My daughter is 16 months old, so by now, we have a decent handle on sleeping. For “sleep training”, we did a mix of nursing to sleep and cry it out – depending what we thought would work best on a given day. Sleep training, in general, is an odd concept to me, since every person is different, so you can’t really use a specific methodology that will work for every kid. I still have trouble falling to sleep on some nights, so I can’t imagine why I’d expect my daughter to be some saintly sleeper.
In any case, she is now accustomed to her specific bedtime routine:
- Go to the bathroom and clean up
- We give her a bath twice a week. And on days that don’t involve a bath, we brush her teeth and wipe her face, ears, hands and feet
- Change her diaper
- We use cloth diapers, which I’ll be sure to write about on another date
- Get into pajamas
- Read a book
- We read the same book every night for one week at a time
- Say goodnight to everything in the room
- Mostly just the decor on the walls, since it’s easier to do as we walk around holding her
- We rub her back for a few minutes if she’s still wide wake or cranky and needs calmed down
She doesn’t always go through the routine reluctantly. Some days are better than others, but for the most part, it works. She gets to sleep, and we get to do what we need to around the house before we go to bed (the routine starts around 7:45 PM and ends between 8:15 and 8:30 – we go to bed around 11:00).
What doesn’t always work out so well is the morning wake up. The magical days are when she sleeps until 8:00 AM. Those mornings are like little pockets of gooey chocolate in a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. The hellish days are the ones where she wakes up at 7:30 AM and starts babbling. Yes, it’s only 30 minutes, but it’s mind-blowing how much that tiny difference makes.
Now, I should note, I’m talking about weekends here. On weekdays, I’m usually up and out the door by 7:30, and in a bad mood because I push this lack-of-sleep onto myself. But weekend sleep is the most glorious of things for a parent. It’s the most sacred of events and should be treated as a gift from the gods. But when you are looking forward to it, and your kid wakes up earlier than expected, it’s like you were shoved off the top of a mountain falling to your inevitable doom.
On those mornings, I get my daughter and bring her into bed with us and hope that she’ll lay quietly for a bit longer. Otherwise, we’re up and ready to spend some solid time with our little angel.
Aside: I realize that we are quite lucky with our sleep situation, but sometimes, you gotta complain about nothing.