Sleep: Age 2
Sleep is such a huge issue for parents of young children and has been a hotly contested issue in our household, so I feel compelled to begin a new wave of updates with an update on our sleep situation.
We have now graduated from a crib mattress on the floor to a full mattress, mainly because it is larger and more comfortable and accommodates both an adult and a child. Though the transition was not difficult at all, I wish we had done this from the beginning for our own sakes! Nursing would have been much more comfortable without my feet hanging off the end of the bed!
We have removed the gate from Alex's door. I guess we reached a point where we felt confident he would come find us at night rather than wander, so we decided this was an appropriate way to offer him independence to get what he needed at night (namely, snuggles).
We now have a consistent bedtime routine with a flexible start and "end" point. When Alex shows signs of tiredness, we put on pj's and watch two scenes from the Sound of Music. He brushes teeth, gives kisses, and reads one or two books with us before lights out. Jeff and I have different approaches to what happens from there...he usually sings until Alex is asleep, while I do a soft, guided imagery ("Let's think about when we were in the woods today. We parked the car in the parking lot...") leading to instructions about how to get to sleep ("Now we'll close our eyes and breath slowly..."). I try to guide him about 85% of the way to sleep and then say goodnight and leave the room. It usually works pretty well.
More often than not, Alex comes and finds us at around 2-3am. Usually I notice him climbing into our bed, but I hardly ever wake all the way up. Around 6:15am, he climbs out of bed, tells me "Mama wake up!" and goes out into the kitchen to pour his cereal. Since I still have to get the milk for him (he can't open the fridge), I stumble along a few minutes behind. Thank goodness for automatic coffee makers.
Alex still naps about 2 hours per day, and we don't worry to much about how he gets to sleep for nap. Yesterday, he fell asleep on Jeff's shoulder as Jeff was talking with a contractor about our bathroom! He sleeps in his bed and comes to find us when he wakes up.
What I love about our current system is that we are continuing to gently move toward sleep independence while still getting a full night's sleep. There are no tears and no late-night battles. What I don't love are cold toddler feet and the early morning squirm! But I imagine I'll even miss them when they're gone...