Two nights ago, I finally got fed up enough with how we've been sleeping (or, not sleeping, as the case may be), and I decided it was time to enforce a sleep schedule. I don't know why I didn't do it sooner. Well, I do know why. When my son was smaller, I hated letting him "cry it out". He's so stubborn, he'd cry for two hours straight and still not be tired. However, two nights ago, I decided that it was time, even if it meant he'd need to cry it out. Around 10 pm when he was still very much awake, I put him in a fresh diaper and jammies, tucked him into his toddler bed (which is still in our bedroom), read him a story twice, and said goodnight. There were many tears and loud protestations and banging on doors from his side of things. He managed to get out of the room once, so I calmly walked him back in and put him back in his bed. I had the baby monitor on, so I could hear the whole thing. At one point, I had to hold the door closed, so he could get the idea that he was to stay in the room. I felt equal parts guilty for shutting him up like that and glad that I was finally doing something I should have done a long time ago. Amazingly enough, he quieted down after about 45 minutes. I came into the room later to find him asleep in our bed. Apparently, he'd climbed into it during his crying fit. I moved him to his own bed and went to sleep. He woke up and came over to our bed twice in the night, and both times, I walked him back to his own bed and explained that that was where he was to sleep from now on. He stayed there until about 9:30 in the morning! Yesterday night, with some help from my husband (who'd been gaming with friends the night before), I enforced the ten o'clock bedtime again. And, again, there was much crying and banging on doors. Actually, I think there was more, and it was much louder! However, he did manage to quiet down and go to sleep, again, in our bed. We moved him to his own, and although he woke up a couple of times last night, he never moved from his bed. Also, over the last few days, he's been taking pretty consistent naps. What a difference it's made in my little guy! He seems to be happier, and though he still has the cough from a lingering cold, it doesn't seem to be as bad as it was before. Since we've had such success, we did it again, this evening. He started showing signs of being sleepy at around 9:30, so I decided to start the routine a little earlier. I changed his diaper and clothes, helped him brush his teeth, tucked him into bed, and read him a story. From the first mention of "night-night time" from me, he started crying, but he went along with it. He even lay down in his bed, even though he was still pretty upset with me. He only listened to the story half-heartedly, and it when it was time for me to kiss him goodnight, the tears flowed again. I closed the door and stood in the hallway to make certain he'd stay in the room. I heard a lot of "Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy" over and over, but no banging on doors. I think he actually stayed in his bed this time! I guess B and I will find out when we go to bed in a little bit. We've had the monitor on, and he has awakened at least once crying and coughing, but it hasn't taken him long to settle himself back down. I feel the need to go and check on him, but I really want him to learn to fall asleep on his own and stay asleep through the night. I think it'll make a world of difference for all of us. I know it was a big mistake not to start him on a sleep schedule earlier in life, but hey, I'm not a perfect mommy, and it's never too late to learn from our mistakes! Hope you're all getting more sleep, too.
P.S. B just came down to tell me that V's asleep in his own bed! He also told me that I may need to turn one of our bathroom lights on low, so V has a little light in the room when he goes to sleep. I guess I didn't realize how dark it gets in there with the door closed, because we always keep it open with a nightlight on in the hallway. Oops! Poor little guy. No wonder he hates "night-night time". Well, now I know.