I was cranky and angry. This sleep time challenge was not going as smoothly as the one I did last year. And that was no cake walk either. I was not getting consistent progressive results. I know my methods are not scientific and may not be the best, but it’s what I decided and I was hopeful they would work. I knew my problems wouldn’t be completely fixed in just five days either. I just needed to feel we were moving in the right direction. After Ellie pulled a fast one on me the day before, I was determined to finish the five day challenge on a high note.
Aya really wanted to step in to give me a break, but I was adamantly against it. I was protective of the little progress I had made and didn’t want to give up control yet. Naptime was the only consistent thing in this whole fiasco so our compromise was that she would handle Ellie’s nap, and then I would handle bedtime. This little girl of mine is a stinker because she acted completely different with Aya than she did with me. However, after a few hiccups, she went down and had a restful sleep. I was up next. I had spent the afternoon at a local coffee shop slammin’cups of coffee so I was ready to go. Bring it!
When the moment for bedtime arrived, I was very focused. Still cranky and ego bruised from the previous night’s loss, I was ready to take her down. I mean put her down. The mood in the room was tense. We were like two people silently arguing. Saying only what needed to be said and being uncomfortably and awkwardly polite. “It’s time to read books, how about the duck book first?” I’d ask expressionless. And Ellie would respond blankly with, “Yes of course. I really enjoy the duck book, thank you.”
We got through the bedtime routine without any major episodes or power struggles. It only took maybe a total of 45 minutes including the bath for her to fall asleep. And like that, the challenge was over. It didn’t feel like a victory though because I knew she would wake up sometime in the middle of the night (which she did).
Not feeling the sense of accomplishment I was hoping for and in need of some love, I went to get ice cream for the second night in a row. I got something from Coldstone appropriately named, “The Pie Who Loved Me.” With ice cream in hand, it was official. I had won… I guess.
I hope you’re not as disappointed as I was. The end of the five days does feel a bit anti-climactic to me too. I do consider it a win, it just wasn’t triumphant. I had made major progress. I hadn’t slept on her floor since day one! That had to count for something. I was just feeling a little lost as to what to do next. Should I just continue what I was doing and hope for the best? Or abandon this and try for something new?
The real kicker came when I talked to my friend who was in my same situation at the beginning of this. A week later, her kid was now falling asleep just fine and she doesn’t even have to sit in a chair or lie next to the bed or anything. What!? How did she do that!? Here I was, working my butt off like a chump! I was feeling extremely discouraged. I guess winging it just didn’t work for me this time.
However, I’m happy to report that the current situation is looking very promising. Now, a week after the sleep time challenge ended, Ellie falls asleep in her room by herself at naptime and bedtime without crying, screaming, or shouting. After her bath, we sit in the chair and read a handful of books. I announce when the last book is and after she crawls into her bed, I tell her she’s a big girl now and it’s time for her to rest and go to sleep. We say our good nights and I walk out of her room leaving the door open. And that’s it! She might holler out “Dada” a few times, but it’s nothing traumatic for either of us.
The Midnight Monster still shows up, but I think we are making some progress on that too. The monster isn’t as fierce or as desperate sounding as before and goes back to bed in just minutes. She’s also showing up later in the night and less frequent. And it’s been almost a full week since I’ve heard intense banging on anybody’s bedroom door. I think I’m reversing the curse!
So, did I fix everything 100%? No, but I definitely nudged things in the right direction. So whoever won or lost really doesn’t matter, we both went the distance and are now reaping the benefits. And that my friends, makes us both winners.