Monday, September 17, 2012

wish us luck

We got Lila a big girl bed at Ikea last week when we went to Minneapolis.  She'll be three in December, so I wanted to have our plan in place to try to get her transitioned between now and then.  We started talking about her big girl bed a few months ago, pointing out her friends' big beds and searching for a new quilt for her new bed.  I asked her often if she wanted a big bed and she always said, "Yes!"  But when I would say, "Okay, that means you wouldn't sleep in your crib anymore.  You'll just sleep in the big bed," she would say, "No! I want to sleep in my crib!"

Based on those conversations, I started prepping myself for a long road of making the switch.  We showed her the beds like hers in the Ikea showroom (they actually didn't have a display of the model we were buying, but we showed her similar ones) and she seemed excited about it.  I knew we'd have some sleep to catch up on after our sleep-deprived trip so I didn't even consider putting it up until this weekend.

So last night, the Husband put it together in our room after she went to sleep and when Lila woke up this morning, he showed it to her.  She climbed right in and snuggled there for a few minutes.  Then the Husband moved it into the living room so she could play in it and I could go back to sleep (because I'm spoiled and he's awesome).

It lived there most of the day.

And then, for nap time we moved it into her room.  I had researched tips for transitioning to a big bed and found that most sources recommended the following:

1. Leave the crib in the room so the child doesn't walk in to find her beloved crib gone with no warning.
2. Place the bed where her crib used to be in the room.
3. Do a first try during a nap so that she can fall asleep when it's light outside and get used to the change.
4. Don't push it.  Give her the choice if possible.
5. Keep all other sleep-related routines and comforts the same.

And of course, since I'm a rule-follower, I did all of them.  I moved her crib to the side and set up her bed in position her crib had been in.  Then I asked Lila if she wanted to sleep in her crib or in her new bed.

New bed.

I asked her again.

New bed.

We got ready for nap and I asked her again.

New bed.

Okay.  We'll give it a go.  I honestly was not planning on doing our first run today.  I thought the bed would live in her room for a bit and we'd try in a few days or a week, but evidently she was ready.

I explained that she was not allowed to get out of her bed until Mommy came to get her.  I explained that she was not allowed to stand or jump on her bed and that she was not allowed to bring anything into her bed.  I explained that she was not allowed to touch the curtains on her windows.  I explained that the rules for her bed were just like the rules for her crib.  "Okay, Mommy."

I read her a book, gathered her many comfort objects (Lambie, Snuggle, Birdie Blanket, Bink) and she crawled into bed.  I tucked her in and was all ready to pat her back until she fell asleep, but then she told me, "I want you to leave, Mommy."

"You do?"


"Okay, goodnight, Peanut.  I love you."

"Love you, Mommy."

I left the room thinking, This is never going to work.

I gave her 15 minutes and when she was still talking I went in to check on her.  She was sitting on her pillow holding her Lambie.  Her Birdie Blanket and Snuggle were on the ground and she and Lambie were, "Picking the butterflies off the blanket."  Also, she had pooped.

 I changed her diaper and then told her, "I am so proud of you for staying in your bed and for trying to fall asleep by yourself.  Mommy will rock you today and we'll try again tomorrow."  I rocked her to sleep and put her down in her bed thinking, I'll be happy if she sleeps 45 minutes or an hour.

Nearly two hours later, she called over the monitor, "Mommy!  I awake!  Come and get me, Mommy!" I rushed in so that she would know that I would come right to her if she called, hoping this would encourage her to stay in her bed over the long haul.  She was sitting on her bed grinning with pride.

"Lila! I'm so proud of you!!  You slept in your big girl bed all by yourself and you didn't get out just like Mommy told you!  Awesome job, Sweet Girl!!"

"Yeah! I did it!  Let's go tell Daddy!"

I'm not gonna lie.  I cried a little bit.  You mamas know, tears of pride and also sadness and disbelief that my girl could really be old enough to be sleeping in a big bed!?  I just looked at her and the tears came.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have dreaded each big transition we've made thinking it would be hard, that she would fight it, that we would all be frustrated.  But in hindsight, each transition has been almost painless.  Except for the pain, in hindsight, of the reality that my baby was growing up with each new stage.  The switch from swaddle to sleep sack and then from sleep sack to blanket, the switch from breast milk to cow's milk and then cutting out the bottle altogether, cutting back on the bink to only sleep time, and even potty training was easy once it clicked.

I was pondering this aloud to my parents tonight and my dad said, "Maybe you should just start realizing that you're actually really good at this."

But I don't think that's it.  It's not that I'm good at this mommying thing.  Believe me, most of the time I feel like my best isn't good enough.  I think most of the credit goes to my girl.  If she's ready, she's ready.  If I've done one thing right in each of these transitions, it's been reading the signals to know that she's ready.  The rest has been her own independence, autonomy and development at work.

I'm also not dumb enough to think that after one nap time we've got this thing nailed down.  In fact, my expectation was that she might not want to sleep in her bed tonight.  Or that she would be getting up out of bed a bunch or that she would be too excited to fall asleep.  Or that she'd end up back in her crib after a trial period.

But tonight I gave her the choice again, crib or new bed.

New bed.

"Okay, so Daddy will rock you and Mommy will come and tuck you in and you'll stay in your bed all night.  You sure you want to sleep in your bed and not your crib?"

New bed.

So I read her a book, the Husband rocked her and prayed with her, then I tucked and kissed and prayed  and sang to my big girl.  And I asked her one more time if she wanted to sleep in her bed or her crib.

New bed.

I think there's a part of me that wasn't ready, even if she was.  She's so big.  She's not a baby.  Even the name of her bed declares it: she's a big girl.  And that's just a little more than this mommy heart can take.

She's been asleep for an hour already.  She barely talked or played at all.  This very grown-up countenance came over her as she hugged me goodnight.

"I love you.  Jesus loves you.  I'm so proud of you.  I'm so glad I'm your mommy.  Have a good sleep, Peanut."

"Have a good sleep, Mommy."

We'll see how the night goes - it could be a long night.  Maybe we'll be back in the crib tomorrow, we'll see.  Maybe I just hope we will.  Either way, wish us luck!


Katy said...

aww, they grow up too fast! Remember when we moved to the house here and transitioned Tony to his toddler bed. I thought I would fail moving to a new place and getting rid of his crib all in one swoop but he did well!!

Dana Butler said...

So how'd it go last night?! I'm so curious!! Way to go, Mom!!! You ARE really good at it. :)

brit said...

what precious pictures! It's hard watching your babies grow up...last week on parenthood the daughter went to college and I cried like a baby thinking that would be my daughter one day! she's 2 1/2! anyway, we transitioned into a big girl bed not too long ago because she started climbing out of her crib and hurting herself. the transition was so-so (we had other issues like ear infections and sickness that made the transition even harder) but now, in her own words, "I sleepy own bed all night! yay lola!" good luck! just remember, no one goes to college sleeping in a crib :)