It's been a big week in our house! It's so big it defines this week for us. On Monday, April 23, 2012 I placed Elina in her crib to nap. I wanted to see if she could sleep in her room without any fuss. Morning nap went well and she had no problem going to sleep. The next test was the afternoon nap when Cati would be napping as well. To be honest with you, I was afraid Cati would get territorial about the room and not like that Elina was sleeping in there as well so the afternoon nap really worried me. I shouldn't have worried because both girls napped, Elina even slept through Cati's before-nap-tantrum and Elina stayed sleeping after Cati woke up.
I told myself I was going to ease Elina into her crib by starting her off with just naps but then I felt invigorated by the idea of having my bedroom back and I decided to see how Elina would handle sleeping in her crib for the night. I was feeling brave and, luckily, it paid off because Elina slept just as well in her crib as she did in her bassinet. She has been sleeping in her room ever since and it's been so fun to see how Cati adjusts to her presence. One morning Elina woke up and made her cat-like stretching noise and Cati said, "Elina no llore" and started singing her a Spanish lullaby. What's even more amazing to me is how in tuned these two are to each other. In the mornings and at bedtime I can count on them waking up and going to sleep within minutes of one another. It's as if they can sense each other. Here are my thoughts on the transition:
Putting Self to Sleep. With Cati I learned the importance of learning how to put yourself to sleep and self-soothe. Because I didn't want to have the struggles I did with Cati, I was more aware of how Elina was put to sleep. Instead of putting her down asleep like I did with Cati, I put Elina down to sleep when she's awake but ready for a nap. I've done this since we first got home and it's really come in handy. Last night, for instance, I laid Elina down for the evening and she fell asleep but then woke up again about 20 minutes later. She looked around, stayed calm, and eventually put herself to sleep again.
Ok with Crying. Crying sucks. There's no way around it and sometimes you have to deal with it. This goes hand-in-hand with learning how to self-soothe and sometimes tears are necessary. I'm not talking about letting the child cry for 10 minutes. I mean giving the child a couple of minutes to soothe themselves before going in to pick them up. Sometimes Elina goes down with a fight and when she does, I give her 3 minutes and 98% of the time after those 3 minutes are up she's either asleep or she spends another few minutes being quietly awake before dozing off.
Similar Schedules. What really pushed me to move Elina was that she and Cati were on similar sleeping schedules. Cati's afternoon nap and bedtime were pushed back 30 minutes because it was easier to have Cati keep up with Elina than the other way around. Also, I would start the bedtime stuff with Cati at 7pm and Elina would wake up from her mini nap at 7pm so I would be rushing to get Cati to sleep while Elina hung (or cried) out in her bassinet. Then I would do the "second shift" of bedtime with Elina while Cati hung out, awake, in her crib until 8pm. Now Cati gets her bath while Elina naps and by the time Elina wakes up it's time for book reading and Cati reads Elina books while Elina drinks her bottle. After the bottle, we all sit on the floor together, read more books, lights out, then Elina is laid down while I sit with Cati in the rocking chair.
Overnight Wakings. Elina is only waking once overnight. Talk about a huge difference from Cati who, at this point, was waking every 1-3 hours. This was another reason why I was ok with doing the transition now. With Elina waking only once hopefully Cati will get used to the noises (she wakes up with me entering the room and not with Elina's cries) so that if Elina starts waking more often Cati won't be too affected.
And now, cute pictures of the girls in their cribs throughout the week...