There have been two things remaining from iBears routine since she was a tiny toddler – her dummy at bedtimes and the stair gate across her bedroom door. One of these ended a few weeks ago, somewhat unexpectedly, and the other happened last night.
Gate no more
We have used the stair gate on iBears room ever since she’s had a “normal” bed. The main reason was not necessarily to keep her in her room, but to avoid any sleepy walks in the night that could have ended up in a fall down the stairs which are just next to her room. This has been more because of our paranoia of what might happen rather than through any near miss experiences to be honest. Although to this day she seems to love playing on the stairs, despite our constant telling off…hmm, maybe there’s a link there…..
Now, if there’s one thing I would say iBear has been really good at these first formative years it’s her sleep routine. Most of the time this involves going to bed around 7:45pm, having a story then going to sleep. We’ve of course had a few instances when she’s called for us and refused to settle down but the crucial thing here is she hardly ever comes to the bedroom door and instead sits waiting on her bed calling “Mammy, Daddy” in the same monotone voice until we come in. The same can be said on a morning, although she does have previous of waking up early regardless of what time she goes to bed (we’ll leave that for another day). I blame my early riser genes, as does my wife…
She had a potty in her room in case she needed to go to the toilet in the night despite the fact she’s now old enough to constantly use the toilet but it worked for the routine we had. As we were reading a story the other night iBear all of a sudden asks what would happen is she needs more than one wee in the night and how would she manage if the potty was full of wee (note: this has never happened). She caught me on the hop so I say “well I guess Mammy or Daddy would have to come in and empty your potty”. There’s a distinct pause while we’re both processing this and I’m guessing coming to the same conclusion that this could mean an early morning wake up call for yours truly. “Orrrrrrr” I let this hang. “I suppose we could take your gate off the door and you could go to the toilet by yourself. You’re probably old enough now to know where the toilet and stairs are aren’t you?”.
She wholeheartedly agrees and so we get out of her bed and detached the gate. She’s as proud as punch! I say to her that I’m trusting her to know that she should only come out of her room to go to the toilet and that doesn’t mean it’s ok to come visit Mammy and I or venture downstairs. She agrees. **more pauses** So, it’s with a little trepidation I kiss her goodnight and head downstairs. Within five minutes she appears at the top of the stairs announcing she needs a wee. It’s not unexpected, especially as she refused to go to the toilet before going to bed. I swear that child has constant forward thinking plans and this was all a set up.
Post gate update:
She’s been brilliant without the gate on a night time and has only came out of her room a couple of times. Mornings, however, have been a little different and it’s taken some time to encourage her to remain in her room until it’s time to get up. There’s been some funny moments though such as one morning we hear her “tip toe” into our room then leave when we refuse to wake up (for the love of god don’t breathe…) and then return to announce she’s got herself fully dressed for the day before tucking us in and returning to her toys.
Ditch the “D”
I’m guessing we’ve probably let iBear have her dummy longer than the average child. Last night was the cut off for us and she’s 4 and a half. I’ll clarify this by saying she’s only been allowed it at bedtimes for a long time now having first stopped the casual use and then removed it from car journeys. Why have we continued with the bedtime one? Well, as mentioned above, she’s always been a very good sleeper and we’ve been so nervous about spoiling that routine that we’ve kind of just put it off. We had also noticed a year or so ago that she’d periodically suck her thumb. We were chatting with our Dentist about all of this and he told us that he’d much rather she used a dummy rather than her thumb from a teeth health perspective and so that was that, the dummy stayed for now.
We’d come to the conclusion though that now she’s 4 (and a half Daddy!) we should really aim to get rid of the dummy before she starts school and so we put a plan into action. We’ve had a countdown of 12 nights until the end of the dummy and we’ve been reminding her everyday about this. I may have been singing ‘The final countdown’ a lot, any excuse for a power ballad… Last night, the countdown reached zero. I can now stop saying countdown….
The bedtime routine went as normal, crazy play times followed by quieter Hey Duggee times followed by even quieter story times. I asked her to be brave and she said in a very quiet voice that she’d really miss her “D”. I tell her that this is absolutely fine and that it’s ok to miss things and her little lip starts to tremble…. Trying to look past this I wish her goodnight and tell her how proud I am and looking forward to seeing her in the morning. When I get downstairs I turn her monitor on and she’s kind of singing away to herself in a kind of lovesick melancholy tone. I know that tune, it means she’d sad and trying to make herself cry. I sit listening for a few minutes and it goes quiet. It seems she managed to stop herself from going full cry mode and she may well have fallen asleep. No way! The rest of the evening we’re on edge and make sure we have an early night just in case there’s some overnight confusion. Morning comes without incident and I can’t believe how well she’s done and tell her this over and over again.
One Dads View
iBear constantly amazes us with her capacity to learn and understand. Sure, there’s hiccups along the way but once again I hope she’ll stay like this forever.