Peanut's sleeping chart seems to be working really well - we are down to maybe twice a week night waking, which is a far cry from 4 times a night. She gets mail and stickers as well as a star on her chart when she sleeps through the night. At the end of the week, she can "win a prize" with enough stars. She is waking up saying "I slept the whole night! I think I have a sticker!" and more often than not, she is right. When she hasn't got mail or a sticker, she'll tell me that she woke up twice or daddy had to come in or whatever the reason. At this point, she really gets it. She's happier, I'm happier - the chart is a hit. We have taken the next step in establishing a more sane household, and are working Pumpkin back into his crib all night. He was in there for at least half the night for a while and then somehow it crept back up to sleeping with us almost all night, and I was really getting no actual deep sleep, which makes for a very crabby mommy.
For the past two nights, we have implemented a sleep routine and bedtime for Pumpkin, and it has been going pretty well. He has staying in his room both nights, and we have tended to him 4-5 times each night, sometimes for a minute and sometimes for an hour. He nurses at night, so there are times when he needs to eat, but those are becoming further apart too. It is really amazing to see that if you give Pumpkin the opportunity to fall asleep on his own, he can and will. He used to easily go down for naps and night, but I think he got into a habit of relying on mom and dad to do all of his soothing for him. We've been telling him: "we know you can fall asleep on your own", "it's so hard, but you can close your eyes and relax", "I know you are so tired and need your sleep", "I'll be back if you need me", and "I'm so proud of you", before we walk out of the room. I feel like believing it is possible is maybe more than half of the solution. If I believe he is able to fall asleep without me holding him, then he will. And he does. And I know from experience with Peanut, that it will continue to get easier for him to do so, and he will sleep for longer stretches. Just last night, I heard him wake up at around 6am, let out one cry, and then go back to sleep.
OK, I will admit that I am co sleeping drop out. I loved having my babies close when they were in the co sleeper, and before they were really mobile. It's really a different story for me once the baby is rolling and crawling. Pumpkin is so active that he could easily crawl up and out of a co sleeper by now, and can definitely climb over whatever barrier we set up for him in the bed. He can, and he will, so it is truly unsafe for us to fall asleep if he is restless. In addition, if he is close to me, he holds my chin, nose, hair, cheek, ear...whatever part he can get and fidgets all night. So even if I felt he wouldn't crawl away, I am still being mauled by an 8 month old, and can't sleep at all with his sharp little nails digging into my eye. I am really jealous of those families that are able to safely and restfully sleep together, but we are just not one of those families. Although I haven't slept well the past two nights, I have slept more comfortably without worrying that he is too close to the edge of the bed, or crawling up to the headboard. I also realized that in order to keep Pumpkin in a safe spot, I was always sleeping on one side which was really wreaking havoc on my neck and shoulder. I'd love to get back to my morning workout routine. I hadn't been able to do that because I didn't want to leave him in bed with Honey alone and one side of the bed completely open for falling, and transferring him successfully to the crib was clearly a pipe dream. So, yeah, we can't co sleep and be patient, well rested, thoughtful parents.
Here's hoping that a little sleep is all it will take to be more patient!