Big Bed Transition: 2 Months Later

Has it really only been two months?

It was a rough couple of weeks, but eventually we started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. That helped us tremendously because we knew that if we could get her down once, we could get her down again. Eventually.

And we did…Eventually. It’s certainly not perfect, and we’re likely still months away from saying “It’s bed time. Please stay in bed,” and having a compliant child, but we’re getting there.

Most nights require someone sitting outside her door, holding the handle closed so when she comes by and “tests” the door, it doesn’t budge. We tried locking the door(temporarily) one night, but she knows how to unlock it, so that doesn’t work. Most nights she tries the lock a couple of times, whines a bit, and then gives up and goes to bed. Some nights the locked door enrages her and she throws a tantrum. Some nights she walks around in circles in her room, checking the door every 5 or 10 minutes, until she falls asleep where she was standing. Usually it’s less than 30 minutes from “bed time” to “sleep time.”

On rare nights, when she’s had a super-busy day and we manage to time it just right, she doesn’t get back up and falls asleep in a few minutes. If we’re out late enough, she falls asleep in the car and we can shuffle her into her bed with minimal fuss. It helps to pre-dress her in pj’s with a nighttime diaper.

Naps are much more difficult to come by. She’s not easily convinced that she’s sleepy enough for a nap and the door-handle trick doesn’t work. She’ll hang on the door and pout and scream and when she gives up, she turns destructive inside her room. She’ll take all her clothes out of her drawers and dump them in the middle of the room. She’ll do the same for her diapers. Depending on my own temperament, we struggle for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and then I give up. Giving up usually involves coming out to the tv room and “resting” while watching Ponyo. It’s sometimes easier on weekends if she’s had a fairly active morning, and I know that if I tried to put her down at 4:30, she’d likely sleep for hours. If i did that, she’d be up until 11pm or so, and nobody wants that. It’s a work in progress, though, and I’m sure we’ll get there. She has no problem sleeping on a cot at daycare. I just wish I could leverage that routine and peer pressure at home.

The best part about sleeping in her big girl bed is her morning routine. She wakes up before us, usually between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning. Sometimes she’ll stay in bed until she hears one of us stir (which happens pretty often thanks to my pregnant bladder), and then she’ll come padding across the house to our room. If she can’t make eye contact with either of us, or “catch” us awake, she makes several trips back to her room to fetch her things. It’s as if she thinks that if she brings her pillow, her blanket, and a few of her stuffed animals into our room (and often onto our bed), then it becomes her bed, too. Once she has everything set up, she’ll stand by one of our heads (usually Ryan’s, since that’s where she’s most likely to gain entry) and wait until we acknowledge her. Once we do, she hops into bed, demanding her own pillow (and not the one she brought with her). If it’s early enough, she’ll actually go to sleep, but most mornings she just lies there, talking to us every couple of minutes or so, telling us that she’s awake and asking how our days are going. On weekends, we encourage her to go turn the TV on or set her up with a cup of milk and some dry cereal so one or both of us can get in another 20 minutes or so.

It means no sleeping in, but it’s adorable.

I wonder how much this routine will change once Elliott arrives. There’s no question that if she hears his mid-night feeding(s) she’ll want to join in the party. Hopefully when we put Elliott back in his bassinet, she’ll understand that everyone needs to go back to their own beds. Hopefully, too, she’ll get so bored with the process that she’ll just roll over and go back to sleep.

And hopefully, when she sees all of Elliott’s naps, she’ll start wanting to take hers, too. Otherwise the adage “sleep when the baby sleeps” will be completely useless this time around.

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  • http://nopaper.net/ Ryan

    It's 10:59 PM. I'm sitting outside the door of a non-compliant child, after a few accommodating trips to get water, go potty, brush teeth… anything she could communicate to stall. I didn't give into the bath, but kudos to her for trying something she peovbly knew she needed.

    It's not adorable right now, but she's not screaming either.

    Also, I'm clearly able to use the opportunity to check the internets, so that's a plus.

  • http://nopaper.net/ Ryan

    It's 10:59 PM. I'm sitting outside the door of a non-compliant child, after a few accommodating trips to get water, go potty, brush teeth… anything she could communicate to stall. I didn't give into the bath, but kudos to her for trying something she peovbly knew she needed.

    It's not adorable right now, but she's not screaming either.

    Also, I'm clearly able to use the opportunity to check the internets, so that's a plus.

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