Perhaps it’s the sleepless nights talking but we can’t remember when M slept consistently well. We know she did all right after getting her boots, so close enough to know she’s capable of being a “good sleeper” but long enough ago to know that we have to do something.
And so last night I sat in her room, watching her kick her feet and scream. I stroked her head, handed her a soother and told her I love her. And then I listed to her scream for five minutes before I started all over again.
It’s not a popular method in this house but she is also not very popular at 2 am when it takes 90 minutes to get her to sleep and then she will only sleep 45.
There was only one reason we went with this method. There have been countless times that I’ve been busy with C and so Madeline has had to fuss in her bouncy chair. It’s never been for long and I’ve never been far away, but I’ve watched her fuss herself to sleep. We know she can do it.
But the variable we forgot to account for? It’s me. I can listen to her scream when I put her boots on because I know it’s best for her in the long run. I can listen to her scream when I’m wiping a poopy toddler bum because I know there is only one of me and the two kids each take a turn at coming in second. But I can’t listen to her cry when there is no immediately pressing reason to not pick her up, give her a hug and make sure she knows she is not alone.
I made it 30 minutes of “five minute checks” last night. It’s 23 minutes longer than I made it with C. And now, at two and a half, she goes to bed easily and stays asleep all night. We tried sleep training various ways over various times and then one day, she just figured it all out on her own. But you don’t always remember that at 2 am when you know you’ve already had the bulk of your sleep for the night. Sleep training becomes oh so tempting.
These broken nights are hard. But the broken heart of a mother? In the end, that’s even harder.