It took me longer than most to move Lauren to her crib. She slept in our room for about the first 4-5 months. She then moved upstairs where she would sleep about half the night by herself, than when she woke up, I would crawl up stairs and sleep with her in the guest room. At this point I was still rocking her to sleep for both nap and bedtime. That lasted about another 4-5 months. Finally, as it took longer and longer, to get her to sleep and I longed for a full nights sleep. I did it. I let her cry it out. It was pretty horrible. I had to go outside so I couldn't hear her cry. The first time she cried for 25 minutes. To me it seemed like hours, after all I spent the other 23.5 hours of the day playing to her ever impulse so she wouldn't cry. From there is went slowly down.......11 min, 7 min. 3 min, until it was silent. It really only took 4 days. Which had me saying, why on earth did we not do this months ago? But you live you, you learn. We had us a good sleeper.
I say all of this because I wanted to capture our current bedtime process and felt the need to have the entire history included. And I will say, it is long process. It didn't start out this long, but she is smart, she knows how to work it so bed time is pushed back just a bit. I read somewhere if your bedtime process is so long you have to actually write it down for a babysitter, then it is too long. Will ours is, and I do and oh well, my kids sleeps for 12 hours and still takes a 3-4 hour nap. I'm not messing with that! So, here is the long goodnight.
She gets a bath every night. (Doug and I switch back and forth.) Then I take her upstairs. We sit in her rocker, and read 2 stories: 5 wishing stars, then 10, 9, 8 it must be in that order. Then she thumbs through her Bible and then I read her a few verses. Usually a Psalm, because she has a King James version and honestly, The Psalms are the easiest for me to read. Then we say a prayer. She has really started to understand this and it is very cute:
Me: Dear God, thank you for this day, thank you for (whatever fun thing we did that day)
Lauren : Thank you for Momma, Daddy, Abby (the dog), Lauren (yes she is thankful for herself). Thank you forrrrrr Mom Mom, Pa Pa, Mimi, Grandad. AHHHHHHH thank you for (which she says more like thank you fer) Caroline, thank you for Avery (friends from Playgroup) (occasionally she throws in a thank you for Avery's house, kinda funny)
Me: Thank you for all the Aunts and Uncles and all the cousins, thank you for Ganan
Lauren: And thank you for Caroline and Avery (she really loves her friends)
Me: Thank you for Jesus, In Jesus' name
After the ever growing prayer, we count her toes and fingers and face (2 eyes, 1 nose, etc). Then one, two, three lights out. And finally I sing her a song, the same song every night. Not sure what the real version is, but we used to sing it at the end of Gymboree and I changed it to:
It's time to go to bed.
And after 3 rounds, I lay her in her crib. (Yes she is almost 2 1/2 and still in the crib, but as the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.".) She rolls over, I cover her up, she grabs her baby, and I lean over and she pinches my neck, twice and then says "I'll pinch my neck now". (Lauren has a thing about my neck, that has gravitated to her neck. It started when she was nursing and I guess it is her self soothing mechanism. Hopefully she will out grow this.) I rub her back and walk towards the door with a "Sleep good baby, have sweet sweet dreams. Goodnight baby, I love you." And on some nights, I am lucky enough to hear back before I close the door "I love you too, momma." And that is worth the 10 minutes it takes to do the above.