Just a quick little post to share some very exciting news!!! As everyone knows, we are expecting Baby 2.0 the first week of the new year, or thereabouts. That is in 3 very short, not-long-enough, going-to-fly-by months. We’ve been planning some changes to our normal routine with Dagny so she doesn’t have the shock of her life when her little bro arrives. One of the things we’ve been dreading is the transition from rocking her to sleep in our arms. Why yes, we still do that I know some people are shaking their heads, jaws all on the floor right now. Parenting styles differ and that’s that. We chose to do it this way, knowing we would have a rough transition and knowing that we might end up rocking her to sleep for the next decade or so. We were OK with that. We still are. But we are also expecting that we logistically won’t be able to do it once 2.0 arrives. Some times its going to be utterly impossible to spend that time with her once 2.0 is out in the world, needing milk and a clean diaper and whatnot.
So we discussed at length various strategies to get her to fall asleep in the bed on her own. We even did a couple test runs that went HORRIBLY. My first try wasn’t even a “try.” Dags was just being a butthead one day while I was trying to get her to sleep for her nap. So I warned her I was going to put her in the bed if she didn’t put her head down and “get sleepy.” Wouldn’t you know, she continued to pull my hair and smack my face, so into the crib she went and I left the room for a good 30 seconds to a minute I would say. During that short time she managed to have a full meltdown. By the time I went back in it took her several minutes to calm down and stop sobbing. I classified that a total failure. Next up James tried his hand at it a few days ago. He rocked her for a while until she was good and limp but not quite asleep. Then her told her he was going to put her in the bed but that he would stay with her until she fell asleep. As soon as he told her what was about to happen she started to get anxious and say “no, no” and whine a little. He went ahead and put her in the bed and she proceeded to get very upset. He calmed her down pretty well for a while but things ended badly with her standing up, arms outreached to him, sobbing “Dada, Dada…” Again we classified that attempt as a total failure.
We regrouped. We discussed some more, we pondered how to let her know that we weren’t going to leave her alone and that we would be there if she needed us. James came up with a plan at the last minute that he would not rock her at all. He told her early in the nighttime routine (after putting on jammies but before brushing teeth) that he was going to put her in the bed tonight but that he would stay with her until she fell asleep. She didn’t seem to absorb it. Then the routine continued…they brushed teeth, I said my goodnights and gave my goodnight kisses, they went into the room and shut the door. I heard James talking to her and I heard her saying no. But then a very strange thing happened. She didn’t get all worked up and upset. James was in there for a good hour and a half. I was dying of curiosity!!!
Finally he came out and I got my much-anticipated debriefing. Turns out he set her in the crib and talked to her for a while. Up until recently I didn’t know he talked to her about the day before she was expected to put her head down and “get sleepy.” So they had their talk and Dags did her usual bouncing all around the crib. She started out literally running around the crib, then rolling around the crib and all the while James recited every book her could remember to her. At the end of that she was still “bouncing all around” so he tried telling her to sit on her butt. It worked. Hallelujah! Every time she stood up he would ask her to sit on her butt please and she would. He continued to tell the stories again and again, which kept her calm when she started to get anxious and whiney. Then he got the great idea to tell her to lay down. AND SHE DID! She laid down and he started shooshing and laid his whole arm along her body so she might feel a little more like she was being held. Eventually he was down to just the hand on the back. I have to say, this all gets really uncomfortable because when we do this we’re leaning over into the crib and our backs really start to ache after awhile of leaning over like that.
Then she was still and he just took his hand away and she stayed asleep.
Then he made it out of the room without waking her! I tell you, this is a feat when she’s sleeping lightly or having trouble falling asleep. This new house, for those of you that don’t know, is an older house and every step is a creaking board. Every doorknob makes noise, everything clunks together. Its very loud. Even with the sound masking machine on. But HE MADE IT!!! ON! THE! FIRST! NIGHT!
First of all, I have to say…my husband ROCKS. He’s an awesome dad and this just goes to show what a beautiful relationship he has with Dagny. She obviously has great trust in him to just go quietly (eventually) into the night. He was able to give her a sense of comfort just from his presence and his ingenious plan. He had the confidence to move forward and use strategies like reciting stories…things I NEVER would have thought of. He also believed in Dagny and her ability to fall asleep on her own. I really think that is HUGE.
Second of all, my sweet little Dagny is AWESOME! She amazes us every single freaking day. I was so proud of her for falling asleep on her own like that! I fell asleep myself with a huge grin on my face. She is growing so fast and its so endearing to me that we can comfort her through our words now. She understands us. She responds to us…and even if we’re the only ones who can understand what she’s saying or signing or whatever, its seriously moving stuff for me. Every time we share something and I can tell that an exchange has been made, I am thrilled and so excited. I shower her with hugs and kisses and tell her how proud I am. And there are so many things we are proud of these days. Soon enough I’m going to write a little rundown of our potty-training successes, and setbacks. And her language skills. And her sense of humor.
Now that little story above took place on Friday night. Today James also got her down for her nap in a similar fashion, but it only took about 30 minutes. And tonight he had another successful time getting her to fall asleep in the crib! I am SCARED TO DEATH about what I’m going to do at naptime on Monday!!! I hope she doesn’t sense my fear, hahaha! I am grilling James about his techniques after every success. I am fully prepared to just sit in her room for all of naptime…I am convinced she’s not going to be so accomodating for Momma. Hopefully the pep talks and debriefs will all come together for me on Monday. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Pleeeease!
For the record…I seriously tried to pare this down after the last post was so loooong. Um. Yeah. I’ll keep working on it