Note: This is not meant to be a discussion on sleep training and whether it's good/bad right/wrong. Just a reflection on where we've been and where we are now. Please feel free to comment and give encouragement, but stay away from harsh judgement. We all do what we feel is best for our little ones and our families. :)
When The Bean was about seven months old Jen and I came to a breaking point. We were both exhausted from being woken up several times a night by our wonderful baby, who apparently was not so affected by interrupted sleep as we were. Though we had reservations, we decided to do CIO with him. We found a sort of modified version that we could manage and after just a few days with much less crying than we had anticipated, we had a baby who was sleeping through the night. It was life changing.
Fortunately we've experienced very few set backs. Teething never seemed to be an issue. Nor developmental milestones. Yes, we know, we've been lucky...
...Until now. For some reason, The Bean has started waking up at night. Somewhere around 4am I've been hearing the pattering of little feet up to my bedside. The first night it happened I bolted awake, thinking that somehow Sprout had manage to quietly climb out of the Pack'n'Play and get around to my side of the bed. (Night logic isn't always the most logical.) My heart stopped racing quite so fast when I realized it was her brother. Exhausted I pulled him into bed for a cuddle. Then, realizing that his sister would be awake within the hour, and four in the bed is really too many, I carried him back to his bedroom and rubbed his back for a few minutes while he drifted back to sleep. Most of the past ten days or so have been similar. Some nights he has climbed into our bed on his own. Other nights I've had to bring him water, or a snack, or sing him a lullaby before leaving him. Fortunately he seems to accept "It's the middle of the night and Mama still needs to sleep" as a reason for me to go back to our room.
Night One I was surprised. Night Two I was worried about a habit forming. But before Night Three my friend and fellow blogger, J, posted a Maria Montessori quote on Facebook, "Once awake, he is impelled toward those he loves, through rooms that are still dark, closed to the light. He goes, stumbling perhaps, but unafraid of the shadows and the half-closed doors, approaches his parents and touches them lightly." It's about a child waking up in the morning and going to his parents, so it doesn't apply directly, but it gave me a bit of a different perspective. The Bean comes to us because he loves us and he is comforted by being around us. And that's sweet. Really sweet.
It won't be forever that this little person is going to want to have us so close. For now, rather than worry about it, I think I'll appreciate the extra closeness and be thankful that he does go back to his own bed after he gets his extra snuggles.
Now it's late and I had better get to bed myself. Four am comes more quickly than you might think.