And now? I can't really remember how we did that.
Sleep situations are the craziest time warp because they seem to last forEVER and also to be epic in scope and import, and then suddenly they are completely over and it's the next phase or issue and you realize that maybe it was just three weeks, but three weeks that also felt like an eternity.
Anyway. We are in an awkward sleep phase here. Zuzu needs an afternoon nap but fights it with all she's got. We can let her skip it, but then we are all miserable from 4:30 to 8:30 pm. We can try to lie down with her, but then we can easily lose an hour of the day waiting for her to fall asleep and she will manage to resist.
(Because as soon as she starts to relax, she'll make herself jump out of bed or something. It's infuriating. Often, one of us will fall asleep instead.)
She naps at school, but only when the teacher sits and pats her back until she falls asleep.
And when she naps, she sleeps at least 2 hours and is not looking for bedtime anywhere before 9:30pm. So basically she just goes to bed when we do. (At least for the summer months).
We followed all the "rules" when she was a baby--lay her down in the crib awake, let her fall asleep on her own, blah blah blah. Once she was able to climb out of her crib, we still ended up here.
Now the only sure fire way of getting her to nap is to go for a drive. Works like a charm. Was totally on my list of "things I'll never do when I have kids" and is now on my list of "things I do at least three times a week."
I'm discovering that parenting is less about what we do and more about who our kids are. Zuzu doesn't want to miss out on anything and would rather be exhausted, miserable, and awake than asleep.
Once she's asleep, she sleeps through the night and is not an early riser, but getting her there is a bit of a feat.
Coco is still doing the two naps a day thing--one two hours after she wakes up, and the second three hours after waking from the first nap. This schedule is uncanny in how well it works for her, although she sometimes (like today) tries to resist nap #2.
After following all the rules with Zuzu and still ending up with a co-sleeping little night owl most nights, I do what I like with Coco, which means I rock her to sleep and snuggle her every night, laying her in bed once she's passed out.
Does this mean she's incapable of falling asleep in her own? I don't know. Maybe. But this time is so fleeting--she's already 11 months old!--and I don't feel like rocking her to sleep is a chore. We snuggle, age nurses, she dozes, I read on my phone, and then lay her in her crib.
Right now this feels like a routine that's gone on forever. Three months from now, we could be somewhere else entirely. Eventually, I hope the girls will share a room and whisper each other to sleep, but for now I'm doing my best to ignore this idea of what they "should" be doing and just focus on what's working for us. Nobody's unhappy about this arrangement and everyone is getting enough sleep (although I wish I knew the secret to getting Coco to consistently sleep all the way trough the night--just when I think she's doing it for real, she's back to waking once or twice. Her teeth are not sleep-friendly right now.).
I am envious of people whose kids are easy sleepers, but I'm less inclined to believe they trained them to be that way. No matter what the books say, sleep patterns seem to be so unique and individualized. That's not to say that there's nothing we could do differently--I suppose we could "train" Coco at this point to sleep through the night if we wanted to cry it out or whatever. It might work, or it might just align with the point in time that she's ready to do that (and stress us all out in the meantime).
(And I just want to say that I know there kiddos with serious sleep issues out there, and I'm not saying that's fine or normal or whatever. Lack of sleep is literally torturous for everyone, and if I weren't getting enough hours per night, I'd be singing a different tune about being lax with bedtime routines.)
Some people make think we are being too indulgent, but maybe those people have forgotten how sweet and short-lived those days are when a fuzzy baby head nestles right into your neck, or a toddler sleepily pats your cheek.
I don't think I'd want to keep my kids little forever--I'm looking forward to seeing who they will become (and to the day I can eat a sandwich or read a book without constant interruption)--but I do want to savor these moments while I can. Sleeping babies are just the most delicious. As a friend of mine once said, I love my kids so much it hurts, but I love them 10% more when they are sleeping.
As exasperating and challenging as these girls can be, my heart pretty much melts when I watch them sleep.