In October, I put Dexter down for a nap and he used his arms to vault onto the cot bars, before swinging his legs over and landing on the floor with the perfect gymnastic finish. If he’d been a participant in the Olympics he would have received a score of 10.0.I was now faced with the prospect of having to transition Dex to his toddler bed, something I just wasn’t ready to do, even though his baby sibling is due in a matter of weeks and we were going to need the cot for them anyway.
I don’t know what it was that was putting me off, but I delayed moving him over for a couple more weeks. The prospect of building the new bed? The worry that he wouldn’t sleep as well anymore in a bed? The concern that he would no longer be contained within his little cage? Gosh, how awful does that sound? I’d heard so many horror stories about the transition to toddler bed being the end of the day time nap and I was scared! I didn’t want to give up those precious couple of hours, I needed them, especially being heavily pregnant.
Eventually, one weekend, I spent some time building the bed and I asked Dexter if he’d like to help me. He wasn’t much help at all, but he loved pretending to use the screwdriver to fix screws and using a pretend hammer on the wood. We had a lovely afternoon with him passing me the bits I needed and the end result was a gorgeous boat bed that Dexter had no interest in looking at. My worries intensified.
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We left the bed set up for a few days in the spare bedroom and pointed it out to him every so often, asking if he’d like a lie down on it. Each request was met with a deafening NO! So, I did what any sane pregnant person would do, and one afternoon I moved the cot out of his bedroom into our room ready for the baby, and moved his new bed into his bedroom. All by myself. Did I say sane? I meant insane.
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Nap time came and Dexter was not happy. We put him in his Antipodes sleep sack (which we had been using for nap times since he started climbing out of his cot as it seemed to restrict him) and left him in his room. He was really upset. He cried quite a lot, but he did go to sleep after about ten minutes. He didn’t sleep well though, and woke up after two hours in a really bad mood, he didn’t want to do anything and just wouldn’t stop crying. I felt terrible.
I was dreading bedtime, but as the evening rolled on, he seemed to chill out quite a lot. We did our usual bedtime routine and when it came time to go to bed he walked with me to his bedroom and got in his bed. Night night Mama, he called as he nestled into his pillow, bunny in hand. Night night darling, I replied and I shut the door behind me, completely bewildered.
The next morning I was woken by Dexter shouting, Mama! Mama! I went to his room and he was sat on his bed with a big smile on his face: Dexter’s boat bed, COOOOOOOL! I guess we could assume he was actually a little bit in love with his bed. I was shocked.
Since that first night, he has gone to bed every night without a problem, and most importantly, he has stayed in bed. We haven’t had need for a baby gate on his bedroom door, or games of in and out of bed while he plays with his toys; he has simply gone to bed each night at the usual time and settled down immediately. Every morning he has called for either myself or his Daddy and waits for us to go in before he gets out of bed. I don’t expect that to last forever, but it has been one of the easiest transitions ever! We have had a few wake ups in the night (what toddler fully sleeps through every single night?) but we have dealt with these with our Lumie Bedbug nightlight instead of putting the big lights on and soothed him with back rubs or by replacing his water.
So, for all you Mums out there who are dreading the transition to the toddler bed: don’t be a scaredy cat like I was; make the move, the result may surprise you! I guess the next step for us is potty training….watch this space.