Saturday, March 24, 2012

Big Boy Bed


About two weeks ago, Ben was home with Will for the afternoon while Mama was at work. Ben heard Will wake up. He was talking happily to himself and then all of a sudden... THUMP!

Yep, that's right. My 19 month old fell out of his crib.

Ben said it was the most awful sound he's ever heard, not to mention the crying that followed. Poor, Will! According to Ben, it looked like he had the wind knocked out of him. But it was nearly a four foot fall, so we shouldn't be surprised.

Needless to say, this freaked the hell out of Ben and I. He could have been seriously hurt! Not to mention, we weren't really expecting to have the "big boy bed" transition quite yet. I honestly thought we had until well after Will turned two.

No such luck. The same day as the great crib accident of 2012, Ben removed the side of Will's crib and installed the toddler bed converter (shown above). No real preparation for Mama, Daddy or Will. Just a decision to put safety first. Because, let's be honest. If he did it once, odds are he will do it again.

Thankfully, the transition has been smooth for the most part. Overnights were no problem from day one. Mostly because it's dark in his room at night, and I think he forgets he can get out. That and he's genuinely exhausted after being a busy toddler all day.

Naps have been a little more challenging, but he's getting it. The first day, it took 90 minutes to get him to fall asleep because he kept getting out and testing his new boundaries (and Mama's patience).

That day, we made the decision to remove all toys from his room, except books and stuffed animals. Ben and I both decided that we don't care if he plays quietly in his room before taking a nap, but we need him to understand that he sleeps in his bed (not on the floor). So we employ some version of Ferberizing, where we go in every 5-10 minutes, remind him that it's time to sleep and put him back in bed. We let him keep whatever he's playing with, but he needs to do it in bed.

Since that first day, naps have gotten much easier. There are definitely some days where I have to go in there three or more times to return him to his bed, but he generally doesn't complain about it. He even climbs in his bed and tells us when he's sleepy now (which is super cute, by the way).

So if you're nearing the point where you're going to convert your crib or get a toddler bed, here are our tips:

1) Remove most toys from the room. We elected to leave quiet toys in there, but his train table had to go. There was no way he was going to stay in bed with that kind of distraction.

2) Keep things as familiar as possible. We have a convertible crib, so despite taking off the crib wall, everything else stayed exactly the same. I think having his mattress, bedding and stuffed animals as they were before really helped with the transition.

3) Keep calm. That first nap was really, really trying. I had to do everything in my power to stay cool, even when he scampered out of bed immediately after I put him down. We didn't want him to see his bed as a punishment or something being forced on him, but we also wanted to establish clear boundaries and bedtime behavior. Patience and consistency was so important (but really, isn't it always in parenthood?).

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