I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the only constant in parenting is change. Just when you think you’ve got something figured out, your kid will flip the script and you’ll have to re-learn her habits all over again. That’s just the way it is and I’m guessing it’s because, as little sponges, they’re always learning new things and new ways to do things and want to try them out. I’m okay with that, even if it can be difficult to accept some times (like when she went from sleeping in to waking up at 6:30AM again).
While I was away this weekend, my wife started trying out a new way of putting Lu down for a nap. It was partially born out of necesity and partially out of Lu getting older and being a little more mature. Historically, I’d hold Lu and jiggle her on my lap or knee until I lulled her to sleep. We tried the “put her in her crib and let her cry it out” way a few times, but she just got so upset and I’m convinced that unleashing that kind of torment on your child doesn’t do them or you any good. I mean, they’re having the kind of physical reaction that it seems like I would have if an angry bear appeared in my house and I couldn’t get out. Would you want to feel like that every single day? I guess you’d get used to it, but what kind of damage is done getting to that point?
Anyway, the jiggle method worked for me, but every time my wife tries it, Lu wants to nurse. So, while I was gone, she tried something relatively new: she put Lu down in her crib and laid down next to it, just letting her fall asleep on her own. And, as the text messages I got throughout the weekend indicated, it took less and less time each day. Mission accomplished!
How is this different than what I mentioned above? Well, she’s older now and doesn’t think that she’s been abandoned just because she can’t see us. She can also signal now when she’s tired, which means I have a much better idea instead of trying guess or just nap at the same time every day (I always hated being told to go to sleep when I wasn’t tired, so I’m sensitive to this). Also, since you’re right there and she can see you, it adds a layer of comfort.
Sunday, after I got home from the convention she started looking tired. She knows the sign for sleep, but she also, without fail, rubs her eyes like a cartoon character when she’s getting sleepy. So, I took her in, she wailed for 30 seconds and then calmed down and went to sleep. The only problem was that when I got up to leave the room, our super creaky floor made a huge noise and she woke up, so I just did it again for a bit and she went back to sleep.
Since then I’ve had a fair mix of success and failures. It’s more difficult in the evening because she seems tired and I want her to lay down, but I also don’t want her to nap too far into the evening because then she doens’t get as much time with her mom and might not sleep as well at night. It’s a tough balance to figure out, but I really like the method and think my wife came up with a winner!