I gave in, I threw in the towel, I called, well, I cried out for help. Coming back from a 5 day vacation where my four year old and I slept in the same room, her infamous and well documented sleeping issues were at their worst. She was not only waking up at 3AM because she was scared, wanted to watch TV or just wanted to stay up with us, but she had regressed to baby mode when she wouldn't want to fall asleep on her own at bed time. We tried everything we had tried and had worked before and we were sleepless and frustrated.
The last time I wrote about this topic, one of our readers who happens to be a sleep specialist wrote a comment asking me questions about Amelia's sleeping habits. I immediately snapped at Rebecca Michi. I wanted sympathy, not another expert telling us everything we had done wrong. Besides, I already go to the pediatric practice of the doctor that literally wrote the book about healthy sleeping habits called "The Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". Hence, I wanted to hear nothing from another expert, so good riddance Michi.
Along comes Wednesday night, my sleep deprived husband and I were at our wits end, dreading what bed time would bring. I put my daughter down after 3 books, a prayer and 2 songs. She was exhausted, but as soon as I left the room the screaming and crying started. My husband went into her room and just stood there in silence. (Ignoring her had worked at midnight the night before.) Meanwhile, I looked for Rebecca's email and begged for help.
The first thing I liked about her is that she doesn't believe in letting a child "cry it out". I've done it plenty of times and the technique never yielded results. Plus, Amelia is now 4 so she screams "I'm scared! Get me out here! Can somebody hear me!". We live in a condo building and I don't want to have a neighbor knocking at our door at 3AM or sending the cops for us.
Rebecca told me to talk to Amelia about her "fears" about her room in the middle of the day, as far away from bed time as possible. "Go in her room and ask her what scares her. Make sure she feels like you are respecting her fear." She also told me the mind of a 4 year old is constantly going, learning, thinking. She suggested I started unwinding Amelia a couple of hours from bed time. "Talk about her day during dinner time so that by the time she goes to bed, all the talking is done."
Friday at 11AM, Amelia and I went into her room to talk about what scared her, what she meant when she said "I don't like it when my room acts up." At dinner time, we all shared what we did that day. Finally, we told her the plan for bed time. Rebecca told me that 4 year olds like to feel in control: "tell her that one of you will stay in the room for 1 minute in silence after she lays down. She will probably say five minutes, then you can compromise at 4 minutes."
When 8PM came around, we followed the plan and Amelia went down without a complaint. Success...for now. We went away for the weekend and slept together in the same room. Even Rebecca admitted that the secret to this is being consistent. We've already told Amelia our plan for tonight, she seems to be on board but, I have to admit, I'm dreading the night. Ay Mama!
If you want to learn more about Rebecca Michi or find out how to reach her go to www.rebeccamichi.com. By the way, my phone consultation was free.