I thought maybe we had done it - turned some sort of corner, something had clicked. Four nights in a row my little girl went to sleep without a sound and slept through the night. Four blissful, glorious nights. Until tonight. But at least it's progress, and I hope we'll keep moving in the right direction. There are two big things that I think have helped:
1. A predictable bedtime routine. We used to take turns putting Violet to sleep. One night I'd give it a go, the next was Kev's turn. Now instead we've fallen into a pattern of going up together - she hops into bed and Kevin turns on her white noise. After trying (often unsuccessfully) for a kiss or hug (she's just not a big fan in general), he'll go downstairs while I rock her a bit, read her a few stories and sing a couple of songs. Violet doesn't tend to do well when I leave the room, so Kevin has started going in after me as the 'closer'. He'll sing her a few more songs, tell her a story or two, and leave the room. She loves her daddy to pieces, but seems to have more separation anxiety when it comes to her mama, so this seems to be working better for us. It wasn't something we planned, but it started one night and now this is now what she expects to happen. Funny how toddlers can be so hot and cold and so unpredictable, but they want to live in a predictable world.
2. A toddler bed. We resisted the toddler bed initially, figuring it was just one more piece of furniture to store in our very tiny house; one more unnecessary transition to make. Instead we bought a twin mattress and bedframe and called it a day. But after unsuccessfully searching for a bedrail that worked for the twin bedframe we had purchased, we tried the mattress-on-the-floor route. That didn't seem secure enough for her. She wanted her crib back in the worst way - I think something about the sides made her feel safe. I wanted to give her back her crib and buy another inexpensive one for the new baby, but Kevin thought that was a bad idea, so we decided to compromise and buy a toddler bed from IKEA. It is smaller and has sides, and I think she feels a lot more comfortable and cozy in it. The other great thing about the toddler bed is that when we stumbled over to her room in the middle of the night we weren't tempted to lay down and fall asleep with her. We told her from the start that it was too small for us to lay in and she eventually stopped asking us to 'snuddle wif her' (and as much as we might want to, we want to sleep more). That's been a huge help for sure.
So honestly, the whole time that these sleep issues have been going on I think a lot of the problem has been with us! It seemed easier to take take turns putting her to sleep; it was easier just to lay down with her when we were tired at night. Well, we've learned that 'easy' isn't worth it when you have to listen to your baby cry for an hour or two each evening or when you have to wake up two or three times a night.
Being a parent is hard - there's really nothing easy about it, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Not when I get to be the mama of that sleeping angel in the picture above. Maybe we'll get her to sleep just in time for this new little gal to come and wake us up five times a night, but you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. :) xo, Lauren