I stumbled onto your blog about a year ago. I have a couple questions for you.
Why is Anja still on the bottle. She's way past that.
Also, you have created her sleeping problems. Why is she able to get to your bed in the middle of the night? If she couldn't get out of bed, she would go back to sleep. It's normal to wake up during the night. Everyone does it. She needs to learn to get herself back to sleep. She may cry but she'll learn that it's not acceptable to wake everyone up because she's awake She should be put to bed awake. (even at naptime) She's way past being driven to get her to go to sleep. It may take several nights of crying by both you and Anja but she needs to learn.
No greeting, no signature, no return address and no city stamp on the envelope, though it had been through the post office. (Does that mean it's local?) Hm. Now I realize that some people would respond to this note charitably, maybe assuming that they had good intentions when writing this. But I just can't bring myself to respond that way.
So, Captain Anonymous, in response to your "couple questions" I have a few of my own for you:
First of all: How creepy can you be?!? Why did you have to send me a letter in the mail rather than make a comment on my blog? I mean, REALLY! Did you go to stalker school or something?? It isn't as if your thoughts were too lengthy for a blog comment. It isn't as if you were trying to befriend me. You CAN make comments on my blog anonymously, you know. You are a creepy, creepy person.
Second: Um, helloooooo. I don't think I need to be told that things aren't quite right around here regarding nighttime routines. How stupid do you think I am? I read the handouts they give at the doctors office; I've read sleeping books and parenting books and pamphlets and websites. I am perfectly aware that my daughter's sleep habits are not normal for a baby her age. Thanks for your [bizarre style of] concern, though.
Third: Have you considered a hobby? Maybe whittling, piano, or Tae-Kwon-Do? Something that doesn't involve writing weird anonymous letters to authors of random blogs you read. You are criticizing me because my daughter's sleep habits are abnormal? If you want an example of "not normal" take a look at your own recreational activities.
And finally: Who the heck are you?!? Do we know each other? Are you an old school mate? Someone from my musician days? A friend from a past life? Do you live in my town? Or are you a complete stranger as well as a complete lunatic?
I am not upset by your letter. I'm mildly freaked out that someone tracked me down from my blog and sent me a hand-written letter (in pencil! Who even uses pencil past 4th grade?!) I'm also not sorry for responding here with mean sarcasm. I think you deserve it after sending out such accusations and unwanted advice to someone whose shoes you've not walked in, and not even having the courage to sign your name at the bottom.
But I'll answer your silly questions. Anja is still on the bottle because we want her to be. Her "bot bot" is a comfort to her. Had Greta not come along when she did, Anja would probably still be breastfeeding (I'm sure you have your problems with that too.) Sleep is a difficult thing for Anja, and it always has been. I know that she is well past typical bottle age, but if having a bottle before going to sleep makes falling asleep more of a comforting experience and less of a frustrating one, then we're willing to let her have that habit.
Thanks for rubbing it in, but I'm well aware that I created her sleeping habits. Maybe when you have a baby who is screaming inconsolably night after night for the first four months of her life, and then you discover that riding in the car miraculously puts her to sleep in only a few minutes, maybe then you'll understand where our habits began. (And maybe when that happens to you I'll web-stalk you and send you mean letters!)
As for sleeping in her own bed, I'm pretty sure I've been clear about our sleeping arrangement on my blog over the past 18 months. We had intended to have The Baby's room downstairs, but of course, she started out sleeping in a bassinet in our bedroom, upstairs. By the time she outgrew her bassinet, we not only were used to having her upstairs, but we didn't feel comfortable having her so far away from us. It's not like her bedroom would just be down the hall... it would be downstairs and at the opposite end of the house. If we had a fire, we would likely not be able to get to her in that room. So we set up a bed for her in our bedroom, right next to ours. For a long time she did stay in her own bed, and I would just spend half of my night in that bed with her. But eventually she learned that our bed is really a lot more comfortable, and it must be awfully nice to be able to snuggle up between the two people you love most in the world and fall asleep. A lot of nights she still does stay in her own bed. But we do often invite her into ours, especially when it's cold. I do not think that everyone should be in the practice of The Family Bed. I also don't think people should criticize it too harshly. I think it works for some people and not for others, and it's a family decision that isn't anyone else's place to judge.
Aside from that, Anja is at a funny age. She is really still a baby, but she is such a little person that it's hard sometimes not to think of her as just a regular little kid. But still... she's only 18 months old (not even!) and she can't be reasoned with. We can't tell her to count sheep. We can't explain to her the importance of sleep, or of sleeping in her own bed. We tried countless different methods to try to teach her how to sleep, and nothing worked. Until she's a little older and able to be talked to as a person and not just taught as a baby, I'm afraid we've missed our chance. And until then, we have chosen to put Anja's sleep as a daily fact higher on our priority list than whether Anja stays in her own bed all night. Of course she's too old to be driven to sleep! But a drive in the car puts her to sleep in minutes, and that is more important to us these days than whether she falls asleep by herself, in her own bed. We'll have plenty of time to work on technicalities later. For now, as long as she's getting an adequate amount of sleep, we are happy.
And one more thing, Creepy McCreep: I am very happy with the choices we've made so far. Believe it or not, I enjoy my babies, and I like snuggling them to sleep. Before Greta was born I LOOOOOOVED my afternoon naps with Anja. And I love having my whole little family in one room together at night. When Greta wakes up and decides she'd like to have an hour or so of wakeful time, I love walking around the bedroom with her and being able to see my whole little family all at once. Often Anja is snuggled underneath Martin's arm and I can't tell you how many times I've been so tempted to run and get my camera, and the only thing that stops me is that I know it would wake both of them up. I think our current sleeping situation is good for our family. Everything about it might change in a few years. Who knows if and when it will not be the right setup for us anymore. But for now, it's perfect, and who are you to criticize it?
Besides, what Martin and I have always said anyway is that if Anja were a good sleeper on top of everything else, she would be the absolute image of perfection, and nobody is that lucky.