening about bedtime I.e. ‘It’s almost bedtime. after bath i’m going to read you 2 books, sing 2 songs and then mama is going to kiss you and put you down so mama can get some rest too. Okay?”. And wait until she acknowledges the plan. I don’t let her change the subject until we discuss the plan. If she refuses to acknowledge the plan,
    I simply do the same thing again and then remind her again as we are starting the bedtime routine. Then before the last song, I tell her ‘this is the last song. After, I’m going to kiss you and say goodnight so I can get some rest too.” I give her a sec to acknowledge it, if she does I carry on with the plan. If she says no, I remind her that its the plan and I need to rest too. Then i sing, give her a kiss and put her down even if she’s protesting.
    And, we don’t go back in the room. If she cries frantically for more than 10 minutes, I’ll go in and i dont ask what she wants because she’ll say “mama no go”i just say “do you want another kiss?” If she says something else I say “I can give you a kiss or a hug and then you can go to sleep” and if she still doesn’t pick one. I decide for her, do what I’ve chosen and then leave again. She may cry when I leave again but she eventually falls asleep and when we do the same thing the next day, she knows that we are serious. And, if she cries at all, its for a few minutes and I try not to go in at all and by day 3 crying has ceased and order us restored to our bedtime.

    What we do at bedtime is consistent with how we discipline and parent generally so its not a shock to our kids. We try to keep to our word both when its something they want or something we want but a cornerstone of that is that we accept that crying is a key coping mechanism for kids and it doesn’t mean they are hurt or that our relationship will be compromised because we let them cry. Sometimes it means ‘I’m very angry that you are not doing what I want and I want you to do what I want right now!”
    I have friends who are great parents with amazing kids who are attachment style parent
    And it works for them but wouldn’t work for us. But if you don’t agree with or interpretation of what crying means then sleep training will seem cruel. That’s the reason why I’ve described our thoughts on that. You have to buy that or the guilt of your child crying will do you in which means its not the right strategy.
    Now I’m rambling… Lol. But guess what, my baby is crying the ‘where the hell are you, I’m awake cry.” So, here I go to get her.

  4. May 15, 2013 4:53 pm

    Weaning definitely makes going to bed harder. Bunny is clinging to his books now (“Boo! Boo! Boo!”) and cries if I stop reading the one he wants me to read (which of course often changes mid-book) and then cries again (despite warnings) when I put the last book down and turn out the lights.

    Except last night. He was a monster because he hadn’t napped, so I thought bedtime would be even harder then usual. But when I said “time to put the books away,” he put the one in his hands on the headboard and let me turn out the lights. Fingers crossed that this is not just because he was overtired, but is actually the sign of a new trend!

    • May 17, 2013 8:23 am

      Here here for a new trend! Sometimes I get so frustrated by a certain phase or stage, because I forget how short lived some things can be.

      What I’m realizing is that it takes the Doodle one month to adjust to a new routine, or even a variation on an old routine.

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