Up until last week, we were still putting Hannah to bed. By this I mean that we would lay with her on the bed, humming songs and patting her bottom, until she fell asleep. Then we’d slowly lift our big Heffalump bodies off the bed, hoping that the springs wouldn’t creak and wake the sleeping baby. We’d pry her cup out of her hand and remove Tigger from her grip and tiptoe out of her room. I hadn’t even given the idea much thought, or considered that she was getting big and no longer needed us to “put her to bed.” We were both happy to go with it and we just hadn’t had “that” discussion (like “that” discussion about giving up the night time bottle, or “that” discussion about potty training, or “that” discussion about sleep training – you know all the hard discussions that you know you need to have but just don’t have the energy to follow through on. Yeh that.)
So on our first night in our new house and anticipating the worst sort of night, what with a new environment for the kids, I tucked Liam in as usual and toddled over with Hannah to her room. My first thought was that I would not fit on her single bed which was against the wall on one side and half way against the compactum on the other, lest she fell off during the night. She was sleeping on a double bed prior to this, so we could fit comfortably then. My second thought was that I was just so exhausted from moving house that day, that I just wanted to shower and go to bed and I thought that if I laid my head on her pillow, I would never get up. So with that in mind, I tucked her in and excitedly confirmed how wonderful her new room was and how she was a big girl and how she was going to go to sleep in her new pretty bed. Then I switched the light off and left. I stood outside the door for about 30 seconds, and she was quiet. I bbm’d the husband to say he needed to keep an ear open for her and I got into the shower. When I got out, she was fast asleep. I was amazed. I put it down to exhaustion; they too had had a long day with the move.
The next two nights, we had visitors so she fell asleep on her dad’s lap the first night and on her gran’s lap the next. So last night, I tried it again, and voila she put herself to bed! Not even a moan or groan. In fact, it’s turned out to be so simple that I am suspicious! When we started this with Liam, it wasn’t exactly easy. He would call us back to tell us about his friend at school, or how he needed to make a wee, or how he was thirsty/hungry/scared – you name it, he had it. He would do ANYTHING to stall going to bed on his own. But this with Hannah? Too simple and too good to be true. I am waiting for her to jump out of bed and yell “SURPRISE – GOTCHA! Now come over here and lay your head on my pillow and pat my bum until my breathing regulates and I drift off to lala-land.”
Could it be that we’ve just successfully reached a milestone without one ounce of baby-drama? Come on, every.single.baby.milestone comes with some drama, doesn’t it? That this transition has happened so smoothly, and without me even initiating it, has me totally befuddled. I had to laugh, I’ve become so wary of my kids and how difficult everyday with them can be, that when it’s easy I immediately think there’s something fishy going on.
Anyway, one minute she was a baby, and then just like that it was over and she is a big girl. I now have an additional half and hour or so a day to do whatever I like. Alone. Do you know what I can do in half an hour? I can paint 20 nails, I can watch a show on TV, I can blog, I can lay in the bath. An extra 30 minutes in my day is like a gift, a special present that Hannah gave to me this week! Hooray! Long may the princess put herself to sleep, long may it last!