Earlier this week, pretty much from one day to the next, Alex finally grasped the idea of this whole “sleep” thing. We have a rocking chair in his bedroom, and until now we have rocked him to sleep every night. It usually took about 20 minutes, but sometimes as long as 45 before he would doze off and be sufficiently solid to move him to his cot.
As of this week, he no longer wants to be rocked to sleep. He’s happy enough to sit or lie in Abi’s or my lap for a few minutes, so we can tell him a story or play the eyes and nose game with him. But then he arches his back and starts loocking over at the cot.
“Beh,” he says.
“You want to go to bed? You want to go to your cot?”
He nods his little head.
So we lift him up and lower him gently into the cot. He lies down immediately, and curls himself round onto his stomach, clutching his cuddly toy to his chest. We rub his back, tell him we love him, and say “night-night.”
And then we leave the room, close the door, and walk away…in perfect silence! No screaming, no anguished cries of “dada!” or “mama!” Just the peaceful knowledge that he has learned to go to sleep on his own. I’m so proud of him!
Of course, at Nursery he’s been falling asleep for his mid-day nap on his own for some time now. But that’s not the same as falling asleep alone at home, where he knows he can command mama and dada’s attention, and make us do (almost) anything he wants. It means that what he really wants is to not to play, or have a story, but to fall asleep. It’s a big step.