I am happy to report that our three weeks of "sleep training", if you want to call it that, are complete.
The past three nights, I have left the room after tucking Andrew in, kissing and hugging him, giving him his sippy of water, and making sure his favorite blanket is on him.
It's a nice change from 45 minutes - 1 hour of me lying next to him while he dug his feet into my back, scraped his fingernails along the wall, poked at my face, and goofed off. It just wasn't good, especially when there were many times he wasn't going to sleep until midnight or later! It was pretty ridiculous.
Anyway, you'll recall that he used to run to the door and start banging his head if I tried to leave the room. I really was at my wit's end.
Two nights ago, I heard him come to the door and say, "mom? mom? mom?" but I just ignored it and then I heard him crawl back in bed. Five minutes later, I heard him snoring away.
Last night, he didn't get out of bed at all. All he did was say, "head? head? head? head?" about 30 times before giving up. He likes his blankets over his head for some reason, so that's what he was asking for. I know he is perfectly capable of arranging his own blankets and was only looking for me to come wait on him.
This is AWESOME and I have plenty of time before the new baby arrives to let this new routine settle in.
For those of you with high-needs toddlers: if you want to try this, this is what we did per the pediatric specialist we saw:
1) 3-4 nights of me sitting on the side of the bed, on top of the covers, facing out.
2) 5 nights of me sitting on the floor next to his bed.
3) a week-and-a-half of me sitting by the door of his room, still inside his room (he likes his door shut).
4) Finally, me leaving the room after tucking him in.
We follow a routine and read for 1/2 hour every night before bed, then I tell him when he has one more book left, and he picks out his last book. I then tell him it's time to go to sleep and I tuck him in, kiss him, hug him, and he actually asks for the lights to be turned off. I leave the room promptly and don't linger, closing the door behind me. He stays in bed now.