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Now That He's Tasted Freedom...

Londo and I have been tossing around the idea of converting the Pookie's crib to a toddler bed. But when the Pookie wakes up in the morning, he sits in his crib for 30 minutes or more playing. He's confined and happy. I have time to get up and get ready before he's calling for me to get him. And it's hard to change something that's been working so well.

Or had been.

Over Thanksgiving at my inlaws, the Pookie slept in a pack 'n play in a guest room, as he always does. We set it up where we always do, next to the guest bed. It has a lovely wrought iron headboard and footboard, with the footboard about a foot away from the pack 'n play.

Can you guess where I'm going with this?

During the visit, the Pookie figured out how to climb out of the crib. He put a leg over the top and used the footboard to pull himself out. He showed us himself how he did it.

The pack 'n play is so low that it wasn't a problem. But we were concerned about what would happen when we got home and he was in his tall crib.

The first night back, it was too late and I was too tired to figure anything out. So I just rocked him to sleep and put him in his crib as usually. He slept through the night, woke up and started playing in his crib. So I got up and went to wash up, leaving the monitor with Londo.

A little while later, Londo hurried into the bathroom to let me know he was going to get the Pookie. He said that he heard the Pookie over the monitor say, "I get down."

Londo rushed into the nursery to see the Pookie with one leg going over the crib rail. He put the Pookie's ankle back on the inside of the crib. And then got him out of the crib.

And that was the end of the crib.

We converted the crib into a toddler bed, and the Pookie's been transitioning. We've all been transitioning. It's not been easy.

The first night, he was up in the 2:00 hour. I tried to get him back to sleep for an hour and a half, and then I just brought him in bed with us. The Pumpkin was already there anyway. He woke up early, too.

Londo and I have never minded having the kids (and dog and cat) in our bed. It's the main reason we got a king-sized bed. But the rule is that anyone in our bed has to let the others sleep. The Pookie is still learning that rule.

But he is learning. When he wakes up early in the night, he's pretty good about falling back asleep with us. On top of me if the Pumpkin is cuddled next to me, because he's such a mama's boy he has to be close to me.

But when he wakes up at 5:00 or later, he is pretty much awake and trying to play with us or get us up. So I've been teaching him that if he's awake and wants to play, "Where do you go?" He now answers that with, "In my room." And I say, "Go on then." And? He does!

Overall, we've been up early a lot this past week and had some rough nights of sleep. We didn't think this transition would be easy, and boy were we right!

I'll end on a good note, though. Last night, the Pumpkin came in our room in the 2:00 hour, going right to sleep in between Londo and me, not even waking me. The Pookie toddled in our room right about 4:00. He climbed into bed easily enough, and he tried to get comfortable. But he could not get comfortable or settle down.

When he actually sat up and started to look around--for something to get into, no doubt--that's when I said, "Are you awake and want to play?" and after I asked about where he should go to play, he heads off to his room. I fell back asleep.

The other morning that he was up that early and playing in his room, every half hour he would come in to check in on me and see if I was ready to get up. It was disrupted sleep, but it was better then not sleeping at all.

I thought he would do that again. But instead of getting woken up a bunch of times, I woke up when my alarm went off at 6:30. I bolted out of bed, my first thought being what the heck had the boy been up to for the last 2 and a half hours!

I didn't hear anything, so I tiptoed down the hall. I didn't hear anything through the door, so I very quietly eased the door open.

I could barely believe my eyes. The Pookie was sleeping sweetly in his toddler bed, his Cars blanket pulled up around him. Asleep! Back in HIS OWN BED! Which he went to and got in by HIMSELF!

I didn't know kids really did that. And I certainly don't expect it to ever happen again. But it was pretty cool. Who knows what will happen tonight.

So now, every night before I go to sleep I ask myself, "I wonder which kid will come to bed with us first tonight?" It's a sweet thought and a neat place to be in our parenting.


Anandi said…
Wow, nice. As long as T is happy to be in the crib, we're going to keep her there. I don't want to think about the transition just yet as we seem to have just gotten over the 2 year sleep regression.

Wow, the dog and cat are also in your bed?! We get some longing looks from the pups, esp since we upgraded to king-sized bed, but are still pretty firmly "no dogs in the bed". Sometimes I'm sad about it, but mostly happy :)
Anonymous said…
So now, every night before I go to sleep I ask myself, "I wonder which kid will come to bed with us first tonight?" It's a sweet thought and a neat place to be in our parenting.

Sounds like it! It's extra-nifty that yours can (and will!) go back into his room to play and/or sleep as he needs. Ours have bedshared since day one, so convincing them to sleep by themselves is sometimes quite the chore.
I'm excited and scared to begin the transition from our bed to his crib/bed... but stories like this give me hope!
hush said…
I feel you on the whole "kid starts crawling out of the crib" being the deciding factor for toddler bed transition. It is hard when they start being mobile at night!

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