52:2 Not easy
Change is not easy
Around Thanksgiving last year, we moved Elisabeth into her “big girl bed” in her room. Since she was 6 months old, she had been sleeping with us. But with a growing belly and some major bed hogging and kicks from a toddler, it started to get really uncomfortable sleeping in the same bed. Travis had even resorted to the couch most nights because it was getting really hard to sleep well. So we decided to convert her crib (virtually unused) into a full size bed. She was all about it but when it came right down to it, she still wanted me close to her at night. It’s how she slept the best. But I just couldn’t do it anymore; not without losing sleep myself as I became more uncomfortable with a huge pregnant belly. Plus, I started to worry about how I was going to manage a newborn sleeping in our room and her sleeping in our bed and if baby would wake her at night.
She would wake and cry several times before morning so when she would wake in the middle of the night, I would go into her room and just sleep with her the rest of the night. I was still not sleeping well there and I was exhausted. So I decided to do what I never thought I would ever do. Let her cry-it-out. I thought well, she is older now and knows what I’m asking her to do; she just doesn’t want to do it. Unlike infants that need that comfort and just can’t communicate it… or so I thought. I gave it one night and I surprised myself by sticking to it; mainly because I was so exhausted at that point. But she never wavered. NEVER! I don’t think she slept a wink that night. I had to put up a baby gate at her door and she resorted to throwing every single one of her books and toys in her room over the gate, she broke her lamp, stripped down naked, peed on the rug, and shouted such things as ‘This is ridiculous!” Yes, my 2.5 year old told me straight up that this whole thing was ridiculous. And she was right… it was. I felt so bad the next day and ashamed that I had gone against my own best judgement, my own instincts as a mother and did something I swore I would never, ever do.
The next day I apologized to her and gave her extra love and attention. That night when it was time to go to bed, she had tears in her eyes at just the thought of having to say goodnight. I apologized to her again profusely and told her I threw the gate in the trash and that I wouldn’t close any doors. I told her mommy was wrong for what she did and promised to never ever do it again. I promised her that I would stay until she fell asleep and that night I resolved to accept that this change for her isn’t going to happen overnight and it’s not going to come easy. The solution that I have accepted instead is I put her down in her bed and she stays there until she wakes around 1:30 am, at which she comes into our room/bed and sleeps the rest of the night there. It’s actually working out well and I feel like I’m getting the rest I need. And she gets the comfort she needs at night to be near me.
I’m still not sure how I’m going to manage this arrangement when the baby comes. I plan to co-sleep (not bed share) with the new baby at the beginning. Then I plan to move baby into his/her room after about 3 months, which will be around Elisabeth’s 3rd birthday. I’m hoping she will see the baby sleeping independently and be encouraged to do the same. If not, I’ve learned that even though I was ready for a different arrangement, she still needs me there at night and I will always give her what she needs when it comes to her comfort… even is she’s still coming into our bed well into her teen years. I’ll welcome it with open arms.
Change is not easy. It takes time and patience – something my sweet little girl taught me this week. She keeps reminding me of how I put up the gate and will ask me “You’re not going to put up the gate or close the doors?” and my heart just dies a little more ever time. I just hope she forgets and forgives soon enough and knows how much I love her with everything I have. If she never forgets and still reminds me of this well into adulthood, well… I’ll just have to blame it on the pregnancy hormones and spend the rest of my life making it up to her.