Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bed time rules...together...

In an effort to prevent this from continuing into her early teens, Chris and I have formed new bed time rules.  They are 1) stay in your bed after mom and dad leave the room and 2) stay in your bed until the morning. 

From the day we brought Scarlett home from the hospital she has been a super sleeper.  We moved her to her crib at a month and she very quickly weaned herself off of the midnight feedings.  At 8 months I decided she no longer needed to wake me up for a 5 minute mommy/daughter pow wow and we made the smooth transition to a 12 hour sleep cycle.  7 to 7.  At two she decided that crib escape was fun and would wander into our bedroom in the morning pointing out the obvious rising of the sun.  And now at two and a half she is of the opinion that mom and dad's room beats every other room in the house.  Because it has been so hot in our house and because we have been on vacation, she has been sharing our bed for the past three weeks.  If you know anything about toddler habit forming time tables this is comparable to a year of irreversible damage.  So, with Scarlett sufficiently adjusted to sleeping in our bed, and with only two months left before the arrival of baby boy Becher, Chris and I decided it is time to crack the whip and make bed time a giant priority.  Hence the above rules. 

We started the rules last night.  Calmly telling Scarlett that she is furthermore expected to stay in bed until the sun rises.  No more wandering the halls looking for the perfect place to lay her head.  Her head will now rest only on the soft pillow provided and her body will sleep peacefully on her new twin size big girl bed.  Of course, in true toddler fashion, she resisted the rules and planned her escape upon our departure from her bedroom.  We found her 30 minutes later, eyes closed and body rested into her determined place on our bed.  Close to sleep but just awake enough to realize when she was being gently transferred back into her bedroom.  We fought for a half hour against the agonizing screams and tears and reminded ourselves that tomorrow will be better. 

With every habit that we have had to break the first setting of our foot is always the worst.  You would think that we would learn and never allow the habits to form in the first place.  But one habit after the other we are learning what it means to be a parent.  To guide with rules and sometimes demand obedience.   To learn from our mistakes and proactively think about the future.  With every decision we make there is a consequence.  Good, bad or otherwise.  As Scarlett is entering her third year of existence we are taking more time to be aware of how our decisions effect hers.  And it is hard.  Being responsible for the reactions of another human being is hard.  Guiding another human being into understanding and responsibility is hard. Fortunately looking back at all of the decisions that we have made thus far and  knowing that we are doing it together is easy.  We are lucky to have each other to bounce ideas back and forth and encourage when all else seems hopeless.  When we think she will never sit at the table and eat her dinner, or understand what it means to poop in the potty, we can always find a sense of hope in knowing that we are together, supported and loved every step of the way.  So here is to a life time of breaking habits that should never have been formed in the first place...together. 


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