Sunday, January 9, 2011

Doing a (silent) happy dance

Alex's sleep is getting better. He's sleeping longer and it's getting easier to put him to bed. For the most part. Two nights ago, he didn't want to fall asleep. I tried all my usual methods, but it was a no-go. After an hour of rocking, singing, bum patting, shushing I needed a break. So I left Alex's room. "Mama" he called out. There was a long pause, then another "mama". Not loud, just like a "hello? you still there?". "Mama is still here" I called out to Alex from the kitchen. Then there was another pause, longer this time. More than a couple of minutes went by. "Mama?". I again reassured him I was still around. He did this maybe two more times. Then something completely miraculous and happy-dance worthy happened. He fell asleep.

He. Fell. Asleep. On his own. This is the first time he's done that at bedtime (He did it once a week ago after being up in the middle of the night for 3 hours).

Most of his little toddler friends have been falling asleep on their own for ages. Almost since birth for some of them. He's not like other babies. He's never let me put him down in his crib, happily babbling to himself as he drifts off to sleep. It was more like screaming. Wailing. Acting like I'm forcing him to listen to Nickelback all day long. Almost a year ago we tried Cry It Out (CIO), but after 2 hours of crying we couldn't do it. My bookshelf is full of baby sleep books. We called our method the No-Sleep Sleep Solution. Months later when he still wasn't sleeping through the night, my sister said the only way is the dreaded cry it out. She's a strong believer in it. I asked her "so once you get them to sleep finally at night, do you have to let them cry it out in the middle of the night too?". Hmm, she said, by then her kids were already sleeping through the night on their own when she did CIO. I just felt like there had to be another way. Dr Sears, attachment parenting guru, wrote that you should do what works for your family. Cry it out did not work for us (especially while Alex was still in our room with us). Eventually we were able to make a bit of space in our apartment, and we moved out of his room. At the same time I weaned him from breastfeeding. Then he started occasionally sleeping through the night.

We went from singing every song our sleep-deprived brains could think of. Then for the longest time I nursed him to sleep (which is BAD according to all those damn sleep books). Now he usually takes the bottle to sleep (BAD again). It's 15 minutes usually to get him to sleep. It won't last forever and soon he'll be too big to cuddle in my lap. I know he'll eventually fall asleep on his own, just like the other milestones. He'll get there on his own time, in his own way.  *If not, I'll have to be like the creepy mom in I love You Forever and sneak into his house and sing my grown son to sleep.