So, as I mentioned last Friday, our little sleeping beauties became zombies who wanted to stay awake all night. In desperation, I turned to Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers. I'll admit, I was a little hesitant to believe that putting them to bed early would make a difference.
But I'll also admit when I was wrong.
And boy was I wrong.
We'd been really lucky that our kids liked to sleep. They would stay up with us, go to bed, we'd stay up later getting stuff cleaned up, etc, and then we'd go to bed, and we'd all get up with the morning alarm. They seemed fine, took their two naps, and so on and so forth. We were tired, but that was the way it was supposed to be.
Enter in a few weeks ago. They were still going to bed between 9pm-10:30pm, which meant we were up until midnight cleaning up, then the kids were up by 1 and played musical awake until 4 or so, when we were both so tired that we just.wanted.them.to.sleep. By 7am when the alarm went off, we were tired and snippy, and just wanted to roll back over and go back to bed. But, no, the kids were UP and ready to go. Repeat... Repeat... Zombie... Zombie...
January 27th was the first night that I wrote stuff down. We decided to embrace her technique full throttle and create a nap schedule as well as a prebedtime schedule. With our enjoyment of eating out and entertaining in, we knew that gearing up for the next few (gulp) months wasnt going to be easy, but we made the commitment to get the kids squared away with decent sleep patterns (and enough sleep for their growth!). Instead of eating late, at 7:30 or so, we've changed dinner time to when Peter gets home from work, around 5:30-5:45. (We all eat together, around the table, so this was an important change for us. It has resulted in Peter usually snacking on something like cheese and crackers right before bed because he prefers eating late). At around 6:15-6:30, dinner is over and the kids are stripped and have their bath. Peter now handles bathtime. This gives me time to get their only bottle of the day (the night time bottle) ready and warming in water, while straightening up the kitchen. After the kids play 10 minutes or so, he begins washing Maya. I take her once she is finished and give her a massage with lavender lotion and put her in her PJs. By this time, Bobby is finished with his bath. Peter takes Maya for her teeth and hair brushings and I massage Bobby and put him in his PJs. Then, we switch again and Peter does teeth and hair for Bobby while I get the milk. We turn on soft music and turn off all the lights. The only light is from the fire (it also should be said that we blocked off the nightlights in the kids room so they are a very dull glow instead of the beam of light they were before). In silence or with a soft lullaby, we give the babies their bottles and then snuggle them until they drift off to sleep. (At this point, neither they or we are ready to give up the snuggles... We will first move towards independent napping (when they are 21-24 months old) and then independent sleeping.)
These kids are in bed around 7:30 (8 at the latest). No kidding.
So, below (in abbreviated form) are their naps and sleep cycles for the last week. This is just the first week, and we have confidence that things will get better as we continue.
Thursday: Bobby and Maya- 2.5 hours (at Uita & Grandpa's house)
Friday: Bobby-2h20m, Maya-2 hours
Saturday: Bobby-1h15m, Maya-1h40m
Sunday: Bobby and Maya- 2h15m
Monday: Bobby-1h50m, Maya- 1.5 hours (babies woken by doorbell)
Tuesday: Bobby-1h40m, Maya-1h50m
Wednesday: Bobby and Maya-2h5m
Thursday: Bobby- 8.5 asleep hours, 2 awake hours, 2 wakings, total sleep for the day 11 hours
Thursday: Maya- 10 asleep hours, 50 awake minutes, 4 wakings, total sleep for the day 12.5 hours
Friday: Bobby- 8h40m asleep hours, 1h40m awake hours, 3 wakings, total sleep for the day 11 hours
Friday: Maya- 10h35m asleep hours, 45 awake minutes, 1 waking, total sleep for the day 12.5 hours
Saturday: Bobby- 11h20m asleep hours, 40 awake minutes, 3 wakings, total sleep for the day 12.5 hours
Saturday: Maya- 10h25m asleep hours, 20 awake minutes, 2 wakings, total sleep for the day 12h5m
Sunday: Bobby- 10h55m asleep hours, 25 awake minutes, 2 wakings, total sleep for the day 13h10m
Sunday: Maya- 11h25m asleep hours, 5 awake minutes, 1 waking, total sleep for the day 13h40m
Monday: Bobby- 7h40m asleep hours, 3h5m awake hours, 3 wakings, total sleep for the day 9h30m (teething)
Monday: Maya- 11h45m asleep hours, 30 awake minutes, 2 wakings, total sleep for the day 13h15m
Tuesday: Bobby-9h30m asleep hours, 1 awake hour, 1 waking, total sleep for the day 11h10m
Tuesday: Maya- 9h55m asleep hours, 20 awake minutes, 1 waking, total sleep for the day 11h45m
Wednesday: Bobby-9h40m asleep hours, 1 awake hour, 1 waking, total sleep for the day 11h45m
Wednesday: Maya-10.5h asleep hours, 30 awake minutes, 1 waking, total sleep for the day 12h35m
Things still arent perfect. We still spend some time in the kids beds. For example, last night, during the single waking, we both fell asleep. But, that's getting better. We've spent more time in bed together recently, and since we are going to bed earlier (see below) we are getting more sleep!
When my baby is out (or, if P's baby goes out first, he takes mine), I finish cleaning the kitchen. Then, if there are other things I've got going (like laundry), I finish that and put it away. Finally, I grab any overnight provisions we might need and straighten up the toys in the living room. Usually, by this point, Peter is on his computer relaxing, and I climb into bed and read for a bit. But, between 9:30 and 10pm... I'm in bed. And it is great.
Like I said, we have a ways to go until the sleep situation is optimal and this is only the end of week 1. But, right now, I'm ready to nominate Elizabeth Pantley for sainthood.