Wednesday, August 09, 2006

When Small Miracles Become Really Big Ones

Not trying to jinx this in any way, but ALERT THE MEDIA...

Sienna has "gone down" by herself (in parent talk this means gone to sleep) without a struggle Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and now Tuesday night too. Whoo hoo. (This has been over a year coming, folks.)

Somewhere back around last August or September, during that preschool transition, she just "needed" us to help her go to sleep. Either by lying down with her or sitting in the glider next to her, she needed assistance, reassurance, presence to fall asleep. So much drama. Some nights it took up to 2 1/2 hours, usually at least 1 1/2 to get her to go to sleep. There were books, and more books, talking, then no talking, squirming, and flopping, attempts to separate and her creeping down the hall after us. Believe me, it started to take its toll on us. (Understatement.)

I started the "re-sleep training" on Weds night due to an abysmally dark day that nearly drove me to my breaking point. See my blogpost called Distractions.

Determined to take back my nights single-handedly if I must, I began a new routine of outlining expectations, the consequence for not staying in bed, (yes, I resorted to a kind of blackmail...the removal of one of her dolls for a set number of days if she got out of her bed for anything other than the toilet or some extraordinary circumstance), going over the plan we'll follow (pjs, teeth, books, lights out, rub back, kisses, goodnight), gratuitous flattery such as "I know you can do it all by yourself" and "you're becoming such a big girl,"....and voila! she has done it 5 nights in a row now! Before I can come back for the 5 minute check-in, ("No, 4-minutes, Mommy"), she is long gone.

WTF! What took us so long?!

What am I gonna do with all this extra free time?!



Sleep's for pussies.



As if that wasn't enough of a miracle, today at the camp drop-off, she actually was able to say goodbye and separate without a huge showy display of clinging, whining, crying, wailing, or teacher interference.

We made each other our usual I-love-you notes, I gave her the choice on where to say good-bye, she chose the gate, we went over there and exchanged a hug, a kiss, and a high-five, and then she turned around and skipped (yeah, skipped!) away back towards her friends.

"Bye mom!"

What? Yeah, OK, Bye! I said as I exited the gate before she could change her mind.


For those of you taking notes at home, here's our strategy:

Outlining the expectations
Explaining the consequences for not doing it
Reviewing our plan
Gratuitous flattery
...leads to execution of a job well done!

Followed by congratulations and more gratuitous flattery for continued success.

Cocktails all around!


Suzy said...

Loved the line "sleep is for pussies". YOU ARE KILLING ME! Very, very funny.
Also the outline at the bottom:
Explaining the consequences for not doing it
Reviewing our plan
Gratuitous flattery
Leads to execution of a job well done!

This is advice for everyone, not just kids.
Great post Tanya.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Yea, Baby! Way to go! You have turned TWO major corners!!!!!!! Yippee! Jennifer says our kids work out what we aren't working out for ourselves. Obviously, you have been working on your s*&t, and Sienna is feeling freer to let go!

Lee Wolfe Blum said...

Reminds me of the book - All I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten. I think by Robert Fulgam? You are teaching her life skills ...that we can all learn from.
Yo Mama...You a Good Mama...Go Mama!