Saturday, February 20, 2010

To sleep, perchance to dream

(An oldie from when the little bean was about a week old, and we couldn't keep her awake for more than half an hour at a time. Kim took this photo.)

I've been sick for the last couple of days, so of course Evelyn decided to get up at 5:45 today. I nursed her, and because I'm a terrible neglectful mother and was in no mood to play with her before dawn, I just re-swaddled her and put her back in her crib. Alex was out with the dog (who was also being a horrible wretch and conspiring with the baby to make sure that nobody could get any more sleep) and I figured that she could look at her mobile until he got back in a few minutes. She was wide awake, and happy (read: quiet) enough so that I fell back asleep. When I finally woke up at 8:30, Alex said that she was asleep by the time he got back with the dog.

Excuse me?

The baby went to sleep on her own, when she was WIDE awake??

She's NEVER done this at night, despite our best efforts. So today, realizing that she's perfectly capable of falling asleep on her own in the morning and for naps, and most importantly, that our efforts in getting her to to bed apparently totally suck, we decided to take the plunge, and sleep train Evelyn. I know this is a subject that everyone has an opinion on, and I have a few conflicting ones myself. The thing is, the sort of natural approach we'd been taking hasn't been working that well for her. Ideally, she should be going to bed at about the same time every night. As it is, she goes to sleep anywhere from 7:30 to 10:00, which is not good for her or for us.

So we're doing a kind of middle of the road approach, where we set up a bedtime routine (pajamas, rocking chair, stories, swaddle, crib) and have her fall asleep in her crib rather than in our arms. For the first few days, we'll put her in her crib and if need be, let her cry until she falls asleep while we sit right next to her patting and soothing her. Next, we move the chair a few feet away and talk to her while she goes to sleep, then move to the door, and then hopefully leave the room as soon as we put her down as she goes to sleep on her own.

Doesn't that sound nice? Putting the kid down after a nice story, and she drifts off to sleep... I guess we just have to keep that end goal in mind for the week and half this will supposedly take. Tonight was the first night, and I hated it. She was a bit fussy for a while, then settled down and was quiet for a good five minutes. I thought she was going to drift off, and she WAS, but she does this thing where she'll basically catch herself falling asleep and start to wail just as she's about to go down. Awesome, yes. So she started crying harder than ever, and I went into the living room to tell Alex that I was ready to pick the poor thing up, and he took over. He got her to settle down again by having her nurse on his finger until she fell asleep, and there you have it.

We got her to fall asleep in her crib at bedtime for the first time EVER.

It took 45 minutes, but still, the goal is in sight, and I think this is going to be so good for all of us. I'll tell y'all how it goes. New pictures soon, I swear.


  1. "Look at my watch. You're getting sleepy... SLEEPY!" I have a hard enough time managing my own sleep. *high five* to you for dealing with this on top of being sick. Someone get this mother a G&T.

  2. Full disclosure: at bedtime, I had a small bourbon and Coke. Alcohol kills germs, right? And I feel significantly better today. Coincidence? I'll keep drinking bourbon 'til I find out otherwise.

  3. you're just disinfecting yourself from the inside out!

  4. I'm curious to hear how this works out! I nannied some twins who had mastered this technique. Amazingly, I could put one down, let him fall asleep, and then he wouldn't even wake up when I came in 5 minutes later to put the other one down. After witnessing this miracle, I am a firm believer that it is worth the miserable training process.