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?