Before last week, if you had asked me, “What is your proudest parenting moment?” I would have had to dig deep to come up with just a small somewhat inconsequential thing like, “Oh I took you swimming every Saturday.” Meanwhile, your mother could rattle off a bunch of life-altering stuff, you know, like GIVING BIRTH or breastfeeding you just to start with the two most obvious ones.
But if you ask me now…well…I’m feelin’ pretty good about my answer: I think I’ve sleep-trained your ass! It has only been three days, but it’s looking good so far. So after my last letter, I actually followed through. It was a bit of a conflicting one because I really enjoy co-sleeping with you, but that being said, I would not turn away an opportunity to be sleeping better or rather, not spending so much time putting you to sleep.
Given you were 2.5 y/o when I tried this, I had a few habits to change. First, you needing a back-scratch to do fall asleep. And second, you wanting your mom or me next to you.
Believe me when I say I was terrified of how this was all going to unfold and how many tears would be shed, but I underestimated how much of a person you are now – one with a faculty to reason. With regards to your love of back scratches to fall asleep, I just straight up gave you an explanation for why we shouldn’t. You continued to ask for one occasionally, but you didn’t cry or make a fuss about it at all.
With the second habit – getting you to fall asleep alone, I’ve been employing a little bit of trickery. I went with the “odd jobs” method where I start out sitting on the bed next to you then come up with a chore or reason to go do something outside the room. I’d leave the room and you’d just sort of putz around waiting. Each “chore” often takes a little longer than the last, but really it’s just me standing outside the bedroom peeking in while I’m watching YouTube video game streamers on my phone. You haven’t fully fallen asleep while I’ve been gone, but you laid there and dozed off a couple of times.
Come the middle of the night, when I’m also in bed sleeping, if and when you wake up, you come over and plop yourself in bed with me (your mother still takes the guest bed). And I love it…usually. Perhaps it’s undoing everything that I’ve been trying to train you to do, but since there’s no backscratching required, I think it seems like a good compromise. You’re only this age once and I can never get enough of you.