Lately, we’ve had to take the bull by the horns regarding getting Daisy to go to sleep by herself. To some extent, she forced my hand, by being ridiculously needy for an entire evening. She had come to the conclusion that the best way to sleep is in Daddy’s arms, and that any other way of sleeping should be resisted fiercely. Well, sorry, little girl, but life ain’t like that. The only way we were going to get any sleep THAT night, never mind any subsequent ones, was to be a little bit harsh. And very determined. As I said to Kevin, if we don’t have more will-power than our four-month-old, then we are lost, and lost forever.
So I did it. I sat with her while she screamed and screamed and screamed. I put my hand on her chest, so that she knew she wasn’t abandoned (I don’t know if that made her feel any better at all, actually, but it made me feel less evil), and I waited. It was half past eleven. For twenty minutes she screamed unremittingly. Then she continued to cry, but with less intensity for a further twenty minutes, during which time she started to introduce pauses. The crying got shorter, and the pauses got longer, and at ten past midnight, she looked with a sudden burst of interest at the cot toys on one side of her, then sighed, closed her eyes, and went to sleep.
Having done it once, I knew we had to keep doing it. The time had come to teach her to lie down and go to sleep, like the rest of us. So the next night, we did it again, but at seven-thirty, rather than at midnight. It still took forty minutes, but she was less overwrought to start with, and therefore less intense.
On the third night, the Friday, it only took twenty. By Monday or Tuesday, she was crying for a minute or two, and just lying there for about five, before falling asleep. What I’m telling you, is that it’s working a charm. She’s learning how to do it.
Recent developments are that I’m no longer sitting with my hand on her. Last night, she took twenty minutes to settle, but I really think she wasn’t that tired. In any case, she didn’t cry at all, and I didn’t touch her, I just sat in view. I reckon that by the end of the week, I’ll be walking out of the room while she’s still awake, turning the light off and leaving her to it.
It’s so liberating! Suddenly, bed time only take thirty minutes, including her bath and her feed. Plus, since we’re not desperately trying to avoid her waking up when we put her in the cot, we no longer have to faff about with hot water bottles, and making sure lying down isn’t a shock to her. I just put her down, and wait for her body heat to warm the bed for her.
My sister is ever so proud – she told my mum that we’re doing it exactly right, like the woman on Little Angels says…