Saturday, April 24, 2010

you can call it a bribe, I call it a reward

I co-slept with all three of my children. Not something I ever thought I would do. But it felt right and worked for us. Sam and Teresa transitioned into their own beds relatively smoothly. I thought I was such a smart Mom for figuring it all out and everything going off without a hitch. And then along came Katie. My baby. Who was in no hurry whatsoever to be in her very own pretty big girl bed. I tried laying down with her upstairs, but within an hour of falling asleep, down she'd trot and climb into her spot in the middle of my bed. I kept telling myself she was so little still. There was plenty of time for learning to sleep on her own. Which is perfectly true. But truth be told, she is no picnic to sleep with. She sleeps with both arms and legs flung out and thrashes about often whacking Joe and I in the head. She has the endearing habit of rubbing her own, or someone else's, ear when she sucks her thumb and I'd been jerked awake once too often with her latching onto my ear and pulling hard on it. Ouch!

So for the sake of my sanity, and my sleep, I decided we needed to make a better effort at getting her to sleep upstairs. My sister used the tried and true sticker chart to get her son to sleep in his bed so we figured we'd go with that. Teresa made up a chart and picked the completely random number of 30 sleeps in order to earn her reward. It actually wasn't a bad choice. After thirty sleeps upstairs, it should be a habit. Little did I know it would take her nearly a year to fill that chart. There were times when I suggested abandoning it, but Katie would have none of that. She liked her chart but she just made the transition at her own pace. I knew she would get there so didn't stress that it was taking so long. In fact, I relished the times she came down and slept with me more and more, as the frequency of those moments decreased. Now she sleeps upstairs all night with not a problem at all. She occasionally comes down early in the morning for some Mumma cuddles and I don't even mind when she grabs my ear and twists it inside out.

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