Friday, May 29, 2015

The Cold, Hard Floor

I may have written about our adventures with getting Clementine to sleep in her big girl bed before, but I looked back through the past several months' blog entries and couldn't find any reference to it. Maybe I was just thinking of blogging on the topic because it has been such a journey. If this all sounds familiar, then I apologize in advance. The journey may be coming to end. Knock on wood.

Several months ago, Clementine secretly conscripted Ms. Rita into moving her crib and replacing it with her big girl bed. Elise may have played a role, too, but my understanding is this was more Clementine's and Ms. Rita's idea than anyone else's. If a parent was consulted, it was only after the switch had been made, and Clementine was already basking in the glow of her accomplishment. At that point, it would have been too heartless to undo it.

When we moved Sam and Peter into their big boy beds in Brazil (really just twin mattresses on the floor in their room), I had to threaten them within an inch of their life several nights in a row to keep them from hopping out of their beds 55 times before they finally fell asleep.

I couldn't figure out why I couldn't convince Clementine to stay in her big girl bed, until I realized that I would never be able to yell or threaten her the same way I did the boys.

Not to mention, Clementine has never fallen asleep in her own bed. At naps, it is a completely different story. She will even tell Elise when she is tired and ready to go to bed. At naps, she crawls right into her bed--no fuss--curls up with her blanket and quietly goes right to sleep.

I tried letting her cry herself to sleep a couple of nights. I think it's called the Ferber-method. We used it on the boys--Sam especially--with varying degrees of utter failure. I don't know how we ever got them to go to sleep in their own beds, but they do now. That's all that matters.

But Elise and I quickly realized we could not let Clementine cry herself to sleep. We quietly acquiesced, and Clementine soon resumed crawling into my spot in our bed and going to sleep there. Every night, I would extract her from my side of the bed, manuever her through the mosquito netting, and slip her into her crib where she would stay, soundly asleep, for the rest of the night.

When she moved to the big girl bed, the "soundy asleep for the rest of the night" part stopped, and we found Clementine sneaking back into our room once, twice, as many as three and four times a night, complaining, "I can't sleep."

Well, no $h!t you can't sleep. You're standing up in the middle of our room.

I'm a pushover, though. This is not news to anyone, least of all Elise, and every time Clementine would come into our room, whining that she couldn't sleep, I would walk her back to her room and put her back in her bed. I would tuck her back in, grab a couch cushion and lay down on the marble floor next to her bed until she fell back to sleep.

When Elise or I were especially exhausted, we would just pull Clementine into bed with us, but this usually ended up with Clem either sleeping on one of our heads or completely horizontal in the bed when everyone else in the bed was vertical.

Finally, enough was enough and we did threaten Clementine. If she didn't stay in her big girl bed at night, we were going to lock the door to her room. Elise came up with it. It seemed a little harsh to me, but I'm not going to judge, because it worked.

Some nights, she will still come in. Most nights, she doesn't. But she still doesn't fall asleep in her own bed. That is...she didn't fall asleep in her own bed...until last night.

After the boys fall asleep, Clementine will read books quietly in her bed. She has her own bedside light on a shelf above her head that she can read by. Elise and I will sit and talk in the TV room just outside the kids' room. After a few minutes, we will hear the thud of a book falling to the floor, and Clementine will slink out into the TV room. I will prop a pillow against my lap and she will curl up on the couch and go to sleep. I will spread her blanket over her, kiss her on the cheek and run my fingers through her hair.

Last night, a little while after the boys fell asleep, Elise got into bed to read. I sat on the couch, catching up on Facebook on my phone, waiting for Clementine to come out. Eventually, I heard the thud of the book she was reading as it slipped from her fingers and hit the floor, followed shortly by the click of her switching off her bedslide light.

I sat and waited.

But she never came out.

I tip-toed into her room. She was asleep. I pulled the mosquito net around her and, too, went to bed. I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. I had become more used to her falling asleep beside me than I had realized. I don't doubt that will be the last night she puts her self to bed.

At least I hope it's not. For now. 

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