If you calculate that I have sung Kale to sleep twice a day since he was born (accounting for multiple naps in the early days plus times when Ross put Kale to sleep rather than I, it evens out) , I have sung “You Are My Sunshine” 1080 times, because Friday, Kale was 18 months old.
We’re concentrating on sleep really hard right now, because both Ross and I agree that they way things are just isn’t working. We can’t spend up to 2 hours trying to put Kale to sleep, he can’t continue to only fall asleep in bed with us or in our arms, and we both agree that something has to give. I’ve read in a number of places to pick the thing that bothers you most and work on it, and not to try and fix it all in one go. And it bothers me the most when we are exhausting ourselves to get this kid to bed. So, we’ve started working on getting Kale to fall asleep in his crib this week, with fairly good results. He understands when we say “It’s sleeping time, Kale”, and so the routine has changed. Instead of two books, “You Are My Sunshine”, and an undetermined amount of time snuggling till he falls asleep and then a gentle transfer to the crib, it’s now one book, two short songs (“Twinkle Twinkle” and a single verse and chorus from “You Are My Sunshine”), and then really short cuddling – no more than 15 minutes, and preferably less than 10 – and as soon as he starts to blink and drowse, into the crib he goes. We get him settled in the crib, tuck him in, and we both are trying really hard to walk out while he’s still awake.
Sometimes, it’s so so so so frustrating when you then hear him wake up, stand up, and start to play with the curtains. And so we go back in when that happens, and firmly and quietly place his little butt back into a lying position, get him settled again, remind him “It’s sleeping time, Kale,” and walk out as soon as he’s calm. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. I’m committed to doing this a hundred million times, I guess. It’s time for him to teach himself to go to sleep, to learn to love sleep, to understand the purpose of sleep. I won’t let him cry (although I have seriously considered it a few times recently – especially when we were in High River and it took 2 hours of SCREAMING for him to fall asleep one night. See also: Worst Sleep Night Ever) because sleep isn’t punishment. Sleep is lovely. Sleep is something that every human must have, like air, and food, and water and he should welcome it, and cherish it.
But 18 months is time enough and so here we are.
Where else are we? Well, we aren’t breastfeeding anymore, although I haven’t mourned the loss of that nearly as much as I have mourned the loss of Kale’s hair. Which, although slightly embarrassing, tells me that it was a good time for the breastfeeding to come to a peaceful and amicable end of Kale’s choosing. Kale has a dozen or so words he says, and at least triple that that he understands, if not more. It’s awesome to watch his brain process and choose. I have said it before, and will say it again. I can’t believe we’ve made it here.