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Compartment 14B

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Through the night he softly slumbers.

2009-06-09 - 2:12 p.m.

As I’ve said before, I love co-sleeping. However, there has been a shift of sleep habits chez 14B. With our first child, we could afford the luxury of staying with her until she fell asleep and, since she’s a bit of a night owl and falls asleep late anyway, not getting up again ourselves until she roused us the next morning. This led to some pretty hard-to-break bad falling-asleep habits in her, and we knew full-well that the same would probably happen with Biscuit too and we accepted that. What we didn’t foresee is that, now that we have two kids, we wouldn’t really be able to spare the nightly 2 hours it might take for him to fall asleep in the big bed with a parent at his side. We could truncate this a bit by holding his restless, squirmy self down so that he couldn’t fish-flop all over the place, grabbing and hooting at whatever caught his interest. Of course, he would howl with anger, but it made it a bit shorter. It was, however, hard on both the holder and the holdee.

We were also concerned that he’d wake up with no one there and not fuss, but quietly try to crawl, only to find out the hard way that gravity can be a cruel mistress.

So, for his safety, and our sanity, and for the sake of his sister who needs assistance with getting ready for bed and is partial to bedtime stories, in the last week we’ve, well, we’ve sort of Ferberized the fellow. We decided he has to learn to fall asleep in his own crib, and we gritted our teeth and let him cry, coming in at short, regular intervals to soothe him. And sometimes I just stayed and sat on the floor beside his crib with my hand through the bars so that he could lay his silky little cheek on it. But guess what? He never fell asleep that way. Once he was certain that I was staying he’d start to coo and fish-flop and look around, just like he does in our bed. So I’d have to leave.

And yes, he cried for over an hour that first night. And 45 minutes the next. And, well, 5 the next, and not at all the night after, and then we missed a couple of nights and he fell asleep in the big bed and we had to go back to 45 minutes, but if we keep at it for more than a night or two in a row he only puts up a token protest and then goes right to sleep. On his own. Huzzah!

And the goal is only to get him to sleep in the crib when he’d otherwise be alone in bed, so when he wakes up and fusses a little we’re right there to bring him back to the big bed with us. But last night he slept until 6:15 in the morning. Which I guess is awesome and a major milestone a lot of parents try for the-earlier-the-better, and is the first time he’s spent the entire night on his own, so that makes me happy for him, but a bit sad too because, as I said, I really do love co-sleeping.

Don’t grow up too fast my little Biscuit. You’re welcome in the big bed as long as you want to be there. Just not on your own until you can safely get in and out of it.

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