We made the transition from the crib to the toddler bed this week, and this change alone in my life has kept me from doing and writing much. One thing I can say for Jeff and me, as parents, is that we are persistent and we stick with something until it’s done. This new bed thing has been something that has really tried us, though.
We were in the process of taking the front off of Carter’s bed and putting the guard rails on the front when our power went out in the middle of the snowstorm last Sunday. So, because it was ice cold in our house and because we couldn’t see to do anything, we all spent the night sleeping on the couches in front of the crackling fireplace. Carter slept on my chest like a baby monkey and the only positive thing about that was that I was NOT COLD. In fact, I was sweating, despite the fact that it was somewhere around 55 degrees in the room. He wiggled and moved and woke us both up about once an hour. That, combined with Jeff getting up and down to add wood to the fire, did not make for a very restful night. And, a sleep deprived baby and Mommy did not make for a very happy day the next day. Seriously, I don’t know how people do the whole co-sleeping thing with their kids. I need my SLEEP.
After that night and a nap on the couch the next day, I was very motivated to transition Carter into his new bed. His first night in the bed was Monday night. We went through the whole bedtime routine with him (bath, stories, prayer, singing and soft music) and put him down. To my extreme delight HE STAYED…until about 2 AM. Then it was on. He was up and out of the bed. I went in to put him back down. I held him in the glider for a few minutes and he was so exhausted he fell right back to sleep. I laid him in the bed and he screamed, got out of the bed and chased me down the hallway. It was 3:30 before I got him back to sleep and staying that way. He did the same thing on Tuesday and again on Wednesday in varying degrees of sleeplessness. I very much felt like I did the first 3 months of his life when we had to feed him several times throughout the night, but this time it wasn’t all cute and new–it was just frustrating. And, I’m not a new Mom anymore, so there’s no naps built into my days anymore. At some point in the middle of the night, I actually fell asleep sitting cross-legged in the floor by his bed.
Thursday night was a good night. He slept all night in the big boy bed. Same goes for every night since then. I feel like I should get a t-shirt or something for not giving in and just bringing him to bed with me or curling up on the couch instead of insisting that he stay in his bed.
That, however, is not the end of our struggle. He’s sleeping fine when it’s dark, but then there are naps. It’s daylight. He can see toys. He can see me. He thinks it’s a game, really. When he turned 18 months, I changed his nap schedule so he’d just be taking one a day. I pushed it back from 11 to 1 and then he goes to bed a little earlier. I thought with that change he’d be SO READY to sleep by the time 1 rolls around. It hasn’t been the case.
I have to confess a little rotten parenting. Today I was not strong. I put him down at 1, and after 1 hour of taking him back to his bed each time he got up I just gave up. I was physically exhausted from carrying his nearly 30 pound body from the living room to the bed. I still needed to vacuum the house, so I let him stay up and play while I did that. Then, I put him down at 2:45 and he really was exhausted by that time. He didn’t move a muscle after I put him down that time. I’m wondering now if I should push the naptime back even more to avoid the struggle or keep up the good fight with getting him to nap when I put him down.
Now I’m definitely going to have to take a shower before he gets up. Oh, the joy of early mornings.