Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Bedtime Disagreement

I think it is time to move Pumpkin to a big girl bed. I think that she wants to fall asleep laying down in her bed (and clearly she can do this, because she goes to sleep on her own at day care, on a little cot), but that she needs some help with the transition. The easiest way to give her that help would be for me to lay down next to her and let her play with my hair. After all, this is what works in the middle of the night, when we bring her into bed with us.

I've been trying to do this with her in her crib, but it is uncomfortable for me (I end up with my face smooshed up against the bars), and doesn't really work for Pumpkin.

Also, she seems to be getting tired of her sleep sack. It is only a matter of time before she can get herself out of it- she can already unzip the little sleep sack my Mom made for her baby doll. It seems like moving her to a big girl bed would be a good time to swap the sleep sack for a regular blanket.

I can envision a whole new bedtime routine, in which she gets in her bed for her bedtime stories, and then one of us lays down next to her while she goes to sleep. And then, if the sleep gods finally decide to smile on us just a little bit, we somehow slowly transition her from needing one of us there to fall asleep.

Hubby doesn't see things this way at all. He sees her getting up in the middle of the night and wandering around the house once she is freed from her crib. He thinks we should leave her in her crib as long as possible.

I know I'll win this one eventually (who ever heard of a first grader who sleeps in a crib?) but I wonder if I'll win it before the current bedtime routine ("Mommy stand up." "Mommy sit in chair." Mommy rocks Pumpkin to sleep for 20+ minutes in the rocking chair.) makes me crazy.


  1. Anonymous3:02 AM

    We did what you describe as your plan with both kids - the first step was a double bed futon on the floor in both cases, with Casper at about 21 months, with Dillo at 24. Neither was or is a nighttime roamer at all. No, they sit up in bed and YELL for us if they want to (happily less and less - Dillo is now on his 5th night in a row of sleeping from bedtime until past 6am, and I am loving it!) I did worry about the possibility of roaming, but it seems to have never occurred to them.

  2. I've got a roamer. We moved her into a single bed (the boxspring is on the floor with no frame so it is easy for her to climb out of). We're also in the irritating situation of "cry it out" being the only thing that works for getting her to sleep (my presence is far to exciting to allow sleep to happen), so we had a few nights of her pounding on her door and yelling before she figured out that bed was a nice and comfy place to be. Also...she gets up in the middle of the night, puts her shoes on, and gets back into bed. I am seriously confused by this...

    Honestly I was starting to worry about the possibility of her climbing out of the crib and hurting herself, so I was pretty happy to move her to the bed, and now our bedtime routine involves sitting in bed reading books, some snuggle time with me lying in the bed with her, and then a very small amount of complaining (but no getting out of bed) when I leave. I do resort to putting her to bed in a sweatshirt & socks (on top of the pyjamas) because she just throws all blankets off...

  3. We are thinking of moving mason into his big boy bed soon too. I fear it will be a nightmare, so I have kept him in his crib so far. I think our plan is to transititon him like you said. Good luck with your decision!

  4. DH was a climber. He climbed out of his crib at 18 mo. DD was attempting to climb, when we decided the crib was more dangerous than the absence of one.

    We took the crib out to the garage and kept her crib mattress on the floor, right where the crib had been. When we put her to bed, we sat on the floor (and sometimes fell asleep) right next to her mattress.

    We kept all the doors, except for her bedroom and our bedroom. The stair gate was closed. Our bedrooms were baby-proofed. She had a night light. Sometimes, she wandered into to our room and I would wake up with her attempting to climb into our bed. I got pretty good at lifting her up between DH & myself and falling back asleep.

    Eventually, she reliably slept through the night in her own room and bed. It is a long process. In many Asian cultures, kids are not expected to sleep the whole night through in their own bed until 5-6. DD was right on target.

    In most cultures, kids don't have their own bed and bedroom ever, much less at such a young age. It is a lot to expect from a toddler, especially an imaginative one.

  5. Thanks for all the stories/ideas!

    I should add- thanks to the sleep sack, Pumpkin has never tried to climb out of her crib. She has started to fight getting into her sleep sack some nights, though, and she can unzip sweatshirts and the like when she's wearing them.

  6. You know we did the transition a while ago. My husband was not initially on board, but I had to do it when I was on vacation with her because of the situation. Within a few weeks, my husband was SO HAPPY with it!

    We've got the boxspring on the ground with no frame also. We shut her door almost all the way (we make sure it doesn't click, but she is noise-sensitive and needs it mostly shut) and we leave our door open when we go to sleep. We close all other doors and the babygates to the stairs. So now when she wakes in the middle of the night, she wanders directly into our bedroom, up the stairs to our bed (for our dog with a bad back), and we pull her between us and go right back to sleep (usually). It's way better for us than having to get up and get her!

    As for going to sleep, our girl has never been great at that, but I really find it easier to lie down with her in the bed than to rock or walk with her (especially since I'm pregnant). She lies down, has her bottle, then fidgets around/plays with my hair/fixes the pillows/pulls up the covers/etc until she settles down and falls to sleep. Often, I fall asleep with her/before her. I'll wake within an hour and head to my bed.

    I will admit that sometimes she gets in and out of the bed, picks up books, opens her dresser drawers, and things like that which used to drive me crazy because I wanted her to settle down and go to sleep. But I learned that if I just relax and stay lying on the bed pretending to sleep or trying to sleep, she will come back to bed and lie down and go to sleep when she's ready.

    Oh, one last thing. My sister has a babygate on the doorway to her toddler's room. That keeps her in, even if she gets out of bed, without having a shut door.

    Good luck!


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