Come Here Come Here...Get Away Get Away...
It's funny, we spend our children's entire infancy trying to get them to sleep through the night in their own bed, and their teenage years trying to get them out of their room and to snuggle with us.
Let's face it, if there was a way to get babies to sleep through the night we would have found it by now.
I have two kids, two years apart and I haven't slept through the night in 14 years, even when they have.
The second my kids were born I got that 'Mommy Radar' where if they fluff their covers two rooms away at 3 AM I will wake up from a dead sleep.
When they were newborns I fell victim to the peer pressure of "There must be something wrong if your son will only sleep 2 hours at a time." PANIC! As it turns out, I trained him to do that and didn't know it. So when my daughter slept for 4 hours I had to check on her and wake her up to make sure she was still alive. This helped to ensure that she too would never sleep through the night.
I feel like I am totally nailing my primary job as a SuperMom, which is scaring them for life.
Here are some awesome techniques and sometimes horrible advice I've tried or read about how to get my cherubs to sleep. I'm fully willing to admit I may be the only one who's experienced these roadblocks and my kids probably just loved me so much they couldn't bring themselves to go 8 hours without me. HA!
1. LET THEM CRY IT OUT
What a super great idea. NOT. While not only am I one billion percent not a 'cry it out' mom, even if it was teaching them to comfort themselves while in baby jail, I mean their crib, you still have to listen to it! I can't take it! I get it, sometimes as parents we have to suck it up to teach them a life lesson. For me, this was not a battle I was willing to fight, for sanity's sake.
2. GO TO THE CRIB EVERY TIME THEY CRY
This is pretty much the opposite of the 'cry it out' method. I read where every time they cry, you go to the crib, comfort them without picking them up to show them that you haven't abandoned them in baby jail. The downside is when they need to be fed or changed in the middle of the night you have to pick them up. It's super confusing for a toddler to understand that sometimes when they cry I'm going to pick them up and sometimes I'm not.
Then again, I laid in bed in the middle of the night thinking, "Huh...well it's been 14 seconds...that didn't work...maybe he's hungry." This is how the Super Mom Workout was invented. All my genius plans come in middle of the night. I figured instead of trying to workout when the sun was up and I was a zombie, why not work out in the middle of the night when I was wide awake anyway!
3. MAKE THEIR BED FEEL LIKE YOUR BED
I didn't realize until years later this is the same thing you do for a dog. Way to go parenting experts, way to branch out.
When we went from crib to toddler bed, both of our kids were CONSTANTLY getting up throughout the night to sneak into bed with us. We couldn't figure out why! They had the cutest 200 thread count character sand paper sheets money can buy! Not to mention, every time they rolled over they could hear the sweet crunch of the plastic mattress. WOW! Has anyone actually slept on those things? No wonder kids don't want to be in their own bed!
We ditched the baby beds and went straight to twins and bought them 1500 thread count soft sheets. We even went as far as to take our 6 inch memory foam pad off our king sized bed and cut it in half to make it fit on 2 twin beds. This is probably the single best piece of genius we've used in a decade of parenting!
Our daughter said, 'I love my new big girl bed, but I want to sleep with you." Sigh. At least when we would read or snuggle with them in their bed it was something we were willing to lay on.
Which lead us to....
4. BABY GATES
My kids got up so much during their toddler years I honestly thought they were sleep walking and just didn't know where they were going. I mean obviously it wasn't because every time they'd come in I'd be too tired to fight them off and just let them get in bed with me. Surely not.
Since I was certain they were just delirious sleep walkers, if I put up a baby gate in their bedroom door way it would stop them at the door and they'd turn around and go back to bed.
Middle of the night, "Mommy I have to go potty!"
So the moral of the story dear SuperMom's...Just when you think you've mastered one phase of their life they switch gears and move on to another.
Welcome to Parenting!
You're not doing it wrong. Every child is different.
You will sleep when they go to college...
...as long as you're not worried about tuition, grades, their life choices, that girl or boy they are seeing...