People who know me in real life and long time readers of this blog know that Pumpkin's sleep has never been an easy thing. When she was a baby, she woke a lot at night. Finally, at about two years old, she started sleeping through the night. But she has always needed someone to "snuggle" her to sleep. If I am home, she almost always wants me to do this. She likes me to lie in bed with my back to her, while she plays with my hair and drifts off to sleep. This usually takes about 30 minutes.
Well, I decided that it was time to change that. I consulted Isabel's excellent Bedtiming book and decided that the period between 3 and 3.5 years old is my last good chance for awhile to break this habit. As much as I love the time with Pumpkin, I need to get more time in the evenings for chores (and blogging, of course).
I was stumped about how to do this without a lot of drama and tears- two things that I don't have a lot of patience to deal with at the end of a long day. Inspired by my success with the binky fairy, I finally decided that I would offer Pumpkin the chance to get a new stuffed animal to snuggle to sleep with. We would read her stories (Hubby and I take turns doing this), I would lie down with her and listen to the first four songs on her favorite CD of lullabies, and then I would turn off the music, turn on her air filter (aka white noise machine), and, instead of getting back in bed to snuggle her like I usually do, I would hand her the new stuffed animal and leave the room.
I explained this plan to Pumpkin and she seemed interested, even excited. I asked her what stuffed animal she wanted, planning to take her to the toy store over the weekend to buy her a new stuffed horse or something. She said she wanted a stuffed crab. A crab? I asked. A crab, she confirmed.
So we ordered this online:
It came today.
So tonight, Hubby read Pumpkin stories. I read her "the last story" (a frequent request when Hubby reads her stories- I don't mind). We've been reading Winnie-the-Pooh. I read her the story about Eeyore's birthday. By this time, it was about 15 minutes past her usual lights out time. We turned the lights out, and listened to her songs. As the last song was almost done, she asked me to tell her a story that I made up and started telling to her at bedtime well over a year ago ("the zebra story", about bedtime at the zoo). I did, getting up and turning off the music at the agreed upon time. I finished the story, handed her the crab (whom she has named "Outside"), and left.
And she fell asleep on her own.
I won't believe it was that easy until we do it again tomorrow night. But enjoy this post- the time to write it and my new guided tour of my blog page was brought to you by Pumpkin and Outside the crab.