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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Update on the bedtime saga

So, I had a great conversation with my sweet friend Barbara, who also happens to be a great psychologist and play therapist (shout out to Barbara for always being willing to talk through parenting trials!). We brainstormed some things to try with Aidan. Among them was trying to get Aidan help brainstorm how to make bedtime better for everyone involved.

I also had the idea that perhaps a new stuffed animal that was specifically for bedtime might help things along. I was going to make a big deal about how this is her baby and she needs to take care of it and help it go to sleep by cuddling with it like Mama and Mommy cuddle her to help her go to sleep. This was my devious plan.

So, last night I picked her up from school and we had the following conversation:

Me: Aidan, you know how at bedtime you yell and get mad and cry and Mommy and Mama get mad. Do you like that?

Aidan: No.

Me: Well, I have an idea. What if we went and got something special that would help bedtime be calm and quiet. Do you think that's a good idea?

Aidan: Yes.

Me: So, do you think it is worth it to yell and scream and cry at bedtime?

Aidan: Yes.

Me: What makes it worth it?

Aidan: 'Cause...I *really* want to watch "Dora Saves the Ice Princess."

Me: So, if you got to watch Dora before bedtime do you think that would help bedtime be calm and quiet?

Aidan: Yes.

Me: What if after dinner, you put on your pajamas and brushed your teeth and then you got to watch some Dora before bedtime?

Aidan: That's a good idea.

Me: How long do you think you would need to watch Dora before bedtime?

Aidan: 10.

Me: 10 minutes and then you could go to bed and be quiet and calm?

Aidan: Yes.

Me: OK, so the plan is: dinner, pjs, brush teeth, Dora, bedtime.

Aidan: Yes.

And we went off to Build-a-Bear to get a special bedtime baby (aka Hello Kitty).

We came home and shared the plan with Mama, who gave her blessing to the plan. It went very well in the beginning. We had dinner. Aidan got her pjs on and did the best teeth brushing I have ever seen and got to watch Dora (more than 10 minutes) and then went to her room with no trouble at all. We tucked Hello Kitty into bed and Aidan got in bed an started to read stories (Oh, and I gave her a little homeopathic kids sleep aid just to hedge my bets), and then...

Aidan gets out of bed, starts running around the room, hiding in the closet, etc.

First we tried reminding Aidan that Hello Kitty needed her help going to sleep. Aidan gave the 2.5 year old equivalent of screw Hello Kitty and went back to playing. So, then I told Aidan that if she did not want to snuggle in bed and read stories with us, that we were going to leave the room and not come back until morning.

I called Aidan over before we left and asked her what was going to happen if we left. She said, "Don't come back!" I asked if that was what she wanted. She said, "Go!" So, we turned out the light, turned on her turtle start gazer, and out we went.

While Aidan and I were shopping for Hello Kitty, Christianne had been changing out the door knob to one that locks from the outside. When we left the room, we locked the door. It took Aidan about 3 minutes to discover that she could not leave her room. Boy was she MAD. She screamed, hollered, kicked, attempted to pick the lock. Never did she sound scared, however. Just not happy about her circumstances. So we just let her go and stuck to our word that we were not coming back in until morning.

This went on for almost an hour. About 45 minutes in, she seemed to calm down, accept her fate, and turned on her pirate story CD. She climbed in bed with Hello Kitty and finally went to sleep.

We went in to check on her after she was asleep and made sure all was well. She's pulled the covers all the way over her head and was sound asleep. We unlocked the door and left it ajar in case she needed anything in the middle of the night.

Here's the interesting part. I heard her wake up around 4:00 or so. She got out of bed, found her sippy cup, and went back to bed without coming in to get me. Hooray on that front!

Aidan, if you are reading this years from now, just know it broke our heart to let her cry it out and lock you in your room, but it seemed the only option left. We love you!

1 comment:

Mama Zen said...

Oh, I know that was hard!