We adopted our Alvin when he was 7 weeks old back in December. I had been enjoying sleeping mostly through the night in the months prior. My children were sleeping and so was the dog we had. It was my idea to get the puppy though and I promised I would be the one getting up with him in the night.
I was ready though (or so I thought)! When I graduated college and was home with my parents, they got a new German Shepherd puppy. She was baby-gated in the kitchen, but would climb over the baby gate at night if she was awake and no one was with her. So, since I wasn’t working, I would be the one who would sit with her while she fell asleep at night. Once she fell asleep, I went to sleep and that was all I remembered. I have no idea if she woke in the middle of the night – after all, I wasn’t getting up with her.
We decided to put Alvin in one of those play yards that we had when our kids were really little. That way he could have his bed and a puppy pad, and I could climb in if I needed to stay with him. I started off staying with him, and every 2 hours he woke up and needed me to come take him out and sit with him while he fell back asleep. I tried really hard not to let him fall asleep on my lap (but it was hard because he was so cute!). I’d let him lie his head on me though, but when he was getting sleepier, I’d move it off. Then once he was asleep, I’d ever so quietly and slowly get up and walk out of the room. Usually he’d stay asleep – but not always. Then I’d have to sit back down with him until he fell asleep again.
This brought back memories of when my son wasn’t sleeping. I’d almost dread going to bed, because I never knew how long I’d get to sleep. My stomach would drop at that first cry (or bark).
After a week or two Alvin learned how to climb out of the play yard. By this time, he was also waking up, going to the bathroom on the puppy pad (or his bed, or the floor) and then he’d cry so I could come sit with him while he fell back asleep. After ending up stepping in poop one night because he had gotten out of the play yard, pooped, then “called” me, I decided I had to make a change.
My husband put one of the dog crates together, we put Alvin in, and who knew – he started sleeping better!! Now, at 4 months old, he wakes around 4 or 4:30 and I feed him and our other dog Abby. The other night he woke at 3:30 and I decided that I was NOT going to feed him that early. I took them out, but he went back to sleep until 7. That’s when I decided to “stretch his feed”. So yesterday, he woke at 4:15 and I didn’t feed him. This morning he slept till 5:45!! Yippee!!
Now, if only my clients had it this easy with their kids . . .
By Michelle Winters