The Trouble With Bedtime

Alright time for another rookie parenting confession:

A has never had to put herself to sleep. From the day we brought her home from the hospital she has been held or rocked to sleep. I had planned to be that "good" organized mom that had a set routine. Bath, bottle, book, bed. But the reality was far different.

It was more like bath, bottle, book, coo with mommy, rock with daddy, fall asleep in someone's arms, then be put in bed.

I never felt bad about it, I mean, she looked so small all swaddled up in her blanket. Then 6 months went by, then a year. Now the routine was bath, book, milk (sippy cup, but we still say baba), and laying down next to me or J on the couch while we pat her back.

Then came two (now two and half) and we still do the same thing. She tells us she wants a "baba lie-down", usually around 8:30. She lays next to me while I am on the computer, we share a blanket, she lays her head on my legs, and I pat her back. When she falls asleep, J moves her to her bed.

Since Octoberish the routine has had a few problems. 8:30 would get here and she would fuss and argue that she wasn't tired. She would lay down next to me, then talk and want to play. Finally around 9:00 or 9:30 she would crash. Then around 3:00 she would wander into our bedroom, because she did not want to be in her bed. Oops....

About a week ago, J decided to just put her in her bed. She fussed for about 5 minutes, then went to sleep, all on her own! It was incredible. I wondered if she had been capable of this all along. We tried it again the next night, and it was a disaster. I think she was up and crying until 11:00. So we went back to the tried and true method (I know another move of master parenting).

Tonight we are trying the go to bed in your bed alone method. I can hear her talking to us. It makes me sad. I miss that warm little body on my legs, her asking me to hold her hand or pat her back. I know she needs to be in her bed. She needs to be able to put herself to sleep. She needs to not drink 8 oz of milk at 8:30 at night. She needs a good night of sleep. (We do have ballet tomorrow.)

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