We have been blessed with babies who sleep very well through the night. We are a Babywise (affiliate link) family and it has worked for us, big time. Our girls have slept through teething, allergies, and even sick nights. They are able to put themselves to sleep and we have really never had a problem at bedtime.
Our oldest needed to make the transition to her big girl bed and all bets were off! We walked through what felt like endless nights of putting her back in bed at 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock only to have her up and ready for the day at 5 o’clock. The worst part was the crankiness during the day. Because she was not getting as much sleep as she needs, we were having some serious discipline issues during the day.
As parents, we were obviously wracking our brains to come up with solutions to solve the bedtime woes we were experiencing. Thankfully she is sleeping through the night again! But we are still really struggling with the bedtime bedlam. As we approach the end of her nightly routine, she starts to pucker up and puddle up, breaking our hearts.
We have tried a LOT of things to make her feel more comfortable, and each of them have been almost useless. But I stumbled on something the other day that has really helped. And it was part of our Tot School for Twos unit on chickens.
I was thinking through solutions that would point her to the comforting God we serve, knowing that He could calm her heart and give her the peace she needs to go to sleep on her own. And my memory recalled the passages from the gospels (Matthew and Luke each record an account of Jesus’ lament over Israel):
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
And it clicked. I went to YouTube and found an amazing video of chicks hatching and then hiding under the wings of their mama hen. I showed it to G.
Then we had a little talk about the video with a small demonstration. I asked her where the chicks went. She said “under their mama.” Then I asked her if she would like to be my chick and I could be her hen. She enthusiastically said, “YES!”
I got down on the floor and pulled her in close for a cuddle and I told her I am your hen and you are my chick, you are safe! Then I told her that Jesus was her hen, too!
We did this throughout the day and when it came time to go to bed, we did it again. I reminded G that Jesus was her hen, holding her safe, just like a chick.
she cried a bit less. And the next night, she cried even less. And the third night, she asked, “Mama, will you be my chick?” I told her, “Of course! And Jesus is your hen, too!”
It is not perfect just yet, and she still refuses to sleep in her bed (she is sleeping on a big piggy pillow she has had for a long time), but we have made some serious progress! And I am happy that her comfort is not always coming from mom and dad, but is and can come from Jesus!