Sleeping Alone

This marks the 4th day that Calvin went to nap by himself. It started quite accidentally on the first day when he was putting his feet on top of me and up to all kinds of antics like messing with my hair because he didn’t want to sleep. So I told him if he wants to do that, I’ll leave the room and he’ll have quiet time by himself and this time, I won’t come back. Then he said ‘Ok, mama. You can go and don’t come back’. So I complied. Surprisingly, this time he never called for me so I let him be and within 5 mins(?) I saw that he had fallen asleep. Jackpot!!!

Then the next day, I was thinking to myself, “How will I make it seem like the norm for me to go away?” And while I laid next to him, he started playing a game about being closer and close and then further and further until I became a tiny little dot. And so I was dismissed. Again, there was a sleeping Calvin within minutes.

Then came the third day. Now, this was the challenge – will we able to continue on this streak? I tried to speak as if it was a done deal that he will go up and I will stay him for a while. It never hurts to prime him. Also, I read that we should have high expectations because our children will meet them. Well certainly, if you have low expectations, there isn’t the impetus for the child to go the extra mile if he has already met his target. This time, he asked me pointedly to stay with him. I decided to be upfront with him and said ‘Calvin, mama has some work to do. If I stay with you, I won’t be able to spend so much time playing with you later. Could you sleep by yourself? You did such a great job yesterday and the day before.” For the clincher, I also told him I’d go check on him every few minutes. So off I went. I decided to fold my laundry and appear regularly in front of his door. He called for me a few times to ‘check on’ him and I promptly appeared. After a few times, he managed to fall asleep.

Today was a bit harder. Maybe the novelty of the experience had worn off or maybe he was genuinely not tired and was a bit restless. I ended up sitting on a little stool outside the door playing freecell for 40 mins? intermittently popping in to give him a smile (no talking though) whenever he called. Hopefully this will build up to him being able to nap by himself and eventually work our way through the night time sleep too though we’ve also recently changed our routine and have one of us (generally me) sleep early with him until morning. I thought I could wake up earlier and have some time to get things done this way, but I ended up getting lots of beauty sleep and an early waking Calvin to keep me company at 7am every morning…

I’m not sure if it helped but I thought it reassured him that I set an alarm cuckoo sound on the iPad and I told him when the alarm sounds it will tell him it’s time to wake up. So maybe he feels that way he won’t be left out of any activity just because he was sleeping.

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