You can read about my decision to sleep train here and here. I felt like an update was in order since William is almost 2 years old (yikes). Our evening routine goes something like this: bath, pjs, milk and snack, playtime with us, then sleep diaper, meds, and crib. That does seem like a lot written out but its not difficult at all. William asks for a bath by going to the staircase and grunting (no words for bath yet) around 6:30. Once we get through the bath and dressed its after 7. I give him a snack (muffins, pouch, etc.), and milk. He will color but mostly runs around taking a bite here drinking a sip there. Finally, around 8 we tell William its time for a sleep diaper and bedtime. He usually shakes his head no and most of the time puts up a fight on the changing table.
Once he is in his crib we talk with him, Rudy makes him belly laugh, he fusses to get out, calms down and we say our loves you and leave the room. We usually spend about 5-10 minutes with him in his room based on his attitude towards bedtime. William "talks" to himself most nights and the time varies between 5 and 30 minutes. Very rarely does he cry and we need to check on him. If he fusses in the middle of the night I can ignore it and he will put himself back to sleep. You may be thinking: horrible mother; what if he is sick? After almost 2 years of being William's mother I know his cries like the back of my hand. When he is battling an ear infection I comfort him. If William's cry sounds like he is scared I will console him (very rare).
I will never ignore William if he needs us, ever. Even when William's ears were infected recently and I let him sleep with us he did not want to. He is only comfortable in his crib and any other environment does not mean bedtime. This can be an issue at times when we are in the car or my parent's house during nap time. You will never see William asleep on our shoulders or a stroller (unless he is running a fever) and this can also be a bit frustrating when we travel. I will take the 10-11 hours of uninterrupted sleep any day over a nap in the stroller.
I wrote this post as a reminder for myself for my future children more than anything else. Who knows, I may be a softy with the "baby" of the family. Doing this allowed me not only "Mommy" time before I go to bed but taught William how to sleep. Just like anything else William had to learn sleep is part of his day. He does not get a choice to nap or go to bed at a decent time. It is for his health that I make sure his sleep times are consistent. The only times William is fussy and hard to handle is if his sleep times are off. Of course, he has his toddler moments but for the most part if he is pitching a fit in a restaurant he did not nap well. So this works for us and I happy I put myself through sleep training. I say "myself" because William will not remember when he was 7 months old and thats when I did it.