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I thought he was broken. That he would never again go to sleep on his own, without crying. That I would never get more than an hour of downtime before I needed to go to bed myself.
But I think we've turned the corner.
Daylight Savings kicked our butts this year. (And as Timehop kindly reminded me, he went three straight days without napping last year too, so I shouldn't have been surprised.) Dylan typically falls asleep around 8 with the bedtime routine (books, stories) starting around 7:30.
I did try to back things up a bit before Daylight Savings hit, but I was kind of haphazard about it and he pretty much still went to bed at 8.
After Daylight Savings, we tried to do things somewhat normally, so we went in his room about 7:30, maybe a little later, same routine, same everything, but he screamed when it was time to go down (even though he seemed tired, even though he napped at normal adjusted times). So then Dad went back in, then I went back in and sometime after 9, he was asleep. This exact routine went on for about 3 days. Then Mr. GG went out of town...
...and Dylan didn't go to bed until 10, on me. And I debated every minute whether now was an okay time to leave the room, because I desperately did not want to start the process over again. I finally got out at 10:45. Oh and this is after he took a ginormous dump in the bath, while laying down. I didn't notice for a minute and there was poop EVERYWHERE. SOOOOOOO GROSSSSSSS! I had started bedtime later that night, around 8:30, trying to avoid the pitfalls of the previous nights. But no, it was one of the worst sleep experiences in his two years of life.
My wonderful husband gave me the night off the next night, I went out for a glass of wine and a massage and it felt like a vacation.
The next night was me alone again. Dylan was up to all of his normal tricks, but I went through all of the normal steps...if drawn out a bit...put him down...and he screamed bloody murder. But just for 3 minutes. Then miraculously, he just stopped!
Since then, we've slowly been getting bedtime earlier, two nights ago was 8:40, last night was 8:25. By the time Daylight Savings screws with us again, we might just be back to 8:00.
I do think what worked best was being firm with him that mommy was going to put him down and not come back in. I guess he told that nanny that he cried so I would come back in! I mean I know that's kind of true, but for him to be able to articulate it the next day? Problem. So I've been firmed, he's put up a brief protest and sleep has won out.
What I told him the last couple of nights is that if he doesn't want to go to sleep, he can think about trucks, or cars, or boats, or helicopters, or the carwash, or dog beach, or the pool, or numbers, or letters or anything he wants to. He puts up a fierce protest at each stage: chair to standing, standing to crib, but once I put him in the crib and leave, he seems to know it's okay and that I'm not going to come back. Hopefully.
If you want a recap of our routine:
- Phase 1: 3 Books in the Chair
- (and sometimes "one more")
- Phase 2: Light off, stories/songs in the chair
- ("Tell daddy's car carwash." "Tell dog beach.")
- Phase 3: Stand up, rock near crib, song, then counting
- (this is the phase of most protest "sit chair!""Go outside.""Milk!!!!!!!" Last night we said milk almost 30 times after every number while I was counting to 30. I just ignored and kept counting after saying No milk.)
- Phase 4: Put in crib, arrange blankets just right, rub back and count to 10
- Phase 5: Wine