Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sleep Training

Operation "Go To Sleep So I Don't Snap and Jump off the Roof"

Objective: To get Geri's bed (and hopefully Geri herself) out of our room and into the room she is supposed to share with her sister so we can all sleep and prevent my head from exploding.

Target Date: Before she moves out on her own.

Phase One: Self Soothing
We really need to work on this one. See, sleeping through the night is not about actually staying asleep all night. No one does that, not even us grownups. Everyone has a natural sleep cycle that involves multiple wakings per evening. Incidentally, you won't remember a waking if it lasts less then 8 minutes. At any rate, the trick to a good night's sleep is being able to go back to sleep independently when those awakenings do happen. And the best opportunity to practice this skill is bedtime. For a while now, we've been in the habit of rocking Geri until she is completely asleep and then placing her in bed. Tonight, Nick rocked her until she was calm and relaxed, then placed her in bed and hung out in the room until she fell asleep. I doubt this will bear fruit quickly (say, three hours from now when she wakes up again) but if we keep at it, we may see results in a couple of weeks. Hopefully. We think. If God sends us a miracle.

Phase Two: Healing and Cuddly
We can't move her to another room until all the healing from her surgery is done. If she's stressed, this whole thing will flop spectacularly. So, regardless of how quickly or slowly the self-soothing comes along, we can't move forward until her eye is all better and she's off the meds and that shield is totally gone. This gives us more time to develop her attachment to her cuddly, though, so we can start to build her ability to use it as a means of comfort when we are not present.

Phase Three: Building a New Routine
Putting both girls in the same room means a totally new routine for putting them to sleep. We need to figure out what we want that new routine to be, then start implementing the individual portions with each girl on their own turf. That way, when we bring them together, everyone is still getting what's familiar at bedtime.

Phase Four: Move the Damned Bed, Already!
This is when we all work together as a happy family to move Geri's bed into the girls' room. This should be done with fan-fair and celebration. There's no way we can pretend nothing changed, and trying to do so would just confuse Geri and scare her. So we need to frame the whole thing as a big-girl change that's awesome and tons of fun for all.

Phase Five: Being on Hand
When we move the bed and Geri starts sleeping in the girls' room, we will have to be on the ready for supportive soothing and comfort until she adjusts. We already have a baby monitor in the room, and when we hear Geri having a problem at night (either a fearful response to wakening or being unable to settle down) we will immediately turn our receiver off. Just kidding. One of us will have to go to the girls' room and lay down on the floor and stay there for the remainder of the night. Note to self : get a nice camping mat and sleeping bag ready to go. Anyway, this shows Geri that we will still care for her at night, even if she's not in our room, and will alleviate her fears so that she can get back into the business of self-soothing. The idea is that, over time, she'll need it less and less because she will be more and more assured of our continued love and care. That's the idea, anyway.

Equipment: camping mat, sleeping bag, baby monitor, cuddly, patience, napalm (jk... I think)

Risk: Unbelievably high, but not as high as the risk of me going postal if she's not out of our room in the next couple of months

Disaster Preparedness: In case of catastrophic failure, we will fall back to phase one for a while and re-evaluate. I am preparing my Last Will and Testament as well as my Do Not Resuscitate notice in case we can't get out of phase one.

Charts, Graphs, and Images:
This is what's called "Ringing the Bell" in our house...

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