So the week before Baby 2.0’s (now past) due date, Adam decided to fully embrace toddlerhood and use the word “no” for the sheer delight in refusal. Right now, it’s limited to when and what he’ll eat, helping to clean up a mess he’s made and sitting in restaurants. He’s come around with a bit of coaxing or a selection of choices or plain old-fashioned ignoring the behaviour on our part.
My patience is wearing thin, especially at the end of the day, hearing “no” to the instruction “go to sleep” is beyond what I’m willing to entertain. Since he was a baby, we’ve had so many problems getting Adam to sleep, stay asleep and not wake up at 4:00 a.m. that when he started sleeping through the night, I didn’t care HOW he got that way. We’ve held him, rocked him and most recently, we’ve both sat with him and held his hand while he fell asleep. He had never been alone while falling asleep and would panic if we weren’t there (but doesn’t panic in the middle of the night, oddly).
Lately, his bedtime interest lies more in entertaining himself than trying to fall asleep. Two nights ago, I figured that he can entertain himself whether we’re there or not so we told him very nicely that we would come back when he was ready to sleep. We went in and out a million times but he did go to sleep. Last night when he called out, I just called back “go to sleep”. AND HE DID.
This may seem pretty obvious to most parents but as a baby, Adam was a tenacious character. The “he’ll stop crying five minutes after you leave” never panned out. The “he’ll cry a little less each night because he’ll self-soothe” was the biggest parenting myth I’ve ever run into. I used to think that other babies must give up really easily or have very short attention spans because DUDE, Adam could hang onto something for a long time. Any progress we made with sleep happened when he was good and ready.
And apparently, he’s ready to fall asleep without us. He uses a pacifier and holds a second one in his hand, but last night and for today’s nap, I left the room and he fell asleep in a reasonable amount of time. Granted, the first thing he pointed out this morning with a hint of judgment and slight feelings of betrayal was that Thomas and I did not flank his bed last night. I tried to point out what a GREAT JOB he had done, without laying on too much of the “what a big boy” angle because I think he suspects being a big boy means doing things he’d rather not do.
At any rate, long may it last, Big Boy.