Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sleep and Happiness ...

Chloe is almost 2. We're about 6 weeks away from her second birthday, and the child needs to sleep.
I don't know what went wrong with her sleep routine. As an infant she slept well, but as she got older it got progressively worse till we hit that point that every night Mike puts her to sleep by rocking her and then lays her on the couch until he brings her to our bed where she sleeps for the night.
I know that sounds terrible.
The truth is, when you have an older child who is really exhausting, you take sleep however you can, even if that means horrible habits.
But, the other day I was left to put Chloe to sleep, and given the fact that I'm a foot shorter than Mike, and have significantly less arm muscle, it was really hard to get her into the necessary sleep strong hold. And I realized that something had to change.
So for the past few days I've been doing sleep training.
Matt goes to bed pretty quickly and has a great knack for ignoring his sister, so while he slept I somewhat patiently walked Chloe back to her bed over and over and over. And listened to her scream - over and over and over.
And, for the last 2 nights she has slept in her own bed.
This is a miracle, I tell you. A miracle. Tonight we had only an hour of the walking back to bed/crying routine.
What's the magic formula? Well, nothing. But I'll tell you what's made it easier - reading "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. It's a fascinating book, and it breaks down her resolutions for happiness into 12 months. I'm kind of reading a month per night. And, it's funny how when I read it, and I'm reading about things that were hard for her, it kind of makes the suckiness of sleep training more bearable.
Also, it's a good book.
And, I've finished reading the month of February and she's actually mentioned Julie/Julia. So there's that. And she says stuff like:
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
 And let me tell you, when you're feeling a little guilty about essentially just listening to your kid cry, stuff like that is amazing.
So sleep plus happy is making me happy right now.
And I'm hoping that by Chloe's 2nd birthday we'll have a sleeping toddler. Next step - toilet training.


SciFi Dad said...

Our first child was a horrible sleeper - sometimes she still is - so we were hyper sensitive to the problem with our second.

Once my wife convinced herself that it wasn't neglect to not breastfeed him all night long (a more difficult feat than you realize), he's proven to be an amazing sleeper, but it's only through letting him self-soothe.

Ultimately, each parent has their own threshold of how much crying their kid can handle before they need to be picked up, but it's been my limited experience that kids have to learn to fall back asleep themselves (initially with crying, hopefully eventually without) without parental interference.

It sounds like things are working out for you, albeit slowly.

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

As SciFi Dad said, our first was a terrible sleeper, right from the start.

As was our second, but breastfeeding has proven to be the main culprit.

Hang in there!

I know it can be hard, just finished doing our "sleep training" over the past month. It's not fun emotionally, not one bit!

You can do it and you will be so thankful you did and so will she!

WarsawMommy said...

We sleep-trained our first one when he was 8 months old, because we were literally gnawing our arms off during the day in an effort to stay awake. The kid did not sleep longer than 45 minutes in a row. EVER. Not during the day, not at night. Thank God our second son is a good sleeper.

Sleep training. Hard work, but oh-so rewarding. Enjoy the silence!