After A LOT (and I do mean A LOT) of trepidation, in March I decided to book our four day, three nights stay at cabins in Redstone as a big family get together with my parents, sister, grandpa and his family. I was very nervous about making such a commitment because of our Little L and her sleep schedule and lack of ability to sleep anywhere but in her crib. So I took the leap of faith and decided I needed to try to sleep train her to sleep in her playpen. So nearly every Monday and Friday I would take her for her afternoon nap to my mama's house. My nap time checklist included her playpen, and her noise machine. We would try to make my mom's room as dark as Little L's room at home by hanging a towel over the window and I would surround her playpen with blankets so she couldn't see out. I know, it sounds ridiculous but with a babe like L, you go with what works.
It started off pretty bumpy. She would flat out refuse to nap and just cry for most of the time. It took about a month but eventually, she started doing pretty good and only cry for a little bit before falling asleep. I'd keep up her sleeping practice at home by setting up her playpen in my room and putting her down for a nap every other day in there. So it seemed we might actually have a nice stay in the mountains. I was starting to be optimistic about it and look forward to it!
Then, two weeks before we were going to leave, I got a little lax in having her nap in her playpen at home and she took advantage of it. Once again, she refused to nap at mom's house and she would just cry her little lungs out. This did not bode well for our trip. I was dreading it thinking I would just be up with her the whole time and I didn't want to ruin Marc's only vacation in over a year. Not to mention the ride up there was projected to be more than 3 hours and she hates being in her carseat longer than 20 minutes!
So, as the weekend before approached, I had made several lists for packing. I had a special box of "L's sleep stuff" ready. Our plan was to head out around her morning nap time so that she would hopefully be lulled by the car ride to sleep.
Everything was packed.... the morning came. I conducted our morning routine like usual and I tried to have her crawling a lot to get some energy out. Around a quarter to 10 we hit the road. As luck would have it, she fell asleep 10 minutes into the drive! Yay!! Our first success. As we rode a little more happily along for about 30 minutes it was ok. Then, of course, we hit slow traffic on I70 and when the car stops moving, Little L notices. So she woke up and fussed and protested (luckily not screaming) while we sat in traffic for 1/2 an hour before it cleared up. Once past that she was still fussy and didn't fall back to sleep until right before we were about to stop for our lunch break to give Little M and her a break (typical!).
At the rest stop we met my grandpa and the rest of the family there and the cousins got to meet and run off some energy while eating a bite for lunch. Little L woke up and wasn't grumpy but just wanted to be held.
As we loaded up again, she began to protest, but quickly fell asleep. (Another Yay!) The remainder of he trip she was good until right at Glenwood Springs (approximately 1/2 hour before our stop). She was MAD! Crying and screaming to be picked up! I would hand her a toy and she'd toss it to the side. I started handing her random things like a water bottle and Little M's binoculars that kept her interest longer but they would eventually end up in the door panel where she tossed them. Eventually, we made it to our destination in one piece. One obstacle down, now just what would she do for night time?!
It turned out our cabin, wasn't a cabin but a loft above the gift shop. Great... gift shop noise I groaned. As we walked around the back to our room, there was a dog that was barking at the trash can right near the stairs that led up to our door. It had pinned a rabbit under the can and was waiting for it to emerge. It just kept barking and wouldn't move. I wasn't thrilled about that as I thought "it's gonna be there our whole stay! How will she sleep?!" Inside, the loft was nicely furnished and had the extra room that I specifically booked it for so that L could have a separate sleep space but the bed in the room didn't leave much space for her playpen. I was just thinking, this isn't going to work! Yes, I was being a little bit of a Negative Nelly, but who isn't after being in a car with a screaming baby and having apprehensions about her sleeping anyway?! Anyway... I digress...we were able to move the bed over. I blocked out the windows with black trash bags taped to the window. It was a bit warm in there as there was no a/c and so they provided fans. I set up the fan and it was loud! Even on the 1st setting. I got all her sleeping stuff set up: playpen... check... sound machine... check....cuddle fox... check... sleep sheep... check... bedtime story... check... sleep sack... check.... monitor... check. I prepared for a sleepless night.
It turns out, all my worrying was for naught. (Yes...I know you all told me so). For the whole trip, naps AND nighttime, she slept like a baby! Or, more accurately, like everyone who doesn't have babies assumes they sleep. (Honestly, that saying should be used to indicate when you sleep like poop. "Up every few hours?" "Yeah, I slept like a baby" :-/).
I didn't even have to use her sound machine! She had white noise in the fan! I might have to get one for her room because since we've been back she's been a fussy napper. Also, I attribute her good sleep to her being around more family and activity everyday and having new places to explore, she tuckered herself out!
I'm happy to say our first family road trip was a big success. As Little L's main provider of sleep and sustenance I dare say I look forward to another!
Thanks to my hubby and to my mom for being such a big help in trying to keep me from worrying my life away! :) I know it's sometimes a full time job :)