Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Trouble with Transitions

We have a problem with transitions in this family. It isn't the kids- they actually handle them OK, although modifications to Pumpkin's bedtime routine are never easy. No, the real problem is with the grown ups.

For instance, it is probably time to move Petunia to a "big girl" bed. She asks almost nightly to be put down in our bed. Her bedtimes have become a bit of a nightmare. We'll rock her to sleep, only to have her wake up screaming as we try to lower her into her crib. When I cave and bring her to our bed to put her down, she falls asleep fairly easily as long as she's been rocked almost all the way to sleep first (which doesn't usually take all that long), and then I can roll away and leave her. I'm fairly certain that once she has a big girl bed, her bedtime routine will be easier. We'll still rock her until she's sleepy, but then we can snuggle her in bed for a bit and then roll away.

But Hubby isn't on board yet. He was similarly slow to get on board with getting Pumpkin a big girl bed- a move that ultimately coincided quite closely with her finally sleeping through the night in her own bed. To this day, she does not get up at night and roam the halls, which was what he worried about. If she wakes up, she sits up and yells for one of us (usually me). I suspect Petunia would do the same.

To be fair, I'm dragging my feet on this one a bit, too. I'd like to use the transition to the big girl bed as a trigger to stop bringing her into our bed when/if she wakes up at night. Instead, one of us would go snuggle her back to sleep in her bed. But... we're going on vacation in September. She will almost certainly be sharing our bed for most of that vacation- we're not rich enough to get hotel rooms big enough to avoid that. (Although I am intrigued by the idea of tossing both the girls into a bed and seeing if that helps or hurts in the sleep department....) So part of me thinks that we should wait and get the big girl bed when we get back from vacation. But another part of me isn't sure I can take another month or so of bedtime struggles, so I may yet argue to go ahead and get the bed now.

Regardless, that is hardly the only transition that we struggle with. I dragged out the end of pumping both times around. Every time one of the girls moves to the next room at day care, I get all wistful. They, for the most part, are happy to move up. I had another bout of this recently when the center's associate director told me that not only would Pumpkin be moving to the next (and last!!!!) room, but that Petunia will move up to her next room as soon as she turns 2. Pumpkin is thrilled with her move, which happened on Monday. I can't believe that my first little baby is a bona fide preschooler now. Nor, for that matter, can I believe that my second little baby is a bona fide toddler now.

I don't think I can do anything about my cliche "oh, they're getting so big, so fast!" feelings about the day care transitions. But I should probably fight down the mixed feelings on the big girl bed and just get the damn thing bought.


  1. @Cloud - you seriously scare me sometimes with the timing of your posts! Last night I was thinking *exactly the same thing* re:big girl beds for *the same reasons*... Toddler who seems to want to be rocked almost to sleep and then get out my arms *but still stay snuggled until asleep*. I've been managing this through my cold by having a folded duvet on the floor and lying with her there. But it is a real struggle to get her into bed without waking her while lifting her off the floor. Last night I almost lifted the mattress out of the cot, but I'd prefer to get her a real bed and make it all about 'staying in her bed'....But we're going on holiday in September and she'll be in with us as we're visiting pretty much every town in NZ in the space of 2.5 weeks. (I'm not joking, our itinerary includes Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch and Dunedin - plus the husband is also going to Wellington & I'm going to Auckland with him too...) so, I thought - what's the point of making the switch now. But then I think easier bedtime... Let me know

  2. Zenmoo1:16 AM

    Oops, ended comment prematurely... Meant to say 'let me know how the transition goes'

  3. I read the post title as "Trouble with Transistors"! Note to self: Don't read blogs at ~ 4 AM (after feeding baby).

  4. Anonymous3:46 AM

    Beds are often on good sales in July and August. We got ours this time the other year. (We went organic and bought ourselves a new mattress at the same time, I swear I need less sleep now!) We also got ours out of state while we were on vacation/conference... so we didn't have to pay sales tax and they had a reduced rate shipping special ($50 for the whole shebang)...

    Buying a bed can be a big deal. You might as well shop around now, and who knows, you may end up buying.

    We never got around to buying a crib. Here's our transition:

  5. the milliner4:28 AM

    A hot topic round here for us lately too. Just last night, DH says to me 'You know honey, DS will eventually have to sleep in a big boy bed.' The funny thing is that I'm OK with doing the transition. It's all about timing for me. DS has a hard time with people changes. Though thing changes are a crapshoot....sometimes no big deal, spmetimes huge deal. We're about to change daycares in a few weeks. And to top it off, DS' current teacher unexpectedly left. DH wants to move him to the big boy bed now. I want to wait until he's settled at the new daycare. I should add also that
    bedtimes are easy right now, so no great incentive on my part to mess with that.

    But yeah, it's hard not to get a bit wistful about the changes. DS is just in pull ups now at night. We barely use the change table, so I was imagining howwe would re-organize DS' room with it gone. I had to just felt like DS growing up too quickly! So yeah, I've kind of figured out that the transitions are hard for me too. Just have to make sure my thing doesn't get in the way of DS making transitions he is ready to make as quickly as he is ready to make them!

  6. I hear ya! It's definitely hard to deal with these transitions, and I find they are much harder on the parents. When we moved Evan to his own room at 6 months, I kept envisioning him waking up and not knowing where his parents were and then screaming/crying because he was so scared. Yup - not at all. It was like he had been doing it all along.

    Since the vacation is a month away still, I would go for it and do it ASAP. She'll probably love it and it will save you from anguish for another month!

  7. paola5:36 AM

    We moved zoe into her BGB round 20 months with a great amount of trepidation on my part. Hubby is great at transitions that won't effect him personally ( I being the SAH parent did most of the night time parenting except vomit clean up) and so even though I was concerned about zoe waking up and wandering around at night, he was only minorly fazed. My greatest fears were soon realised when zoe realised there was nothing stopping her from roaming the house at all hours. Not that she actually roamed, seeing she made the same route every night, from her room to ours, sometimes up to 8 times at a time. This went on for 3/4 monhs till a light bulb went 'ping' in my head: a railing on the side of her bed. Worked for about a year or so,till she learned to climb over. Still i had a reasonably good run. Mind it didn't stop her waking up, she still did that during developmental spurts, but it did contain her for a while. I highly recommend one if you find you are getting some unwanted visits.

  8. For a variety of reasons we wound up having both crib & bed in the room for a while - which worked wonders for keeping her in the bed. If she didn't stay in her room, it was back into the crib with her. Of course, I was dealing with a totally different problem because this child will only fall asleep if you leave her on her own.

    What about putting the crib mattress on the floor for a while and see if that works? Sort of an intermediate step between crib & big girl bed?

    I recently solved a very baffling problem. My daughter was refusing to sleep in her bed, and instead would sleep on the floor in the middle of the room. Finally we realized that in fact she wanted to sleep *in the very middle of the room* so now the bed is there and she sleeps in it. It was just baffling me because she was so obviously more comfortable in her bed, and yet would choose to sleep on the floor 90% of the time. On the other hand, I still haven't figured out why her sleeping on the floor was bothering me...except maybe as a puzzle?

  9. I feel your pain on the toddler sleep issues - I actually have gotten into DD's crib with her a few times to help her go to sleep. (Sounds loco, I know. Desperate times. The IKEA Gulliver is amazeballs.) I'm scared of the day when she'll outgrow the crib - I seriously don't know how we'll ever get her to sleep if she's in an uncontained space!

  10. Great blog! Glad to find you. :)

    I go back and forth with our little guy about the transitions. He's getting ready to move up to the infant-toddler intermediate room next month, and I'm actually really glad for it. I feel like it's a little overdue, frankly; I've watched him crawl right over some of the little babies laying on the floor in the nursery, and he likes to *hang out* with many of the kids in that room when they have them combined in the AM.

    On the other hand, I've had quite a hard time with him transitioning to table food. He's not as interested in nursing before bedtime anymore, and that just kills me. It's him making the decision to start weaning, which is what I wanted. But the reality of him growing up makes me a little sad. :(

  11. @Zenmoo- reading through old posts to find the one about Pumpkin's transition to a big girl bed, I realized that we went on a vacation not long after she moved to a bed, and that went fine. However, we did try to get suites on that vacation, so she had a room of her own a lot. With two, its just not going to be possible for each of them to get their own room (maybe not even their own bed). So Petunia will be sharing with someone....

    I may be overthinking this.

    @GMP- Ha! I don't know much about transistors.

    @Nicoleandmaggie- one of the advantages of this being our second time around: we'll just go another bed just like Pumpkin's. So this is an easy chore!

    @the milliner- sorry to hear about your day care woes. I hope this one works out well for you! If our bedtimes were easy, I wouldn't be thinking about changing anything. The same was true when I lobbied to move Pumpkin to a bed. For us, the bed made bedtimes easier, because we could snuggle instead of rock.

    @Alyssa- I will say, the transitions get easier (for me, at least) as the kid gets older. Except I anticipate kindergarten will throw me for an absolute loop.

    @paola- even with us both working, I've been doing most of the night time parenting, because Petunia screams bloody murder if Hubby tries to help out. I'm afraid we'll wake the neighbors. Or Pumpkin.

    @Today Wendy- that's funny! Pumpkin has taken to sleeping on the very edge of her bed. I wonder if I moved it away from the wall a bit if she'd sleep in the middle? We don't really have the space to find out, though.

    @hush- I've thought about climbing into the crib. But I'm too big and not limber enough. Even if I got in, I am not sure I could get out!

    @Mandy- Hi! Welcome! I think the one room transition that I was anxious to have happen was baby to "walking babies". Perhaps because for Pumpkin, that transition was delayed by her refusal to take a sippy cup.... ah, the drama.

  12. a day late & a dollar short, but in case it's nice to hear another anecdotal data point: both my kids went to twin beds at 2yo. Both were way, way happier about sleeping once the crib was gone. (No one else we know moved their kids before 3yo, & all thought we were crazy.) One kid still refused to get out of bed & just hollered if he needed something (til he was 6!) & the other had a week or two of jack-in-the-bed evenings, (with polite but boring return to sleep duty split with me & their dad) but then, boom, got the message. The 2 share a bed when we travel, so far, & younger always sleeps the better for it. So the trips are fine, but the transition back to the Lonely Bed is occasionally fraught. Though I'm essentially a sahm, my husband is the better sleeper, so he does more of the night duty than I because he has the return-to-sleep genes. One of the kids has his sleeping superpower & the other has my staying-awake superpower. I'm apologizing to her already for the sleep deprivation she'll constantly fight . . . .

    I have envy for all the travel plans I see here--we're already back in school & starting the crazy extras scheduling. (Apropos of nothing, it's weird to find myself saying, "Only one. You can only pick one!" since my childhood was filled with a dread for almost all organized activities. Where'd they learn to want to do all this stuff?)) Best wishes to all for safe trips.

  13. @eta, it is never too late to comment on my blog! I love comments, even on posts far older than this one.

    Thanks for your data points. I'm hoping that Petunia will be like Pumpkin- glued to her bed despite the lack of bars. But I guess I'll find out. And I'll definitely post a follow up about vacation sleep arrangements after the upcoming vacation.....

  14. Try a rocking crib. The rocking rate can be adjusted just enough for baby to sleep comfortably. At times, baby just wants to stay in your arms.


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