‘One step, two steps, three steps forward; one step, two steps, three steps back’
These familiar words from one of Arthur’s current favourite songs are fast becoming the refrain for our ongoing adventures in the world of sleep.
I could go on…
‘Stop! Listen! What’s that?’
Ah yes, the dulcet tones of a waking toddler deep in the middle of the night. Always, of course, at just that precise moment when you have managed to find a little corner of bliss in your own slumbers.
We haven’t had things easy over the past couple of years as far as sleep’s concerned. Not that we’ve exactly made it easy on ourselves… Embracing extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping whilst shying away from any form of sleep training was always going to elongate the process. At least that’s how it felt every time I spoke to someone who’d chosen a more conventional path.
But actually, over the past month or so, things have definitely begun to change. Once he got over the pure excitement of having the sides off his cot Arthur really began to embrace his new sleeping quarters. We even had (whisper it) a couple of nights where he slept through and woke happily of his own accord around 8am, chatting away to his toys until we went down to greet him.
And then of course he got sick. And the fever woke him every hour and all that would make him feel better was booba. And when that had passed the lingering cough punctuated all our night times and it was just easier to bring him in with us.
And then he got better. And this week we’ve had some of those magical full night’s sleep experiences again.
(I should add at this point that whilst my two year old seems to be mastering sleeping through the night I have yet to get the hang of it again myself. I’m pretty sure I used to be an excellent sleeper, but the lack of interruption is currently a little unsettling…)
But, looking at all of this on balance, I would say we are most definitely making progress. And I’m happy that we’ve done it without ever having to leave our son crying in the dark, alone.
He really loves bedtime at the moment. His face lights up when it’s time to go upstairs, and he enjoys every second of his little routine with daddy.
Teeth, the ritual washing of selected bath toys, nappy, pyjamas, stories. He has acquired a sleep sheep – at first this was a purple plastic number which conceptually seemed to soothe him, but we’ve since progressed to a silky squidgy Welsh creature which is far more comfy to cwtch up with.
I still step in for the closing moments, cuddling up with Arthur in the dark for some bedtime booba. But often now he’ll happily lie down awake, and be asleep within seconds.
Most of the time when he wakes in the night he’s happy to settle himself. The times when he cries out for us and needs our comfort are getting less frequent. Though we still always go to him then, and we still have a bedside cot in our room for when he just needs to have us close.
As I write this I can hear him fidgeting over the monitor, and no doubt after a few steps forward we’re now due a step back.
But we are getting there, and the holy grail of an uninterrupted night’s sleep might just be in sight.
In fact we’re leaving him overnight for the first time ever this Saturday whilst we enjoy a bit of well overdue romance.
And do you know what? I think he’s going to be alright.
My word of the week this week is sleep.