We’ve been rocking a fairly solid bedtime routine with C for as long as I can remember. Pajamas. Milk. Story. Song. Rock. Sleep. And it was fabulous, often taking less than 5 minutes to get her to sleep, so we didn’t worry about the haters tutting about nursing that close to bedtime, or rocking her to sleep, because they were all spending hours trying to get their baby to sleep.
When C hit 9 months, she stopped being a dream to put to sleep. The first night we blamed it on the fact she likely had her mind blown visiting the zoo that morning. The next night we blamed it on her raucous cousins at a family BBQ. By the third night, we blamed the 9 month sleep regression. Eight weeks later, we’ve just decided she either hates us and tries to make our lives hard, or loves us too much to spend one minute apart from us in sleep.
I’m sure the only real excuse we have is that vacations and family gatherings have wrecked havoc on her sleep in general, skipping naps and pushing bedtime to all hours of the night.
Or so we thought. While at a family wedding, my mother put our sweet baby to bed. Not to sleep. To bed. The sweet little thing fell asleep on her own. In a strange room. In a strange bed. Without us there.
We’re trying to replicate that at home, after growing weary of rocking her for hours as she flails about fighting with every ounce of her being. There has been no success for me. She’ll do it for Scott but not me. There have been plenty of excuses.
- Oh look! She’s teething! (Isn’t she always?)
- She’s moving around too much. It’s obvious that she just isn’t tired enough! (This kid has two settings: moving and asleep)
- She had a rough day because she banged her head/went for a walk/ skipped her nap/ had her nap
The one I don’t let myself think is: “She can’t put herself to sleep because I have created a pattern of rocking her”.
There is a certain degree of truth to it, as she does expect to be rocked every night I put her to bed at home. It just doesn’t seem to be a huge impediment at other times. After all, she survived a weekend away from home without a rocking chair. Even at home, she doesn’t need to be rocked back to sleep every time she wakes up: she’s been doing a great job of self-soothing for the last few months, only occasionally needing us in the middle of the night. It’s just an issue at bedtime.
Last night, as I tagged out after almost an hour of battling her, I ran to google for the answer. It provided me with two: the first obviously being that she needed to be sleep trained cry-it-out style or I will be rocking her to sleep until she is married because every child must fall asleep on their own by the age of four months, and oh my god, you’re a terrible parent to not have done that because heaven forbid there be another way to parent. And the second was less obvious but slowly appeared to me as I perused sleep sites, parenting columns and message boards: “This is completely normal”. Eleven months is just a rough time for sleep, whether it’s because of developing skills, changes in routine, or just general interest in the world.
A lot of big stuff will be happening for C over the next month. She’s getting so close to walking, and she’ll be starting “Daycare” at Nana and Grandpa’s soon. I think we just have to accept that nights may not get any easier around here for the next little while. But my little one isn’t all about the snuggles. She’s a loving girl, but in a very active way. Rocking her, as she finally succumbs to sleep is often the closest I get to a cuddle, and those cuddles recharge my batteries.
If that’s an excuse, so be it.