8:30 and all's well

Lennie continues down the path toward being a bona fide big girl. More than a month ago, we completely weaned with hardly a bump in the road. For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been working on putting her down to sleep in her bed. We’ve co-slept for two-plus years now, putting her down wherever and whenever we could but usually winding up with a bedroom visitor in the wee hours of the morning. We’ve also let her set her sleep schedule, which has meant many frustrating nights without anything akin to free time. When your baby stays up as late as you do, you don’t get much time for yourself. We’ve tried from time to time in the past to initiate a bedtime routine that would foster good sleeping habits for her, but it hasn’t worked. She hasn’t been ready. A couple of weeks ago, we gave it another shot. Most nights since then, she’s been asleep by 9:30 or so. Tonight, she dropped off unexpectedly between books at 8:30.

Our routine is to start getting her teeth brushed by 8:00 or 8:30. Then one or both of us will go in her bedroom with her and read a few books. We turn the light out but turn on a little blue nightlight and her red lamp. I’ll usually read her three or four books, depending on the length and time of night. Then I turn off the red light (Roxanne…) and snuggle with her. I usually have to do a lot of coaxing, a lot of “close your eyes and go to sleep”ing. On night, she had lain there for a while with her eyes open, and it finally occurred to me to tell her to close her eyes. She did so immediately and peacefully and was asleep within a minute. Some nights, I have to threaten to leave the room. I tell her that if she doesn’t close her eyes and try to go to sleep, I’ll have to leave, but that if she closes her eyes and tries to go to sleep, I’ll snuggle her until she falls asleep. Sometimes I rub the bridge of her nose with my thumb to relax her, and sometimes I suggest that she get on her tummy so I can pat her butt and rub her back. Last night, I did this and quit patting after a while, and she rolled over to look at me and said “Daddy, pat my booty.” Tonight, we finished reading one of her books, and I rolled over at her request to get another. When I rolled back over and began reading, she didn’t respond to the reading, and I looked over to find her asleep.

This new sleep schedule comes at a small cost. I get some more time to do things in the evenings, but she wakes up earlier. This morning, she came to bed at a little before 6:00 and slept until about 7:20. It was the longest uninterrupted sleep I remember having in quite a while. Some mornings, she still creeps into our room in the wee hours. By and large, I think she’s getting better sleep (no more climbing back and forth over M) in addition to an earlier bedtime, so she’s waking up earlier. Which means that my early morning gym schedule is shot. Which honestly I’m partially ok with for the lazy time being.

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