Something amazing happened last night. Grace ate salmon for dinner and Keener slept in his big boy bed.
While on the one hand I wanted to keep him in a crib until he was 10, I was starting to feel that he was ready. Despite my friends warning me that there is nothing scarier than a pair of eyeballs looking down at you at 3 AM when you are fast asleep, I encouraged Keener to make the switch.
I ordered these crib rails for Keener’s bed two weeks ago and put them on the bed right away (however you can also use pool noodles which would take up less space). Keener, these are awesome! These will make your bed just like your crib! They are like the railings on your crib and will keep you safe and healthy when you are sleeping. He looked at me like I was crazy. Since then, we have occasionally been reading books on the bed so he understands the similarities between his bed and his crib.
For the last two weeks, I have casually asked him if he wanted to take a nap or go to bed for the night in his bed and each time he said a definitive, “No.” I didn’t push it, but always paraphrased back, You’re just not ready yet. No big deal. There was no deadline and no need to make the change right now. However, I was motivated by an upcoming trip where I knew he would have to sleep in a bed (or on the floor) rather than a crib. I was trying to gently encourage the move beforehand. Sleep on trips with toddlers can be challenging enough in a new environment; I didn’t want to throw an extra curveball his way.
I asked Keener for his nap yesterday if he wanted to sleep in his bed. To my surprise, he said, “Yes.” I was floored. I hadn’t exactly figured out how I wanted to introduce “the bed” but I remembered a tip from Toddlerwise. It said to have the child ask permission for getting out of bed. So I told Keener, Great! I knew you would be ready soon. The thing about the bed is, you can’t get out of it without a grown up. When you wake up from your nap, you need to call for me first before you get out of the bed.
He agreed and stayed in his bed. About 20 minutes later, I heard him calling for me. Keener, I noticed you called for me which is keeping you safe and healthy. However, you have not yet gone to sleep and it’s not time to wake up. You are going to stay in your bed until 3:00. You can sing songs and hug baby, just like you would do in your crib.
I left and watched on the monitor. He was standing, getting tissues off the nightstand, doing inversion yoga poses up the headboard, etc. Everything but sleeping. He called for me about every 20 minutes and each time I went in. I wanted to positively reinforce him calling for me and not getting out of bed on his own. I was accepting that this nap wasn’t going to happen. The new found freedom of the bed needed to be explored.
The stars must have been aligned last night. Although history told me Grace would not eat her salmon for dinner and Keener would tell me he wanted his crib, they both were ready to try something new.
Although Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that repeated opportunities are exactly what our kids need. Both with trying new foods and with making a change to a big kid bed.
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