A Wife Loved Like The Church

The bedtime wars

Posted on: March 18, 2010

The hard cold truth is: Julia doesn’t like sleeping. Over the last 2+ years I’ve just come to accept that fact. I don’t like it, but I’ve accepted it.

Our bedtime routine has always involved some complicated, drawn out process. First it was nursing Julia to sleep. Second it was giving her a bottle till she fell asleep. Then, sometime in January 2009, we hit a soft spot. We could give Julia a bottle, lay her down in her crib and that was it. Done. No crying, no screaming, just peaceful nothingness. A-maz-ing. Then, we took the bottle away. What. Were. We. Thinking?? That might have been the hardest few weeks of my parenting life. Hannah had just been born and we were now dealing with major sleep issues with both girls. Whew.

Eventually, we got into a new routine. I’d nurse Hannah while staying in the room until Julia fell asleep. But, then Julia would take up to an hour to go to sleep. And trying to leave the room before she was sleeping wasn’t an option. Well, actually, it was an option, one that resulted in mega drama and tears. So, we avoided it at all cost. This eventually led into laying down with her, holding her hand or playing with her hair to help “speed” things up. Alas, those all started getting drawn out too. We’d find ourselves trapped in her room for well over an hour. Every. Single. Night.

Then, one day I set my foot down. I told Julia I’d stay in her room, but that I wasn’t holding her hand, playing with her hair or laying down with her. I’m a mean mama, I know. She fought it at first, but eventually she gave up and our bedtime routine was cut in half. I started reading to help pass the time and for months this was our routine.

Until last week. Last week, while I was waiting for Julia to fall asleep, she started talking. Not to me, just to herself. And for whatever reason, in that moment I thought “I really don’t need to be in here. She needs to handle this herself”. So, I left. Ok, that sounds harsh. I actually, very sweetly, told her I was going to sit in the living room (where she could still see me) and read my book out there. At first, she whimpered, saying “Mama, stay” but being the firm mama I am (haha!), I just told her to call out if she needed help and I’d come right back. That first night she called out twice. Once to “talk” and once right as she was falling asleep, to have her blankets pulled up.

Since then, she’s been going to bed on her own every night. And over the last few nights she’s been asking us to shut her door when we leave. Even more A-maz-ing. Yet, you want to know something crazy? I sorta miss laying down with her. Just a little, and I’m not saying I’d want to go back to do it.  But, this new step is just showing me that she’s really growing up. And it’s just a little sad. On the other hand, she does still get into our bed in the middle of the night – every night. So I’ll count that as my snuggle time.

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