Monday, June 13, 2011

Bedtime Stories

So, it has been awhile since I have posted anything on the blog. Shame on me! I have been so busy with life that I forgot to update you all on it. There have been some pretty big developments on the Orlaith front. As most of you know, we have been co-sleeping with Orlaith since she was born. She never spent a night in her crib… EVER. My husband and I both love having her close, snuggling and just staring at our sleeping angel.

A week ago, our air conditioning went out. It was still working, but blowing hot air. This had happened before, and a complicated series of turning things off and on usually did the trick. Not that night though. It was super hot in our house, and I couldn’t bare the thought of that hot little baby snuggling up to me all night when it was upwards of 85 degrees. So, I stripped her down to her diaper and put her down in her bed. I say bed because I had just switched her from a crib to a toddler bed earlier that day. I totally expected that she would wake up at some point in the night screaming. Imagine my surprise when my alarm went off the next morning and she was still sound asleep in her bed! So, I struggled with my selfish feelings of keeping my baby close to me all night, versus the fact that we obviously had a window to start putting her to sleep in her own bed at night. The logical part of me won out and I decided that it was time. She was obviously ready to sleep alone. But was I?

The next night, I started telling Orlaith we would be going “night night” soon. I told her what to expect – saying good night to daddy, going potty, putting on a diaper, reading a book and then going to sleep. After each thing was completed, I would say “Okay, now we are going to do X, Y and Z” so she knew exactly what to expect. That night when I laid her down she started to cry. I sat right beside her bed and told her everything was okay. I hugged her when she needed it, and rubbed her back when she was lying down. The tears stopped after a couple of minutes. She settled down, with me snuggling her, and she passed out. She stayed asleep all night again. The next night, we went through the same routine, except the tears only lasted about 20 seconds. The next night, we were down to 5 seconds, and by the next night no crying at all! Every night I sat by her bed and waited until she fell asleep. We had a successful full week of Orlaith sleeping in her toddler bed every night. She only woke up one night because her teeth were hurting.

Last night, Sunday, started week 2 of sleeping in her own bed. Orlaith typically goes to sleep at 9. Imagine my surprise when at 8:20 she walks up to me, blanket in hand and tells me “Night Night”. I asked her, quite surprised, if she was ready to go night night. She responded with huge nod yes and proceeded to walk to her room and try to climb in bed. I had to remind her of our bedtime ritual. We went potty, put on a diaper, read a book and I laid her down. As I tried to rub her back, she told me no and pushed my hand away. She wanted to go to sleep on her own, without me touching her. I obliged, sadly. I sat there until she passed out. It took a little while longer than normal because it was still light outside. As soon as the room started to darken, her breathing slowed and her stirring stopped. My sweet baby girl is growing up all too quickly.

So that is our story of how we went from co-sleeping to an independent sleeper, quite by accident. My husband and I were talking and laughing last night… thinking of all the people who scolded us for co-sleeping. I can’t even count the number of people who felt the need to tell us we would regret ever letting her into our bed. She would be 8, 10, 21 (the ages invariably got older with each warning) and still sleeping with us. I am a firm believer that attachment parenting, which includes co-sleeping, leads to confident, independent children who are not afraid of change. They trust in us as parents to make decisions that are good for them. They know that we are there if they need us. They are not afraid to try things because they know we are right there, standing in the distance watching them succeed, and we are ready to pick them up if they fall down. They know this, and they flourish.


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