A quick note from Carly:
Today's post is from Alex Abbott, one of my close friends. I have known her for years and have always envied her writing style and flare for hilarious storytelling!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
This is the story of how she and her family got their bedtimes back!
For 17 months, my husband and I rocked "Nugget" to sleep. Every night. Every nap. And when he awoke at 2 AM, we wedged. Right between us (Post-infancy, so everyone just calm down.). We are not attachment parenting folks. We are first-time parents, which has made us survivalists.
We rocked because of working parent guilt, which turned Nugget into a dependent-sleeper. We wedged because we chose sleep over 2 AM repeats in the rocker and 6:30 AM was going to come too soon. And 17-months later, we found ourselves communicating solely through text messages between 7:45 pm and 10 pm since one of us was always upstairs with Nugget.
And 17-months later, giant baby feet were round-house kicking important body parts, like throats, kidneys, and places that had my husband contemplating wearing a cup to bed.
So, here we are. Ten nights deep with no rocking. I’d like to thank our sponsor, Ronee, from Sleeptastic Solutions.
Maybe it’s odd I’m comparing our sleep dilemma to a drug addiction. I’m slowly realizing that as I write. But, it’s also making a lot of sense. So stick with me here.
At first I felt odd about enlisting the help of a Sleep Counselor, but we had already admitted that we had a problem. The next step is to get help. I was really relieved to read on Ronee’s Sleeptastic Solution website that it’s about customizing a plan for the parents and child. Self-soothing would be involved, but it could be approached differently.
I was also relieved to have Ronee offer a 9 PM phone session, so my husband and I could chat together, uninterrupted. Our phone session started out with the rundown: Nugget basics and routine, what we’ve tried before, and where we are derailing. I waited for Ronee to tell us it was too late. We’ve ruined him. Best of luck. Luckily for us, 17-months does not qualify as a lost cause.
While she congratulated us on already having a basic routine, the next steps would be harder. He had to learn to put himself to bed. And she knew how to help us in a non-traumatic way.
While the first night was rough—an hour and forty-five minutes total (my husband handled the first night knowing I was too easily manipulated by my con-artist toddler)—by the next day’s naptime, Nugget already showed signs of catching on to our NEW routine.
Day by day, night by night, we stayed the course that Ronee laid out for us. It progressively became a shorter, quieter bedtime, and by Day 6, we could actually LEAVE THE ROOM before he was sound asleep. This. Was. Huge. This was a beam of light at the end of our tunnel. We knew we were truly on the way to bedtime freedom. And the middle of night wake ups? That was hard. Like I said, we were wedgers. But that was worse for us than for him. We had to confront our enabling head on. We comforted Nugget while he cried in his crib and stayed in the room until he realized he was capable of putting himself to sleep.
So, here we are. Day 10. This was last night’s bedtime:
Dinner from 6-6:30 pm.
Play time until 7.
Bath and bubbles until 7:20.
7:30-- Lotioned up, P.J’ed, teeth brushed, and starting our favorite book, “The Little Blue Truck.” Three readings, cover to cover.
7:45- goodnight kiss and into the crib.
I sat down. I watched. He grabbed his teddy bear, laid down, and began to snuggle in for the night.
At 7:58, I walked out of the room. I closed the door. I held my breath. One minor cry of protest and then....nothing.
I checked our baby monitor. Here was my toddler, our lost sleep-cause. Asleep. By himself. And I had the entire night to myself! What would I do with such free time?? I crawled into bed, opened up the book I have been looking forward to for days, and promptly fell asleep. At 8:10.
Ronee, I can’t thank you enough for your session. It was personable, customized, guilt-free, and truly a plan we could implement in our home. It was hard. All three of us were kicking some bad habits. Sometimes I miss the wedging, but I know that it’s just my mommy-guilt wanting extra snuggle time I don’t get while I’m at work.
Our new Sleeptastic Life was not just for my husband and me, though. It was for Nugget. However, the perks for me keep getting better. I woke up this Sunday morning in a place that’s been unfamiliar to me since we started wedging....I woke up in my husband’s arms.
So, when you call Ronee, or you email her your own mess of a sleep situation, just start out simple.
“Hi, my name is ________________, and we have a sleep problem.” And just like any good sponsor, Ronee is there for those follow-up phone calls and emails to keep you on course.
*Alex's family was generously offered a free consultation from Sleeptastic Solutions. She accepted the offer on behalf of The Puzzled Palate. All opinions are her own and no compensation was provided to either Alex or The Puzzled Palate for this article.*
If you would like more information on Sleeptastic Solutions,
click on the purple banner below and it will take you to Ronee's website!