Ellie was always a good sleeper. From about 5 months you could read her a story, kiss her and put her into bed at 6:15 and she would sleep until 6:00 the next morning. (yes we were aware of our great luck) So awesome, but a few weeks after we put her into her new bed she got sick. Everyone knows a kid getting sick is the worst thing ever for sleep. She wouldn't sleep on her own, she woke up early, didn't want her door closed.
By Christmas Break the shit hit the fan. We had to sit in her room for an hour or so at night for her to fall asleep, then no one was allowed to make any noise for the rest of the evening. She would wake up 2, 4, 78 times each night and start screaming. She was afraid of the dark, being alone, her investment strategies. I don't operate well without sleep and I kind of had a nervous breakdown. Bud and I agree in Parental Theory, not so much practice. If a child is sick I will tend to them as long as needed, grumpily, but it still counts. However, once I start feeling manipulated, I am done. I think the dimmer lights on halfway, the mushroom nightlight, the ladybug nightlight and the hall light are enough. We had put the baby gate at her doorway, same as for her older siblings. But she would just kick that bad boy down like a cop sweeping a drug den. Eventually, I told Bud we just had to be tough and lock her in...I know, I know but seriously I can't do my job with no sleep. (or drive, be nice to people) Bud agreed in words, but not in deeds. Then he said he didn't think it would work anyway. Then one day I lost my mind and started crying in her room from 3:00 am until 4:00 am, she was also keeping Maddie awake all night and a 5 year old shouldn't be complaining to her friends about not getting enough rest.
Finally, we did it and it was freaking awful. She cried all night, I cried all night. But the next night she promised not to cry if we kept the door open. And she kept her word. But she was still waking up at 4:30. Honestly, how is a toddler suppose to know when it is ok to get up? Sometimes they get up when it is dark (6:00) and its fine, sometimes the get up when its dark (3:30) and it is NOT! OK! Enter the most expensive clock ever:
We set the night light for 7:00 pm and it is yellow, at a time we determine (5:30 we'll change later) it turns green. So we remind her every night when the clock is yellow stay in bed, when it's green you can tell us it is morning. So far we have used it for a week, and she has done well. She woke up a few mornings, and we could hear her playing until it turned green. Not ideal, but an improvement. One morning she slept until 6:15, I nearly made out with the clock. So as most things with a kid every solution has many parts, and some of those are expensive.
OH, and she is sick again, with a hacking cough. That totally won't eff up the program we have going.