20 May 2010

I parent my kid to sleep

I haven't been a very good blogger lately. I have been reading your blogs, keeping up on your news, but not commenting or updating my own blog. Sorry, I'll try harder.

All is well in Lemoncake land. Lucky is turning out to be just as active as her big brother and already giving me kicks that Cowboy and Champ can feel (and see as of last night!).

She is really active at about 7 in the morning (just as Champ wakes up) and then intermittently through the day, she is quiet when Champ takes his nap but then gives me lotsa good kicks when he sits on my knee straight after his nap. She is her most active at about 8 in the evening after we have put Champ to bed, and then is really, eerily quite all night. I am hoping and praying that this is a pattern she will continue once she is born (surely I am due for a 'good sleeper' this time?)!

Champ is still a rockin' little Mummy's boy and the delight of my world. He is however having some issues transitioning to a big boy bed.

The whole transition started wrong. He was going through a 'bad sleeping' patch where he would wake through the night and scream for me, and only me. If Cowboy walked in to the room he would yell 'Daddy go out the door. I want Mummy!' and scream til I came in, re tucked his sheets and offered him water, or even just said 'sssshhhh, sssshhh' and left. Repeat this every hour or so and we were going crazy.

Since we had just received delivery of his big boy bed and two mattresses, I thought my life would be easier if I put one mattress on the floor in his room so that I could sleep on it for a few nights and be ready to 'ssssshhhh' him without getting up. I figured he was just so wakeful as two of his two year old molars were coming through and soon we would get back to normal.

What I didn't anticipate was him seeing the 'big boy bed' with the only single bed sheets we have (soccer ball design) and wanting to sleep in the 'soccer ball bed'. After him screaming for the soccer ball bed for an hour one nap time and then sleeping in it for 3 hours, I relented and let him sleep there that night.

He was sleeping better in it, but I had to stay there until he fell asleep and then again when he woke through the night (usually when he crawled out of it by mistake and lots his blankets. To solve this problem we set up his bed including the bed rail on the non-wall side. This solved the crawling out of bed problem but it was too hard for me to climb in and out of to settle him, so I put the second mattress on the floor just next to his bed. Problem solved.

His cries soon became 'Mummy sleep on this one' referring to the mattress next to him. I would fall asleep on this mattress while he fell asleep at 8 pm and then wake at about 11 to climb into my own bed. Until he called out a few hours later because I was no longer where he thought I would be.

So that is the story of how our independent self settler became a two year old who needs to be parented to sleep and have his Mummy sleep in the room with him all night.

I keep changing my mind as to my next course of action. Right now, I have a terrible cold so I am just sleeping in his room where I get 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but no adult time at the end of the day.

When we are both fully recovered I will probably enlist his help to 'pack up Mummy's bed because Mummy has to sleep in her bed now' and we can do some role play with leaving teddy in the soccer ball bed after some songs and prayers and we wait in the lounge so we can hear if he needs us.

On the other hand, we are moving him to his new bedroom in about a month (once the curtains are up and the room transformed from a junk/study/playroom to a toddler bedroom) and I don't know if I should wait to do the big change then...

The one thing I know is that I am not a cry it out kind of Mum. I parent my kid to sleep. The downside is bouts of broken sleep. The pay off is lots of extra Mummy-cuddles and the warmth of a toddler. Seriously, feeling your not-so-baby's breath against your cheek as you sleep, aaahhh.

And when I lack resolve to do it this way, the way that feels natural to me, I just remember my Mum. She parented us to sleep for years. I am talking years and years of rubbing backs, singing songs and inviting us into her bedroom through the night. And she never regrets a single moment. I mean how could you?