Let me start off by saying that my 6 year old, Zoe, has always...ALWAYS been a good sleeper. Our family does co-sleep - and I'm not looking to debate that. It has just worked for our family. Neither A or I drink alcohol to excess and VERY rarely even drink alcohol when our children are present, and we are not drug users. We are always aware of what's going on and it's just worked for us. Zoe slept with us for the first 6
months of her life. At that point, we tried her in her crib one night and ever since then she's been sleeping on her own, goes to sleep by herself....always napped good when she took a nap. She's a sleeping superstar.
Monkey is a different story. Maybe it was because we sorta knew she would be our last child. I don't know - but I got in the habit when she was just an itty bitty of rocking her to sleep. There have been some people who have had the guts to tell me that doing that is "wrong" and that I'd "spoil" her. Spoil? Personally I believe that snuggling with our children is important - for all of us. It unifies the family bond. Did she get used to me rocking her to sleep? Yes, she did. I kind of knew she would - I mean, that's all she ever knew, so of course it makes sense. Did it get taxing sometimes? Yes. But I don't regret one minute of it. I would rock her to sleep each night and I would place her in her pack & play in our room (she always HATED her beautiful crib) and she'd sleep there about half the night. Then she'd awaken and we'd put her in bed with us. We got our ummm.... "couple" time and she got her snuggle time later on. Everyone was happy.
She transitioned to a toddler bed when she was 14 months old. From the first night, I sat with her until she fell asleep. Yes, I guess I "spoiled" her in this way too, but I figure there are worse things in the world than "having to" watch your child fall asleep each night while holding her hand. While I got Monkey to sleep, A would snuggle with Zoe, or vice-versa (the girls share a room). At some point in the middle of the night, Monkey would wake up, open her bedroom door and wait at the bottom of the stairs for me to come and get her.
Until three nights ago. She's got a sticker chart for good behavior and the completion of chores. I explained to her that big girls like Zoe sleep in their big girl beds all night long, and if she'd like to try that, she'd be rewarded with a sticker each morning. She was very excited. That first night (and the next), when she woke up in the night, she called for me, but didn't get up to come to our bed. I tucked her back in and sat with her a minute and she slept through the rest of the night in her bed. And then last night - she didn't wake up and slept clear through the night. I have never been so refreshed. And I am proud of Monkey's efforts.
Do I think I made a mistake rocking her to sleep and bringing her to our bed in the middle of the night when she woke up? No. I don't regret one night of it. Not one.
A and I are raising a couple of headstrong, independent, loving, cuddly girls. And I think that's the way it should be.