Friday, June 25, 2010

Nighttime in Dixieland...

Crunchy Mama asked, a couple of days ago, how the latest experiment in The Boy's sleeping arrangements was going. With a cautionary air (one never talks about a batting streak), I can say that it is moving optimistically. (I say this as my other child is standing at a cabinet full of puzzles and chewing on the door. Sigh. The human race is not nearly as advanced as we like to think.)

The nighttime ritual, most of the time, goes something like this: we put Younger Bro to bed between 7:30 and 8:00. That's easy: kisses all around, a bath for a couple of boys maybe, a new diaper, some milk, reading Goodnight Moon, and in his crib. No problems with him, but he's rarely a problem sleeper. The Boy spends the next hour watching some television, or playing, or doing something reasonably unproductive but unexciting. Around 9 o'clock, give or take, I take The Boy into our bedroom. We read a story or three, until The Boy gets tired. We know he's tired because he'll start to rapidly turn the pages of his story to get to the end! At that point, one of us takes him into his bedroom, puts him down, and sits with him for a while. He asks for the usual stuff, to delay sleep: water (we keep a water bottle next to him), new diaper, toys, etc.

The Wife taught me a technique which we've been using to great effect: we say to The Boy, "Daddy will be right back, okay? Right back!" I might say that I'm going to the potty or something similar. I don't lie to him, though; I only use potty as an excuse when I go. Sometimes, I'll just go out in the hallway and sit down out of sight for a few minutes. Then, I go back in. That's important: he needs to know that, when I say I'll be right back, that I'll be right back. Never lie.

Surprisingly, he usually stays in the bed and usually is calmer and closer to sleep than when I'm just sitting with him. Two or three trips out, and he's close to sleep. When he's sleeping, I get up and go back and pretend I'm an adult for a little while - you know, playing video games and watching science fiction television. He's usually up once or twice more put easily put back to sleep.

The last two nights, he's fallen asleep early and while watching television. Sigh. But, last night, he woke up and went into Grandma's room, said, "Pink potty!" She took him to the potty in our bathroom (which is pink), he used the potty, and she took him back inside to go to sleep. Progress!

And, last night, we forgot to put the gate up in the doorway. So, when I heard, "Daddy, Daddy!", it was when he was climbing from downstairs with toys in his hand. No telling how long he was down there. Sigh.

1 comment:

The Reluctant Crunchy Mama said...

First of all, I feel as if being a parent is turning me into a superstitious woman! “Cautionary air” is right!

Second, if we ever have another child, can s/he be like YB, please?! I don’t know what I’ll turn into if we have another 2.5 years of crappy sleep! Very happy for you and Logical Mommy that he is such an awesome sleeper!

The Boy and my Ari use very similar tactics to delay the inevitable! Cute, funny and annoying all at the same time!

Literally laughed out loud when I read the line about The Boy climbing upstairs with toys!

Sounds like you have made great progress! He is doing two things that we still struggle with: he will stay alone in his room and he does not freak out when he wakes up and realizes that mom and dad are not there. Great job, all of you! As a mom who has had many crappy nights, I am ecstatic for you!