Sleep is not an unpopular topic around this blog. I'm sure you've noticed that. I recently had a friend who put a question out to the void asking, "When will my 8-month-old sleep??" and I remember that feeling so strongly. It made me want to share all kinds of things that I know now that I didn't know then. I often think, if I only knew back at the beginning.
But last night marked a new moment in this currently fuss-free family. That's right, we took a huge leap and it didn't even feel like it was that big of a deal. Maddie went to bed all by herself.
A little background for those who are not on the up and up of Maddie sleeping. For the past three years (well, two years and fifty weeks), I have rocked Maddie to sleep. Every single night, but a handful of work or date nights. Sometimes we would rock for a half hour, sometimes as much as two hours. After potty training it was getting bad, because Maddie knew she had a new distraction -- going to the potty 50 million times.
I've always placed a lot of the blame on me; I just always liked to hold her and rock her. There was also a lot of anxiety involved. Maddie would hyperventilate from crying which obviously only exasperated attempts to sleep train.
We've made leaps and bounds over the past year. She gradually got better at falling asleep on her own at naptime and would fall asleep sometimes in her own "big kid bed." When she woke up at night she would fall back to sleep after crying for just a few minutes. Potty training mixed us up a little bit on the nighttime wakings, but we usually only had those two or three times a month. This month, if Maddie had to go potty during the night, she would get back in bed and I would give her a quick peck on the cheek and sneak out... and she would go back to sleep.
So the time was right and Maddie was ready! Last night, I told her that she was such a big kid that now she got to stay up a little later. I tucked her in, read her some stories, sang her one song and held my breath. Then I told her she was such a big kid that now she gets to go to sleep like a big kid, too. She told me she was still a baby and that I had to sit down because otherwise she couldn't see me. I persisted. I told her all the things that babies can't do like eat chocolate chippies, or color, or buy princess books. Then I told her it was too bad she was still a baby because she'd have to give up all of those things.
It's amazing that it took me this long to realize that princesses trump anything.
Maddie kissed me goodnight and was out like a light. Not a single sound.
Probably dreamt of princesses.