(If you want the short story: I am ready for Lola to be able to sleep in her own bed, Lola and I are working hard to make this happen and keep everyone happy and as sane as possible. We are doing a good job. Have high hopes everything will be where it needs to be by the time baby arrives.)
Note to self: If you get tempted to co-sleep with this next sweet baby, then read this.
With 10 weeks left of my pregnancy I know that the time is now to help Lola learn to finally sleep by herself. Oh boy, was I scared to start this process but more than scared, really ready actually. I know- it’s hard to believe after almost 3 years I would be ready to have my bed back and my space while I sleep. (no co-sleeping in the future with anymore babies. ever. sorry kids. it’s for your own good.) I was pretty stern with Clay and Lola about the seriousness of coming up with a realistic game plan and sticking to it. I have learned after 2.5 years that consistency is key. I know everyone says that, but it’s true. They both knew I meant business. I ordered a book, which I am currently reading, that is a no-cry sleep solution book for toddlers and preschoolers- not babies. Hooray! (For those that will, go ahead and make fun of me—but I highly recommend the book.) I have enjoyed it and it’s a great guide and encouragement that I am not alone and Lola is not unusual. It has helped me stay consistent and cope. (Laughing)
So first step to better sleep for everyone was preparing Lola… for like a month. Every day we talked about how mommy needs to sleep in bed with daddy and Lola needs to sleep in her bed and the baby will sleep in his/her bed. Everyone in their own room. We talked about how Caillou sleeps in his big boy bed and every time we read a book or saw a cartoon where a child was being tucked in and then left to fall asleep how that was a good thing and everyone was happy. So a month went by and by the end of the month, she knew her time was coming. It was actually very helpful.
Next line of business was Lola and I off to shop- at the mattress store. So, Clay and I have a Tempurpedic mattress and I LOVE it and Lola has slept on it since she was 3 days old. Seriously. So why would she feel comfortable on her mattress which is soft and lumpy when she has slept on our firm mattress all her life. She knew immediately when she was in her bed versus ours. So we went to look and she laid on several and we made a big, FUN deal out of picking her out the perfect mattress. She really, really loved this for some reason. So we picked one that was like ours and with Daddy’s permission took the expensive gamble that it would help. I was convinced it would make a difference. No one could talk me down from it. I think Clay knew that. Haha- he might have thought it didn’t matter… but now we both have realized it does seem to make a good amount of difference. Fabulous news. Investment is paying off. Funny story about the mattress shopping- when we got in the car I told Lola they would deliver her mattress on Saturday and how fun it would be. We would fix pancakes and clean her room and get ready for her new bed… she was so excited and couldn’t wait… but then got a real worried look and asked “But momma, will you get sheets for me?” Hahaha! You know how the mattresses at the store have no sheets! I guess she was worried she wouldn’t at home either! Love my smarty pants girl.
[Picture to right is Pajama Day at school last week.]
So once we got the new mattress, her old mattress went on the floor where I would be/am sleeping on during the night. So we tuck her in at 7 p.m. with the same routine that has worked for awhile with her. Either Clay or I do it. She eats dinner, gets a bath, brushes teeth, goes potty and kisses the parent not tucking her in goodnight and goes off to bed happily. She quickly helps clean her room or picks out a book while one of us picks up her room. Only a lamp is on. We turn on Jesus Love Me real low, sit on her bed and read a short book, then kisses, light off and sit there until she falls asleep, which normally isn’t long, um 5-20 minutes. Clay sings to her, but I try and be real quiet and just put my hand on her back. I never lay down with her. I try to make my presence as minimal as possible so she doesn’t wake up wanting me. She has been doing this for a long time now and it isn’t a problem. She sleeps good until 10 p.m. on a bad night and 12 a.m. on a good night. Then she wakes up and basically in her sleep, wonders straight to our room and straight to me. At that point, she only wants me. If she finds me and lays down with me, she’s right back out every time. If not, she’s up and really upset. So how was I suppose to feel optimistic that this could go well?? I just decided that I was more stubborn than she was and I would win… haha- at the same time help her feel safe, loved, confident, etc…
I knew that the old mattress on the floor would help me stick to my guns and not lay down with her during the middle of the night because I could be comfortable but by her all night. So the mattress proved to be paying off because she has been waking up typically later, around 1 a.m. At first she cried a little and would tell me she really wanted to go to my bed with me and I just kept using the word “practice” i.e. “We are practicing sleeping in here now. Shhh… go back to sleep. I am right here.” And I would sit on the floor and rub her back. Then when she was back asleep I would sleep on the floor mattress until she woke up again and repeat. It really helps sleeping on the floor in there. I am much more consistent this away. This is still going on and it is true that we tend to take 2 steps forward, 1 step back- but overall… a great progress. She knows now that I am not getting in her bed and there’s no reason to ask and she seems to be sleeping better in general. A couple of nights I have been able to sleep in my room until the early morning hours or in her room, but undisturbed because she slept through the night a lot better, waking maybe twice. Now I am trying not to even get off the mattress and just say “I am right here Lola. Go back to sleep.” That does work at times. A couple of times she has woken up in the middle of the night and stayed up for a couple hours straight because she couldn’t fall back asleep without me laying with her but I didn’t give in. She was actually still happy because I was laying in her room or sitting next to her bed rubbing her back. Those nights are the worst and make for a moody day, but I get it. I am actually breaking her habit of sleeping with me and mine of sleeping with her.
I think I will keep the floor mattress in her room a bit longer so I don’t get tempted or tired and give in and just lay down with her. Once it goes out of her room, it will get moved to the twin bed that is in the nursery. A point I liked in the book I am reading is to really give something time to work out and new habits to develop. So since we all are doing well, despite it taking a legit effort every night, it is worth the time. I can actually imagine myself being able to sleep in my own bed all night now and look forward to it… oh- I am about to have a newborn you say? Oh yes. Okay- who am I kidding? It will be years before I get good night sleep in my own bed.
So Lola has been sick this week which I thought would be a complete killer for our sleep progress, but hasn’t been too bad despite a terrible cough at night and a lot of wheezing. (Breathing treatments were prescribed and have helped) Only one night did I lay with her- actually sat up in her bed and let her lay on my belly so she could be propped up which helped her cough settle down. It didn’t set us back though because the next night she slept from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. without waking me. The best yet. Then at 7 a.m. we snuggled. We snuggle a lot in the morning and talk about how big she is and she tells me “I’m a pro!” Then she wants to know if the baby is up and puts her hands and face on my big ol’ belly. Isn’t that adorable and makes the nights worth the struggle?!
While I was writing all of this Lola comes full speed out of her room (her eyes may have been closed) and runs into the den and is saying “mommy, mommy” but runs to Clay. So I was telling her that I was right here and she runs to my arms, I pick her up and she holds on and as fast as she can runs her hands through my hair (my hair IS her security blanket- anytime she is tired or upset or hasn’t seen me in a few hours she wants to hold my hair) and then I lay her back in bed and cover her up. She gets comfy and is right back asleep. Never ask to go to my bed or for me to even stay in there. I think her prescriptions and breathing treatments have her a little jumpy making sense of tonight’s scene, but at least I can tuck her back in and come right back out. It’s some serious progress. I used to know that meant I HAD to go to bed too and would always sadly tell Clay goodnight since our nights were cut short. Not anymore baby!
I am seriously proud of her. I know I get frustrated, but I do for some reason I typically have loads of patience at night and think I really prepared her and myself well for this new and big transition. It is so good for her. I just need to get comfortable with the idea that she is okay and I will hear her and allow myself to go into a deep sleep in my own bed. I don’t do that well yet because in my head I keep thinking any moment she will be waking up and I will have to go in there. That’s the worst part.
In the next week or so I really hope to have the mattress off her floor, in the nursery and sleeping in my bed through the night with only getting up a couple times a night. That’s the goal.
Guess I felt I needed to journal all this out of my system. Sorry- if anyone actually read it.
Nursery pictures are coming soon- I really think so. Been busy painting, re-painting, sewing, and organizing. 10 weeks to go. Can’t wait.