For the past 6 months (well, until Christmas Eve) my kid was an awesome sleeper. I have written about the sleep training I did to get her transitioned from co-sleeping and nursing-all-night to sleeping in her own bed and eventually sleeping through the night (see the Sleeping tab at the top for much more).
Every night we finish the bedtime routine, I put her in bed still awake, I tell her I love her and goodnight, and I close the door. I marvel (and knock on wood) that she drops off to sleep on her own. I marvel (and knock on wood) the nights that I don't hear a peep until 6-ish in the morning. The nights I didn't usually meant teething, fever, stuffy nose, or some other malady needing attention.
Other than a couple of bumps in the road (nothing a night light couldn't solve), sleep wasn't much of an issue for us anymore.
Until mid-December. The unraveling began slowly. We started having some early wakeup issues when I started my vacation. Not fun when Mommie is finally on vacation and doesn't HAVE to wake up early. Other than a 5:30 wake up call from her room, though, she was still sleeping pretty well.
Then the napping started to be an issue. Most days I could still convince her to go to sleep in her crib if we were at home, and she would get a decent nap. If we were at Nan's it was more of a challenge. Christmas Eve she didn't nap at all.
But she was still going to sleep perfectly well at night. Occasionally a 3 am cry, and I would go pick her up and hug her, and she would go back to sleep.
So it was decided over dinner one night that she would spend the night at Nan's for New Years Eve. It would give Mommie a night out, a full night's sleep, and a chance to sleep in for once. It would give her the experience of sleeping away from Mommie, which we have never done before. Mommie was really looking forward to it.
To help Nan and Grandpa, I started preparing a series of short videos with hints on our bedtime routine. I didn't expect them to replicate the bedtime routine exactly, but I thought it would help if I showed them what I did to get the girl to go to sleep well at night.
(Also, I had a slightly ulterior motive. One day at Nan's when the wee one wouldn't go to sleep unless rocked to sleep on Nan's shoulder, I was bitching to the my dad about how my mom had screwed up the good napping by letting her do that. My dad replied "well, she thinks you just put her in her crib to cry herself to sleep. Perhaps the reality is somewhere in between." I wanted to prove to my mom that I really did just put her in her crib to go to sleep - without crying. The videos would show.)
So the Tuesday evening before the big sleepover, I located my camera and started the series of videos.
Some hints on preparing for bedtime.
One showing how we do the bath.
One showing what we do after the bath. I sometimes do lotion, unless she's shivering. Then I just try to get her dry and dressed as quickly as possible.
A photo showing that sometimes she does wear the hair wrap, but most of the time just pulls it off.
The concluding video would be dark, I knew, because by then we have turned the light way down in preparation for the wee one going into her bed and going to sleep. I tell the camera that we have finished eating the oatmeal snack, have finished reading the books, and the music has concluded. Now we have the ocean sounds on, I have her on my shoulder, and we are ready for the last step. I sing a song, lay her in bed ....
And she cries.
She doesn't normally do that. I don't want that on the video. So I shut of the camera, delete that video, and start again.
I repeat the same info, I sing a verse of the song. I lay her in her crib ...
And she cries. And says "Mommie, Mommie".
That was the first night that I had to revisit sleep training to get her to go to bed.
We tried again the next night to shoot the last video. The same ending. Crying, begging to be picked back up. That was the night I had to move the rocking chair back into her room - it hasn't been there in almost a year - and rock her to sleep. And back to sleep every time she woke up that night.
So I never posted the videos (until now). The sleepover never happened - I ended up sleeping at mom's with her that night. She woke up twice.
If you've been following my Twitter feed you know about all the other nights too. The 2 am waking where she was up for 2 hours. The impromptu slumber party because she simply couldn't go back to sleep. The night where she slept wrapped around my head. The nights that it took an hour of reading, an hour of bedtime routine, and yet another hour to get her to go to sleep. I feel almost immediately into bed after all of that.
I am happy to report that, after a week of being back to a regular schedule, our sleep issues seem largely resolved. It's pretty bad that it takes me going back to work to get us back on a regular routine. It proves how very much a standard day-to-day routine helps little ones bodies, and how too much of a good thing (i.e. vacation and grandparents and Christmas) can completely throw them off.
So now that we're back on track, I might try making the last video again. Knock on wood.