Smile It Out

Dylan doesn’t have a rigid bedtime routine. Sometimes he falls asleep breastfeeding while Joshua and I are watching a movie. Sometimes he falls asleep on my shoulder as I rock him and listen to a CD of lullabies.

But sometimes I’m really tired, and I can tell he’s really tired, and I take the two of us up to bed while Dylan is still awake, and we’ll lay on our bed in the dim light of my constellation night-light turtle. Dylan will turn over this way and that and look around at this and that. Sometimes he’ll babble a little bit. Sometimes Juli-Cat will come sit near us, and Dylan likes to watch her be petted. Sometimes I read Dylan a story, and sometimes I sing him a song. The whole time Dylan giggles and smiles, and then eventually he’ll wiggle and fidget in this certain way, and then he’s asleep.

All of this stands in stark contrast to any practice that leaves a child alone in another room or leaves a child alone to cry. Methods of sleep training that involve leaving your child to cry alone in ou crib have been called “cry it out” methods. I like to think of us as practicing “smile it out”, instead. Whatever that “it” is that has to be gotten out before you can sleep, we like to smile it out instead of cry it out. It’s so much fun, so pleasant, so peaceful, and so sweet for both of us. I can’t imagine a better way to drift off to sleep.