Tory's sleep issues have varied over the years from bedtime battles, to outcries during the night, to too-early wake ups in the morning. She's never been good at soothing herself to sleep, and occasional nightmares don't help either. Over the years, Andi and I have tried every sleep training method imaginable to change Tory's habits. We've read parenting books, practiced cry-it-out techniques, implemented a sticker chart, used a light-up kids clock, promised new toys, etc. Nothing has consistently worked.
Over the years, my body has adapted to irregular sleep. I like sleeping; of course I'd like more of it ... but I can function on six hours of solid zzz's now. Andi is a different story. He works long hours running a business so he needs a rested mind to function properly, and he also gets sick easily when he's tired and stressed.
About a month ago, Andi and I were getting the kids ready for bed when my husband dropped a bombshell: "Tory, if you can sleep through the night for 20 nights, I'll buy you a fish. All night long, every night, for 20 nights. Think you can do it?"
Of course, Tory agreed. Meanwhile, I was across the room shooting dagger eyes at Andi because, dude, it is against every law of parenting to promise a new pet without discussing it first. Three guesses who'll be the person caring for a new fish... not that it's terribly difficult, but still. It's another thing to clean up around here.
"Don't, worry. She'll never make it 20 nights," Andi said.
Well, guess what?
It turns out, Tory is very capable of sleeping through the night when she sets her mind to it. Every night before bed, Andi reminded Tory about their deal and asked her what would happened if she woke up in the night. "Start over. No fish," Tory would chant in response.
Tory even held up her end of the bargain during weekend nights at the lake cabin. She's never (ever, ever, ever) slept through the night there before, and suddenly staying in her bed was no big deal. I couldn't believe it.
When Andi returned Sunday after working away from home last week, we made a family field trip to the pet store to bring home a fish called "Princess."
Tory selected a castle fit for underwater royalty. She was so excited about the whole experience.
Tory's pretty excited about her new fish friend, and asks to feed him (it's actually a male Betta fish; don't tell Tory that) about a dozen times a day.
The big question is whether Tory has continued to sleep through the night after she got her fish, and the answer is yes... mostly. Andi's new
I'm skeptical of any method's staying power, but I do hope the last 20+ days created a sleeping pattern with Tory. If nothing else, I thoroughly enjoyed the last few weeks of restfulness.