Monday, April 5, 2010

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy FAMILY!

I just have to tell you, our son is OUT OF CONTROL with personality. If you know me, then you know I have always been a bit over the top. Curtis likes to say "What's the deal? I'm at a 2, and you're at a 10." And, Curtis usually is at a 2, unless you catch him letting loose. Then, well, the total in our house quickly approaches 2,374,987,436. Add Gage into the mix, and the universe tilts a little more to the left. This kid doesn't stop. He doesn't have a "low" setting. He's maxed out, or he's asleep. And, the transition isn't always smooth. He use to fall asleep with a bottle and burp and go to sleep. Then it got where I might have to rock him a little but he goes to sleep. Now, he's a sweaty, swearing mess when I try to put him to sleep.
Enter: sleep training. Healthy sleep habits, happy child: a step-by-step program for a good night's ... By Marc Weissbluth
I was wondering when a good time to allow him to put himself to sleep would be, and that time has officially arrived. It's been working at night for bedtime. He might fuss for no more than 20 minutes and then he's out. Nap time hasn't been so easy. Who knows what words are coming out of his mouth, but he's letting us know he is NOT interested in a nap, even though he couldn't need one more. So, we're practicing sleep training for naptime now.
What do I mean by sleep training? I mean, you look and listen for the cues your child gives that say they're tired, and you lay them down for sleep before they get out of control. You can rock and soothe as much or as little as necessary. We practice Extinction. Meaning, I usually give Gage a bedtime bottle, and if he falls asleep, great. If not, we cuddle a little, and then he gets in his bassinet no later than 7pm. He might fuss for a while, but he understands its bedtime. You can expect that a child less than 3 months won't be able to self soothe. And, not all kids learn at the same time. Sleep training helps them learn to self soothe. He sucks on his fingers and kicks his little legs until he's asleep. It's worth letting him learn to self soothe and maybe cry for half an hour (protest crying, not hysterical tears. its more like squawking), knowing he will sleep and get the nap he needs for healthy development. There are set backs. Like sickness or teething. Or vacations. But, sleep train your baby, and as a toddler, elementary schooler, and teenager your kid will go to sleep well. Kids need sleep! The crazy screamers at the grocery store.....they need a nap. Or more night time sleep. Sleep depravation is a form of war torture. Don't rob your kids of the sleep they need. Everyone suffers. Including the brain development. Children who are well rested are better in social situations, as well as being able to be imaginitive and play by themselves. They can entertain themselves, and can be expected to be fun and charming to be around. Gage is a charmismatic lady killer when he's well rested. He is a beating when he's tired. I'm like, this is like a spanking to me. Don't misread that...I feel like I'm being beaten when he's super tired and cranky. Not that he is being beaten. LOL.
I think how full my life is, and I can't see it happening any other way. Curtis is not like any other man I've ever known. That's one of the reasons I married him (besides the obvious fact that he's devastatingly handsome and amazing). Our son is this crazy mix of us both. I mean, Gage looks like Curtis spawned him all by himself, but the personality...oh man. Gage is one in a skillion. (thats a 1 followed by 37 zeroes)

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