a month ago i wrote about ella getting up at night and how essentially, no one in this house (except for mattie) had slept for three months. well, i'm here to tell you that residents of this household have been well-rested for three whole WEEKS. i hope i'm not jinxing myself; i'm mostly writing this so if someone is searching for solutions to their child getting up at night and screaming their head off, they can at least try what has worked for us.
to begin with, i was shooting myself in the foot for awhile by waking ella up after a short nap as i assumed she was not sleeping at night because she slept too much during the day. in reality, i was actually sabotaging her sleep. in the kooky world of children, it is commonly written that a child that sleeps more...well, sleeps more. so now i let ella sleep as long as she wants during the day which can be anywhere from 1 hour to three hours. i prefer three hours!
in a fit of sleep-depravation one night, i took her crib mattress, threw it on the ground and said "go to sleep!". and she did. sooooo, we transitioned her crib into a toddler bed (by taking the front panel off the crib), got a little bedrail and voila, the kid loves her big girl bed (which she calls her "girl bed"). one reason why this works so well is because we told her that if she gets up at night, instead of crying, she can just come into our room and sleep if she wants. this means i had to give in to the idea of the family bed - which never worked for me because i just couldn't sleep with ella all moving around next to me - but you'd be surprised at what works when you've been tired for so long. at this point, we have an aerobed for kids (which we bought for traveling and which i love love love) set up in our room so when she wakes up, she just crawls onto the aerobed and goes back to sleep (this was something anne of poop beetle fame suggested to me in a very kind note).
so ella gets up once a night - sometimes at 10, sometimes 12 sometimes not until 4 - comes into our room and goes back to sleep. she takes a nap from 12:30 to 1:30 or 2:30 or 3:30. she goes to bed at 8:30 (i hate the late bedtime, but this is when she naturally falls alseep; i'm a firm believer in ALL children being in bed by 7, but that apparently only occurs on sitcoms as our neighbors downstairs have a 2 and 4 year old and they are always up when i take mattie out at 10pm).
i read the "no-cry sleep solution" which didn't have any life-altering tips but something did resonate with me: if your current sleeping arrangement is working for you, even if it's unconventional by other's standards, then stick to it and be happy your family is well-rested. i'm not crazy about our sleep situtation but desperate times call for desperate measures and i'm just going with it. also, ella is happier and not so anxious when it's bedtime so that makes me happy and i feel like one little parenting battle has been conquered! (for now. until two weeks from now when she's up again and i read this post and call myself a liar.) i'm still a little edgy about naptime and sleeptime since i'm waiting for something to go wrong. and when i read about other people's sleep problems, i positively fret for them because i know how it feels. so take heart, dear parents! there is hope!