Near the end of November, we were starting to feel a little better about Porter + sleep. We'd transitioned him back to sleeping in his own room all night with just a few wake ups where we could talk him back to sleep through the monitor. Not awesome, but still getting better. And he really was amazing at naps and at going to sleep at night happily as can be.
We went to Washington and took his sleeping tent along, and he did just fine there too.
But the night we returned home, Porter was suddenly completely panicked about going to bed. We sat at the edge of his tent holding/hugging/wrestling a desperate little boy for an hour or two and then the same thing happened at the next day's naptime/night time.
And for once, we figured out the right thing to do!
We went back to the old sleep lady shuffle routine that helped him make some improvement when he was waking up hourly at 1-year-old... We sat right next to his bed and talked to him and let him know we were there and he was safe. And after a few naps/nights of that, I found a chair to sit in just a foot away or so. Then a little further and a little further, out to the doorway, then the hall. Then we'd close the door a bit more and bit more. (We also went back to bringing him in to sleep in our room when we went to bed so we wouldn't fall apart from being up all night as he worked through this. And after he started to calm down a bit more, he was okay staying in his tent all night.)
It's been about a month and now there's just a quick "sit with me?" before I go, and then I can say goodnight and close the door and sit in the chair in another room for a few minutes and he falls right to sleep.
This is just a little thing, but for all of the times when I haven't known what to do, or I've tried so many different things... and for all of the sad memories of littler Porter crying himself to sleep that break my heart... It has just been so wonderful for once to know just what he needed and have the patience to do it and then to see it really work. I'm just so grateful for this one chance of getting it right!