Before I had Kiki I honestly thought that once a baby slept through the night for the first time, that it was smooth sailing in the sleep department. I always heard people asking new moms, “is she sleeping through the night yet?” So I thought it was a milestone, like walking. Once they accomplish it, you’re good. So when Kiki started sleeping in 8 hour chunks fairly regularly at 12 weeks, I counted my lucky stars.
Oh silly, silly me. Three and a half years later and I still can’t really say that she’s sleeping through the night.
The thing that gets to me the most about this is the fact that she teases us. We’ll go through a super tough sleep period, suffer through figuring out how to deal with it, and then the sleep gets better. Kiki will then go for weeks or even months letting Hubby and I get comfy with our new and improved sleep habits. And then, without warning, she takes it all away.
I won’t go into all of the gory details of our sleep training history with Kiki. It’s boring for you and painful for me. I’ll just sum it up by saying that she doesn’t make it easy on us. To give you a taste though, here she is just before she turned 2 when we transitioned to a toddler bed. When Kiki realized that she was able to get out of her new bed whenever she wanted, we had to establish some boundaries. We told her that she could not leave her room. We sat around the corner from her room and anytime she crossed the threshold we would silently take her back to bed. Kiki, of course, decided to test that boundary over and over (my favorite was when she would stand in the doorway waving her arm out in the hall to see if that counted). After about 86 returns (not kidding) she finally fell asleep like this. Note how her arm is stretched out defiantly over the line.
We are currently rebattleing middle-of-the-night wakings. Kiki was your typical jack-in-the-box, meaning that she kept getting out of bed and we kept having to take her back to her room. We dealt with this situation by implementing a sticker chart reward system. We had great success and Hubby and I were pleased that he and I were no longer taking turns sleeping on a blanket on the floor in her room. She was having fun putting cute stickers on her chart and I got over my guilt from using lollipops as a reward (at least they were organic). Kiki had been sleeping great for the last two or three months. Hubby and I were so happy.
She must have sensed our comfort.
The jack-in-the-box has returned. This week she has been keeping me up for hours in the middle of the night because she wakes up and then won’t stay in her room long enough to actually fall back asleep. I remind her about the stickers and she tells me she doesn’t want a sticker. I say, “but don’t you want to be able to get a lollipop?” and she says “not today”. Yes, at 4:45 in the morning I am absolutely trying to bribe my daughter with candy if it means I can go back to sleep.
I swear she decides to mess with our sleep periodically to show us who is control — like we don’t already know.
So now we have new stickers (she chose sharks over glittery fairies which amuses me greatly), new rewards, and we’ve thrown in some consequences for when it gets real dicey. We’re crossing our fingers and hoping we get through this rough patch quickly because I am painfully tired.
What are some parenting misconceptions that you had before you actually had kids?