Zoey has a fairly easy going, consistent bed schedule. It has done us well for almost a year now. She goes to bed at 8pm and she sleeps until about 8am. See, easy right?
Well she usually goes to sleep easily, even if she plays in her room for a little bit to wind down. Then she will sleep through the night. She has slept through the night since she was about 6 months old, except on sparse occasions.
This was one of those sparse occasions. I actually can't remember the last time Zoey woke up in the middle of the night. But I hear her come into our room and my half asleep self can't believe it is morning yet. I was right...3am. Uggghhh.
"Zoey what's wrong?" I ask. She says nothing just cuddles between Stephen and I. She sits for a minute and then lays down with us.
My first reaction is...well, honestly that I didn't want to be awake at 3 o'clock in the morning, but then that this is the first time she came and crawled into bed with us. Awww. And then came the realization that she doesn't sleep well whenever she is around us. She has always put herself to sleep ever since she was tiny, so now when we are near she takes that as a sign to be up and play.
So what to do? Where is that Mommy Handbook that tells me what to do? Of course I probably wouldn't have been able to read it in the dark at 3 o'clock in the morning any better than I could think at the time.
I always figured Zoey would come and crawl in bed eventually, it is a fairly common thing for kids to do. However, I did not expect it so soon. It completely took me off guard. And Stephen and I hadn't really talked about this phase much and 3am isn't really a very coherent time to bring it up.
Well, she did lay with us for a little bit. I figured as long as she was still, I'd be able to go back to sleep and she could stay there. Yeah, right. Because then she started getting antsy. Then she started waking up even more. So staying in the bed wasn't going to happen.
So I took her back to her room. That is when I figured out that something did frighten her, probably a nightmare of some sort. She didn't want to go back in her bed (which she would normally have no problem with.) She gave me the boo boo lip and a real cry. So I sat with her on the floor with my arms wrapped around her. She was happy there. When she was all but asleep I tried to transfer her to her bed...bad idea. She immediately woke up and cried again.
My next was, well, I'm tired and want some more sleep tonight. So, I got my pillow and laid down next to the bed on a spare mattress we have. Zoey liked the idea of a Mommy sleepover. She cuddled up right next to me and laid down.
It was really sweet because she would reach out her hand to touch my face once in a while, like she was just making sure I was still there.
Of course, I wasn't going to sleep and neither was she. We laid there peacefully for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then she popped up and was ready to play. At this point, I knew she was fine. So I tucked her back into her bed, said good night once again and went back to my own bed.
I have no idea if that was the right thing to do. It seemed to work okay. The whole thing took me by surprise and I do not think the most clearly at 3am. Next time we may try something different. I'm sure there will be a next time. I don't know what the "right" thing to do is, but I know Zoey knows that we love her very much and that she can come to us. That is important. My job is to make sure she feels secure. I love that job! It means I get lots of hugs.