Sunday, January 08, 2006

Testing, Testing

Maybe I shouldn't have declared success with Sweetie's new nighttime ritual quite so fast. I think I may have jinxed us by writing about it so soon.

Since I've last written, 2 out of 3 times Sweetie has tested us by getting out of bed shortly after tucking her in. Probably because I crept away so soon after leaving her room and she heard the floorboards creak under my feet in our 100+ year old house's upstairs hallway.

So, pretty quickly, my husband and I had to come up with a new plan. And so far, it's working quite well.

As soon as we hear her get out of bed, my husband rushes to scoop her up and tuck her back in bed - all without saying a word to her. The first night he had to do this 2, maybe 3 times before she gave up and just cried herself to sleep. The second night, she stayed in bed, albeit crying for "Daddy" and "up" all the while, for a good 1/2- hour or so before she finally ventured out. After plunking her down that time, though, it wasn't even 5 minutes before she stopped crying and fell asleep.

Last night I thought we'd be up against another fight, as she adamantly did not want to go to bed. But she stopped her crying within 10 seconds of the lights turning off and she fell asleep shortly thereafter. Perhaps her not getting a nap yesterday also aided in her quick trip to dreamland.

Anyway, we'll see how tonight goes - also a no-nap day.

I'm thankful that my husband and I were so quick to come up with this new plan. His help with this is really crucial, I think, because he is physically able to both quickly get to her and quickly and quietly scoop her up and put her back to bed. If I had to continue to deal with her on my own, I would have no choice but to talk to her and get her cooperation in walking her back to bed - the last place she wants to be at these times.

I really feel the not talking to her portion of this plan - and my initial routine with her - is key. The more you tell a child "no" and the more you verbally fight with him or her, the more fuel the child has to verbally fight back. Both parties get more and more riled up and nobody settles down very quickly at all.

If the parent doesn't initiate any dialogue, though, then the child has nothing to fight against and will settle down much more quickly. That's been our experience, anyway.

I'm curious to see how Monday night goes too, as my husband is away at a class during her bedtime. Hopefully tonight will go well and she'll be back on track toward success. If I have to go out of the ordinary routine to settle her on Monday, then I fear it will just set her back a few steps towards her independence in this matter.

Wish us luck. I'll keep you posted - but maybe not until I'm SURE things are regularly working well. Wouldn't want to jinx anything more than I already have.

No comments: