Monday, November 18, 2013

Sleep Training on My Days OFF!

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here's something incredibly lame to do on your days off: sleep train! every since that darned time change, Max's ability to accept bedtime routine (let alone sleep!) has gone haywire. Our usual bedtime routine consisted of 
an hour of reading and time in his room
then an easy transition to brushing teeth and bath time
then pyjama routine with some lullabies.
5 minutes or so of rocking, 
then down in the crib where he would be awake and be in charge of putting himself to sleep sans pacifier.

hello time change!
(mind you, we got 2 nights of status quo)

boom! sometime in the middle of reading our books, we have a major outburst coming from nowhere (even when nothing has changed milliseconds prior). the mention of bath escalates this so he's picked up and brought into the bathroom wailing as he gets undressed and bathed for oh..all of 10 seconds?! (some nights it's no bath!) then we go into the room where he's only minutely wound down but becomes agitated again when his sleep sac is zipped up. at this point, lights are off and I'm singing to myself because he's too busy crying to hear any lullabies.

The first 2 nights, we did cry it out (CIO) because that worked for us before. i thought hey, this is just another sleep regression and he needs to be retrained. well, he cried for too long and so long that it went passed my desired personal bed time that i just said the hell with it and moved in and slept with him. in perspective, he really learned nothing because he never did go to sleep on his own and once i moved in, he was out like a light. so his tears were for nothing, he was exhausted from crying but not enough to fall asleep, and i feel like a jerk for doing that to him. I've done CIO before but because of Max's age and ability to absorb things so fast, I'm really conscious about what type of emotional memories I'm creating for this child. 
is he going to have negative feelings about sleep with CIO?
is he going to think i've abandoned him? 
is he going ballistic during night time routine because he's scared of being left all alone in a dark room?
will this affect the connection him and I have?
by and large, it took two nights of being enormously stressed out to realize that this was not the route for us this time. Max is a velcro child, he totally adores me and is such a good little kid and this is how i end the day with him? damn. sorry! 

the next night thereafter, same old wailing but this time i attempted plan B which was to put him in the bed where we usually sleep for the night (the twin bed in his room) and just lie with him until he falls asleep. this method unfortunately involves the soother as he connects the spot with it, and of course a large investment of my evening time. i often have so much to do after Max goes to bed (like blog) that i need this time without distraction…or rather have a kid pressing the restart button on this Macbook before anything has been saved! anyhow, the latest night took a solid 50 minutes before Max fell asleep and then i snuck out of the room. the key to this plan is to start bed time routine early so it doesn't go into the night too late. the reward was no stress for me and Max isn't correlating sleep with any form of abandonment. so far so good, and husband can do this while I'm away working. the worst part of plan B though is that we're walking on eggshells around the house as Max's door is kept ajar instead of being shut: keep all noise that you can help, down. and the ones you can't help like traffic and our crazy nosey cat that likes to hump the blanket in his room, or meow, or use the litter box (argh!!) well we just have to absorb these stressors for the sake of Max's future relationship with sleep. 

my plan C is to let Max stay up with us late into the night and go to bed when i go to bed around 1030-ish? however, this already poses some problems as i don't want to rip him off of growing time (while sleeping) because i don't want nor do i like sleeping in past 830am so i would have to wake him up before an adequate amount of sleep time. 
never wake a sleeping beast!! 
this also would not work if we were solo parenting and had to take a shower…Max, amongst other things, hates hearing the shower or being in the bathroom while we're having a shower. i really can't explain why considering Max was all smiles in his car seat when he was an infant and we were taking a shower with the curtain half open. 
moreover, this wouldn't work so much when I'm on night shift because I'm not the only one who needs quiet time, my husband also needs to diffuse after a day with Max and he goes to bed way later than I. 
and before i forget, keeping him up late means i won't get much done at night because i have to entertain him and frankly, i don't really want him to think the computer is more important than him (distracted parenting). Let's hope we don't go here yet until i figure out the kinks of this plan.

end of rant.

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