“My child will never sleep with me. He will never even enter my bed. That’s awful. I don’t care how long it takes me, he will always go to sleep in his own bed, and if he doesn’t go to sleep right away, he’ll just cry it out.” – Me, circa 2012.
“Well, he spends the first half of the night in his crib.” – Me, circa 2014. (Note that I generally keep my fingers crossed or knock on wood while saying this. It’s also a lie, unless you consider 11:00 PM or midnight to be the halfway point of the night.)
So, sleep training is WAY harder than I expected. The more I push, the more Mitchell resists, and the more he resists, the more my resolve crumbles.
He can put himself to sleep in his crib, but it takes FOREVER. He’s inherited the can’t-fall-asleep curse. He can lay perfectly still for at least ten minutes without falling asleep. But if you move, he’s up. I’ve come up with all sorts of plans to resolve this.
1) Prosthetic arm. I’m 50/50 on this one. It could go either way. Either I’ve stumbled upon a genius solution where Mitchell gets to cuddle with an arm all night long and I sleep undisturbed in the other room, or it traumatizes the kid and he’s forever afraid of people with prosthetic limbs. I’m not sure we know anyone with a prosthetic limb, though, so maybe it’s also a genius way to encourage Stranger Danger?
2) Mannequin. Since he always looks beside his crib when he wakes up and just rolls right back over if I’m standing there, I’m thinking he probably wouldn’t notice if it was a mannequin and not actually me standing there. The trick would be finding a 5′ pudgy mannequin. Not exactly a target market for most clothing designers.
3) Glow in the dark footprints showing the safe route out of the room. When we bought this house nearly 4 years ago, I thought the squeaky hardwood floors throughout the house were charming and homey. I thought of all the great squeaky memories we’d make. Yeah. No. Maybe 1% of those memories are great, like Mitchell discovering he can bounce on a certain floorboard and make noise. The other 99% are of me trying to remember exactly which floorboards squeak as I sneak out of the bedroom. I almost always guess wrong. So my thought is, paint footprints on the floor so I can just follow them out of the room! Foolproof! I mean, it might not be great for resale value, but whatever.
4) Give Mitchell our bed. An old friend told me of how, when they were raising their daughter, her family would play musical beds all night. Her daughter would join them in bed, then one of them would leave for another bed in the house, then the other would leave to join his/her spouse, her daughter would wake up to find them gone and go join them, and it would start all over. So what if we just cut the process short and give Mitchell our bed?
5) Send Mitchell to the dog bed. All he wants is someone to cuddle with all night, so what if that someone was a dog? I’m sure they could be bribed to stay in one place all night. My worry is how his friends at school will react one day when he says he sleeps in the dog bed. It sounds very A Child Called It. He’d eat the dog food if I let him, and any time he sees standing water he tries to drink it like a dog. I’m not sure we want to encourage this much further.
I would keep going, but I have a feeling that if the wrong person reads this, I may be reported. Besides, he just woke up and his stanky butt needs changed. Next subject: how I’ve failed at potty training!