Toddler Mom Chronicles: Switch from crib to toddler bed
We’re skipping ahead because my brain has been too foggy to start from the VERY beginning. So I’ll do a quick recap, then get back to where we are TODAY.
Last month, I left my husband and sweet, healthy sleeper, our 2 1/2 year old toddler, for almost a week. I went on an awesome 5 day cruise on the S.S. Beachbody with some of my closest friends and teammates. It was an earned, all expenses paid, cruise to Jamaica and the Bahamas. There were live Beachbody workouts, lots of dancing, fantastic food and a few too many mojitos… it was fantastic!
When I returned, I came home to a 2 1/2 year old boy who refused to sleep. Ever. No naps, screamed bloody murder when he woke up in his crib alone. Yes, I said crib. We had not “made the switch” yet… We didn’t need to! I’m telling you, this kid slept like a champ. 2-3 hour naps every day and he would sleep 10-12 hours at night. In his own bed. I could put him in there wide awake and he would himself to sleep. No fighting, no fussing. So this was a MAJOR change for us.
To be honest, it actually started 2-3 days before I left. He’d gone through similar phases before, but none lasted more than a day or two. So when I returned, I figured we may have a rough day or two, then all get back to normal. I’ve been home for 3 weeks now. No progress. Was he scared? Did he need a night light? Did he just miss me? Did he feel trapped in his crib? Was he having night terrors? Who knows! We turned on a night light, then turned it back off. Turned the sleep sound machine off, then back on again. Waited until he fell asleep with me on the couch, then moved him to his bed. Nothing helped.
Enter: the toddler bed. Little man’s crib came with the option to switch to a toddler bed with a rail, then to a “big kid” bed down the road (similar to the one in the picture). So we took the plunge. We involved him in making the change and he was really excited! He helped make his bed, even “tested” it out by laying in it, practicing getting in and back out again, etc. Apparently, he’s MUCH better at getting out of the bed than getting in… go figure.
The first few weeks went as follows: he drinks his milk and falls asleep next to me on the couch. I wait until he’s in his first full REM cycle (i.e. deep sleep) and carry him to his bed. Carefully tip toe out of the room and close his door. SUCCESS.
Day one: slept in his bed until 7:30am. We did it!!! Cheers! Pop open the champagne! We are the best parents ever! We know everything! People should pay us to come in and teach their kids how to sleep!
Day two: slept in his bed until 5:30am. OK – it’s a little earlier than usual, but no biggie. Progress, not perfection. We’ll count it as a win! He came into our room and I let him lay in our bed as he fell back asleep until 7am.
Days 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-13: slept in his bed for approximately 59 minutes. He walked into our room, we were too tired to walk him back. I let him climb in bed between us. “It’s a phase” was running through my head. “Just this once” we whispered to each other. “He’ll grow out of it” we thought. “He’ll learn to sleep in his bed before he’s 18, right?”.
Day –: We have no idea what day it is. But last night, we decided: enough is enough. This kid won’t win! We run this house! We are the parents! Do you know what that means?!? We are in charge, kid! I know you’re cute and I want to kiss those sweet little cheeks and cuddle you… oh boy you smell good… these days won’t last… enjoy it, mama, just one more hug… WAIT! No! I will not cave. Propane Man and I made a pact: he will NOT sleep in our bed tonight. We googled, searched, Pinterested… and came up with the most common sense solution we were comfortable with: walk him back to his room every time he got up and tried to get in our bed. Easy, right? Let me walk you through Night One.
9:00pm: he fell asleep on the couch next to me. Like, PASSED OUT. (Thank you, Pump It Up birthday party and no nap!). 9:15pm: Mama carries him to his bed, tucks him in, kisses his forehead… this is totally going to work. 9:30pm: Mama and Daddy (i.e. WINNERS) carry off to bed, bragging “check it out- I’m going to use my WHOLE pillow tonight. Don’t touch me, don’t even look at me. We should go to sleep immediately… you know, just in case”. 12am on the dot: SCREAMING from the old school alarm clock on my dresser. WHAT?!? I haven’t used that thing in years! Why now? Who turned it on? Dear God, please tell me it didn’t wake him up. Turn it off, crawl back in bed. 12:30am: Fitbit Charge HR says my heart rate is finally back to a normal range; Mama and Daddy fall back asleep. 2am: Little man is up and in our room. I walk him back (no crying!), let him crawl in his bed and somehow manage to fit next to him, holding him tight and rubbing his head. 2:30am: he’s asleep! Escape! Run for it Mama! I manage out of his squeaky bed, close his door and get back into my bed. Success! 3:00am: He’s up again and back at our bedside. “Mama. Mama. Mama! Me sleep in mama’s bed.” “No buddy, no more in Mama & Daddy’s bed”. I walk him back to his room, help him crawl into bed. Only this time: “Mama can’t sleep with you, buddy”. I sit on the floor next to his bed and rub his head. 3:15am: Done! He’s out again! I replace my hand with the Mickey Mouse plush on his bed and take off! Surely he’s too tired to get up again. 3:16am: He’s back. Repeat the 3am wakeup. I’ll save you the reading. 3:40am: I’m back in my bed! 3:41am: He’s back in my room. WHAT THE… this kid has more stamina than any adult I’ve ever met. My voice gets a little more stern. I’ve been good up until now (go me! working on my patience!), but maybe he needs some tough love? Insert: Daddy to the rescue. We BOTH walk him back to bed. We BOTH rub his back, through the tears. Lots of talking, reassurance, promises of the park and pancakes for breakfast, maybe a pony for his birthday… who knows anymore. 4am: We leave him in bed… in tears… our hearts are breaking, but maybe this is it. We close his door and climb back in bed. We watch him on the monitor: he goes from his bed to the floor and back again, with alligator tears streaming down his face. His door is shut, but he doesn’t make an attempt to come back to our room. By 5am, we can’t see him anymore… he must be on the floor. At some point in the sleep deprived fog of the super early morning, we’re all back asleep. 6am: Daddy’s normal morning wake up. Little man’s door is wide open, but he’s on the floor with his pillow and Mickey Mouse.
9:20am: The little turd is still asleep. I’m glad he’s resting (Lord knows he needs it), but a small part of me is worried if he sleeps too long, we’ll forego our afternoon nap (again) and have the same exact night (again)…
But we’re here, alive (thanks coffee) and are pushing on through the day! Parents have been fighting this battle for… I have no idea how long… so we certainly aren’t the first to deal with it. But it’s OUR first with OUR kid. And it’s not easy. So if you see me out and think “wow, her hair needs a good washing” or “geez – ANOTHER cup of coffee” or you see Propane Man and think “dude, you need a nap!”, please cut us some slack. Because yes… I need a shower, another cup of coffee and we could definitely both use a nap.
Stay tuned for Toddler Chronicles: THE SWITCH, Part 2.