The bottle was half-empty and another one was being chilled. Psychedelic Furs’ Heartbreak Beat played softly in the background. No hubbies or boyfriends, just me and my girls basking in much needed girl time. Giggling, confiding, venting, joking. The night was young and in our minds we were 25. As Little Libra’s bed time approached, I instructed her to go to sleep. She refused.
A tantrum erupted. NOOOOO! *sob* Good girl! *sob* Want mommy! *sob, sob, hiccup*
BAM! Back to reality. Treating my child like a teddy bear for the past two and a half years just backfired on me at that instant.
At first I thought she was being defiant. But after a few rounds of raising my voice, leading her to the bedroom and chasing me back in the living room, I realized that she didn’t know how to go to bed without me while I was in another room. She was accustomed to going to bed with me, on my bed, by my side. I wanted her to go solo straight away- so I could carry on with girl time. A completely bad mom moment.
I forgot about the very real effect of separation anxiety on my daughter. I skipped a slew of steps which resulted in The How Can You Abandon Me Wailing (what I also like to call crazy crying for short). I had only probed the idea of sleeping on her own bed in passing and then I thrust it upon her just like that. She responds better when she’s been warned and she has to time to absorb the change (or maybe it’s just my daughter who behaves this way?)
Well, we have to start somewhere.
There was no other time I felt the urge to wean her from my bed until that moment so I ran with it. Girl Night came abruptly to an end (Sorry!) but at least the prospect of more uninterrupted ones are on the horizon. Little Libra is now on her third consecutive night of sleeping on her own. This post is for all the other indulgent parents who are now outgrowing their human teddy bears and aching to entertain (guiltlessly) at home. Here’s what has been working for me…
Getting your toddler to sleep in their own bed in 6 steps
1. Establish a bed time and rhythm. Our rhythm is to pick a book, dim the lights, read the book, drink her last bottle, pray and say good night– at no later than 9pm. I like winding down together. It establishes a closeness but also provides a neat ending to the day. I can go on about the last dreamy smiles, last kwentos and last kisses but for now I consider those fringe benefits. It’s all about tough love moving forward.