My outlook on parenting has been pretty laid back. I don’t get bent out of shape about many things, and have mellowed, as a person, since becoming a mom. The same thing happened to my younger sister. She was wound up as tight as a clock before having kids, and once she had her first one, she just relaxed. I remember being shocked by my little sister’s transformation – and here it’s happened to me now. But I’m not so shocked by it this time.
My outlook on everything parenting-related is that, “this is temporary.” Breastfeeding woes? They’re temporary. A baby who wakes multiple times a night? This will pass. Food strikes? Give it a week or so. Tantrums and fits? It may take a while, but this too shall pass. A refusal to eat dinner? Represent the food later in the evening.
So far, this outlook has worked wonders for me and my sense of calm.
When we went into transitioning Matthew to the big bed, I told myself that whatever happens, however long it takes me to get him to sleep each night – that it will pass. The first night was rough – I had to lay with him for an hour or maybe even longer. The second night dropped to 35 minutes and I thought I was rocking it. I was wrong. That was temporary 😉 The next night jumped up to 45 minutes and most nights after that took about 40-45 minutes to get him to sleep. (I am staying with him until he’s asleep because I just don’t want to have the fight about him getting out of bed. I want him to think that when he goes to bed – that it’s not an option to get up and wander around his room.)
Last night went really well. I was shocked, but I thought it was temporary. Tonight went even better! I think we’ve turned the corner to a much better, much faster bedtime routine. The last two nights, Matthew has welcomed bedtime stories with B (he used to cry for me every time). B is having him sit beside him verses on his lap, and Matthew seems to enjoy that. The last three nights, I’ve been taking his big blankets away after we sing because they were distracting him (covering himself up, then taking them off, then covering up again, etc.). He is more settled this way. The last several nights, I’ve encouraged him to lay on the pillows instead of me, and we’re both more comfortable. Matthew falls asleep laying beside me, not on me, and he doesn’t need to face me or touch me to fall asleep. We’re getting so close to me being able to lay him up on the pillows and walk out the minute his little eyes shut.
I was only in Matthew’s room for 21 minutes tonight. Before this transition, I was in his room with him for 13 minutes each night (I know this because of our singing routine). I will happily spend 20 minutes with him each night going forward if he’ll let me! Matthew was asleep at 8:55 – just 17 minutes after B walked out of the room. He hasn’t been asleep at 8:55 in over a month!
And.. Matthew’s still sleeping through the night. I’ve only had to go in to calm him down (AKA keep him in bed) twice in the nine nights he’s spent in his room. Sure, I went in to lay with him at 5:40 this morning to keep him in bed, but that has only happened twice as well. He’s getting up earlier than we’d like (6-6:30), but if we can get him to sleep at 9:00 each night, I’m OK with that. It’s a give and take. As long as he gets 9 hours of sleep each night, and 2-3 hours of nap time each day, I don’t really care what time he gets up in the morning (well, I do care because before 6:00 is not acceptable).
Everything is temporary. That outlook gets me through the tough times, and helps me marvel in the great times! I need to remember this in two weeks when we bring a new baby into this house!