We did it. We survived the monster 18 month sleep regression and almost with our sanity and collective cool intact.
Now, I know. We’ve only done this parenting thing once, but I’m serious- we get complimented on our 22 month old EVERYDAY. She is a happy, intelligent, thoughtful and imaginative child, that very rarely has tantrums that we can’t work thru. We happen to believe that she is so happy and well adjusted for a couple different reasons, but the chief one is:
We’re attached parents. This is a pretty broad statement, but for us, it means simple things, like never turning down a hug, or keeping her with us the majority of the time. Plenty of people ask to babysit her all the time, but honestly, we believe the best place for her is with us, and many studies show, children with strong bonds with their parents THRIVE instead of just survivin… Which brings me to the next reason I feel Izzy is THRIVIN’ – my story is a SCHEDULE and ROUTINE and I am sticking to it.
No, really. And I’m not the only one that feels this way
Every day, Izzy has a fairly good idea how the day is going to go. This creates routine which is comforting to kids. They learn by constant repetitive actions and motions and words. Of course a schedule would help them learn what to expect come bed time.
But now for our regression story, and how we are now at 22 months and shes been back to her normal 7:30pm bed time for over 3 months, which is officially regressions butt kicked, in my opinion.
Right before thanksgiving, and around the time Izzy turned 18 months, we did this crazy little thing called moving our entire lives… coincidentally, this happened right when 4 of her teeth all decided to start moving around and coming in. AND at the same time that mrgillis and I decided that enough was enough, and the bottle had to go. That was actually the easiest of the whole shenanigan. But that’s a whole other blog… so back to the matter at hand.
These seemingly trivial events all collided one evening, to be very specific it was the night of mrgillis’ grandfathers 98th birthday gathering… we took Izzy out after supper and let her eat a little bit of my cake and ice cream… everything seemed good when we left there around 7, knowing Izzy would be up a bit later then usual.. and this turned into an Izzy that was restless at 8 and screaming when we tried to take her to her room. She was beside herself and demanding snacks and drinks. She was in a rage until she cried herself to sleep by nine. She then, slept thru the night like normal, and went down for a nap like normal, only to be a mess the next night come bedtime. She wanted her cup, a peanut butter sandwich, ALL the toys.
NOTHING about her old routine would soothe her, and the bottle was out of the question as she had already gone over a week without one. It was night after night of this same rigamarole for two weeks straight.
And one night, after I had picked everything up and said “no more toys, honey, it’s time for bed” and she launched into another screaming fit, I cracked. I took every toy and book we had for her and put them in a big box and said, “Toys are for daytime.”
I got on her level, which at this point was the floor because tantrum, and said very simply, “I love you and you need sleep”. I picked her up, took her to her room and had to lay with her for over 30 minutes of flip out crying, tantrum and anger.
She fell asleep earlier then any other night in the last 2 weeks. Mrgillis and I went to bed before 10, FINALLY. It was amazing.
The next night, we went back to the old routine- bath, jammies, books and cleaning her teeth. I went into her room and withstood a 15 minute rage of flying elbows, headbutts and scream/crying. Then she was asleep.
The next night, we followed routine, I steeled myself for another 15-20 minute crazed fit of hysterical toddler, and low and behold. She didn’t cry at all, she laid in bed with me, playing gently with my hair for 15 minutes or so, until she fell asleep.
Now at 22 months old, she willingly goes thru her bedtime ritual, sends kisses to her father after a big hug goodnight, and lays calmly in bed with me, until she falls asleep. Some nights, we’ll lay there for longer then other nights, but all and all shes asleep every night by 7:30 and sleeps thru until 5 or 6.
So, routine and schedule, folks. Routine And Schedule. Its not that hard for me, because, much like a toddler, I get very grumpy when my regular schedule has been interrupted.
Until next time, have a wicked great day!