A disproportionate amount of the world's creativity resides in Minnesota, and our household is no exception. The state has given birth to more edible snacks on a stick than the rest of the world combined, and there are more hotdish recipes in MN than there are Johnsons (and the 2000 census folk gave up trying to count 'em all).
Soulmate is 100% Minnesotan (and 50% Johnson), so creativity oozes from her every pore. We were reading Parent Power! and got an idea to help Katie ease into bedtime a little easier by making her a going-to-bed book.
First, our rationale for the book: since Katie came to us after 11 months in a Chinese orphanage, we had decided up front to cuddle her and spoil her just a little for our first 6 months together. We rocked her to sleep every night, and if she woke up, we got up and rocked her again until she went back to sleep.
I made a goal of beginning her transition to going to sleep on her own starting when she turned 18 months old on Jan 1. Soulmate couldn't bear the thought, though, so we shelved the idea for a few weeks. Last week's trip to Rochester ended with Katie sleeping really well on the way home, so when we arrived at 9pm, she wasn't the least bit sleepy. Two and a half hours later, mommy had back spasms from rocking, and daddy got hornswaggled into playing the sandman.
A half hour of fruitless rocking led to a bit of an epiphany, and I laid Katie in her crib, kissed her and patted her tummy, said "it's time for night-night now", and left the room. 20 minutes of blood-curdling screams continued non-stop from the closed door, and I almost expected Jason or Freddie Kruger to burst out of the bedroom, but instead the screams stopped abruptly.
I waited a minute or two, but fearing for her life, I cautiously crept into the room and used my cellphone to illuminate my way. Lo and behold, Katie was asleep near the head of the crib, with one leg partially out and one hand still clutching one of the bars. I think she stood and cried until she lost consciousness, then slid slowly down the bar into a piteous crumpled pile of tears and blanket sleeper. If Soulmate had seen it, the experiment would have been terminated immediately.
We bought Katie a small aquarium the next day, and filled it with water, plastic plants, and 4 baby goldfish, offspring from our goldfish pond this summer. We leave a little nightlight on behind it so she has something to look at while she's falling asleep (or screaming bloody murder as the case may be). Katie is trying really hard to fit in with the new ritual: when we tell her it's time for night-night, she squinches her eyes shut hard and pretends to be asleep in the sweetest way.
When it comes time for the real deal, she still screams when we get up to leave the room, but it doesn't last as long as before. So, in order to ease her progress toward somnolence without hysteria, Soulmate made her a book, using all her Minnesota Johnson creativity. Here's a video tour of the newest parenting best-seller: