We converted my two-year-old’s crib into a toddler bed around the holidays, and it has been rough. Almost four months later, we’re still dealing with speed bumps almost daily. Let me start out by saying my daughter used to be a fantastic sleeper. She started sleeping through the night at three months old, and she often would sleep-in later than me her first year and a half of life. But the toddler bed has changed things. I hope this reaches all those mommas who don’t even know what to Google when they’re going off four hours of sleep during the toddler bed transition period, and are yelling at their computer monitors, “THESE TIPS AND TRICKS ARE BOLOGNA!” I’ve been there.
When we very first made the leap to a bed with fewer walls, my main concern was my daughter falling out of bed and getting scared. She only fell out a couple of times at the beginning, and her bed is so low to the ground that there was no way she could injure herself. The true battle has been the independence factor. Along with being a great sleeper, my daughter has always been PAINFULLY independent and strong-willed. At one point, she was going to bed at 7:30 p.m., only to wake up and come out of her bedroom at 9 p.m., midnight, 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Let’s recap – that’s more often than she was waking up when she was TWELVE WEEKS OLD. Talk about a devastating turn of events.
She would burst into our room and proudly announce that she had turned off her humidifier and nightlight, or come in saying, “Mommy, lay down. Mommy, lay down. Mommy, lay down,” asking me to lay down in her bed with her. I was going crazy. We got an Okay-To-Wake clock, which helped with the middle-of-the-night episodes, when she genuinely thought it was time to get up for the day. The clock at least gave her an understanding of “morning.”
Even still, she comes out of her room almost every night. Sometimes, she comes out at 9 or 10 p.m., asking my husband and me what we’re doing, and sometimes she still comes in at 4 a.m. asking for me to lay down with her. Luckily, my husband takes the reigns on the latter of those. The crying protest she throws also brings me back to when she was an infant. “Do I need to let her figure this out herself? Is she just doing this for attention? Am I slowly molding her into a serial killer by not laying down with her four times a night?” My husband tells me she’s fine, and reminds me of the time she threw her hat out the open car window – she’s just trying to see what will happen.
These times are hard, but I think we’re through the worst of it (I’m knocking on wood right now). Transitions have been so easy for my daughter so far – breast milk to formula, formula to solid food, bottle to sippy cup, and she wasn’t even fazed either of the times we’ve moved. So this one and potty training are our big battles. I just have to remind myself, that kids don’t go to college needing their moms to lay down with them or wearing diapers, so surely this must end. Until then, you can find me slathering concealer under my eyes, muttering to myself that surely tonight will be the night I can get seven hours of sleep.