Anne has been an amazing sleeper since birth. Starting on day 2 of her life, she slept 4-6 hours straight before waking for a feeding. After that she'd wake once or twice more until she got up for the day. When we moved her out of our bed and into her bassinet in her room at 6 weeks old, she would wake 1x for a feeding-somewhere between 6-8 hours after going down for the night. At that point, she only woke one time until 10 months old when she gave up waking. At 10 month until a month ago, she has slept 12 hours straight at night. We have never had to deal with middle of the night sickness, nightmares, sleeplessness, etc. We have always known our daughter would go to sleep at 7 pm, and not open her little eyes again until 7 am the next day.
Now that she's in a big girl bed, that has all changed. Our good sleeper has disappeared and probably a normal one has taken her place. We put her down between 7:30 and 8 every night and she gets out 2-3x before falling asleep-usually accompanied by tears. Then she'll wake about 2x during the night, which at that point we have to take her back to her bed, again, accompanied by tears and her desire to "what about playing?" (at 2 am-I don't think so sweetie!) At 5:30 am she wakes up for the day, gets out of her bed at least half a dozen times, and is walked back to bed by my wonderful, glorious husband who deals with almost all her middle of the night adventures. At 7 am, after many tears, wanting to "come out" and "play", she is released from prison and allowed to roam free. Many times during the past 4-5 weeks of being in the big girl bed, we have discovered her downstairs at the wee hours of technical mornings-eating or playing with toys.
We have tried everything we can think of to keep her in her room. 2 different clocks with clear instruction on when she's allowed to come out, walking her back to her room, threatening her, and punishment. Nothing, nothing has stuck and made her stay in her bed. It's been close to 5 weeks now of consistency. Last night it all came to a culmination. Anne was awake at 12:30 am (probably firecrackers for the New Year woke her) and John had to take her back to her bed 2x. Then at 3:45 I woke, not being able to get back to sleep, and left our room to go read. I noticed the guest room door being closed, then noticed a light on downstairs, then noticed Anne's door open then looked down and our little angel was sleeping, child's pose style, outside our door. I picked her up carried her to her bed and she woke, with tears asking "what about playing?" I told her she needed to stay in bed, walked out, shut the door and 10 steps out of her room she was out again. Put her back, tears, laid with her til she fell asleep, maneuvered my very pregnant body out of the bed without waking her and went to read my book. Got to the guest room door and she was out again. Put her back, threatened her, she stayed in her room. I sat on the guest room couch 10 minutes, calming down and trying to figure out what to do. Unfortunately, we've been trying to avoid this, but the time has come to put one of those childproof door openers on the inside of her door so she physically cannot turn the knob and get out. I absolutely HATE that we have to do this but as I sat on the couch at 4 am this morning here was my reasoning:
-When the baby comes I can't risk her waking me up after a very real possibility of me being up half the night with a nursing child and/or sleeplessness.
-When the baby comes, we can't risk her waking the baby up if he/she's asleep in the middle of the night.
-When the baby comes and on those rare days that naps connect and I get a break, I can't spend that time putting her back in her room, getting more and more angry, resentful and frustrated with her.
-And with safety, what if Anne figured out how to get outside in the middle of the night? Quite literally she could die. She could freeze to death, she could wander off, she could get hit by a car.
-More safety, what if she fell down the stairs and we didn't hear it? She could lay bleeding on the ground unconscious.
So yes, it is time to do something more permanent. My little precious girl has stayed true to who she is and isn't getting the traditional approaching to training her to stay in her bed so we have to take drastic measures. This is truly one of those times when it hurts me more than it hurts her. I can picture her banging her door, screaming tears and begging to "get out" as she is unable to do it herself and I hate it. I really truly hate it. But I also know it has to be done. In a few hours is nap time so we'll see how it goes then. Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised. Perhaps not. We'll see.