Since the clocks have sprung forward you can’t have failed to notice that the day stretches out for much longer. This means two things for my almost 2 year old:
– getting up earlier and
– going to bed later
I am not a fan. I should point out that we neither have black out curtains/blinds nor, since we upgraded her into her own bed, anyway of containing her. Back in the good old days she’d just lay and wait in her cot and quite often fall back to sleep for a little nap before waking at the required time. Since the transition I think initially she was lonely, a little scared, literally out of her comfort zone, discovering her newly found freedom and probably confused – understandably having no way of telling what the time was, i.e. whether or not it was ok for her to get up. In the first 2 weeks or so we had a couple of middle of the night visits. Daddy kissed her and put her back to bed with limited chat – that habit was stopped promptly. Then she woke up at 5 am a couple of times…. noooo, no, no no. that would never do. So I bought her a gro clock so she could learn about time, she could see quite easily that whilst the stars were out (on the clock) it was time to stay in bed. When the sun came up it was ok to leave her room. Other than the glitch of a couple of 3a.m-ers at the start she was getting up regularly at 6.30am. But I wanted to teach her that actually she should be guided by the clock which was set to 6.45am. This was for many reasons, in my mind if she ever awoke again at 3am again she would know it was not ok to get out of bed until the sun was up, at 6.45am. To re-emphasize this point we wrote on a piece of paper the numbers she would see on the clock as to when the sun would come up.
Well, there’s a few things to say here. What do you tell your toddler who very CORRECTLY assesses that ‘the sun is up mummy, its up outside!’ and then who, like this evening couldn’t quite get settled in bed because the sun was still up outside. Can’t blame them for being smart. Damnit!
But I had a rather unexpected situation this evening. 7.45pm: in bed settling Lolo. 8.15pm: still fidgeting. Mummy kissed her head as she always does, told her she loved her, that she’d see her in the morning and left. At 8.45pm (note: blazing sun only just beginning to set in the background) afore mentioned bambini walks into the living room and climbs up onto the sofa with mummy, asking what I was reading, could she read too, the sun was up so it must be time to still be up… I gently said no, it was time to go to bed, the stars were out on her clock. Then the tear jerker – ‘mummy sleep me?’ The 10 mins I’ll lay next to her at bed time to relax her, hug her and sometime send her off to sleep. Totally wanted to say yes but she’d already had her time earlier that evening. In the end I had to repeat it all about 4 times. But to my total and utter amazement, she got off the sofa, mummy kissed her good night/see you in the morning …. AND SHE PUT HERSELF TO BED!!!!! No crying, no arguments, tucked herself into bed and went to sleep! In my mind I was thinking – poop, what am I going to do if she refuses to go to bed. But no need!
I think it helped that there was nothing of interest going on in the living room, no: food, drinks, chatting, TV, lights etc. But where I thought I’d created a rod for my own back with this sun up business, distinguishing it as the sun up on the clock may in fact have been helpful. This last week she’s also been getting up at the right time which is encouraging. Its all habit and consistency, or so I’m told.