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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Big Boy Bed

In my last post, I talked about how, when I sought support for breastfeeding, it was often just empathy that I wanted. I often act like I want answers, but I often just want to know that other people are going through the same things that I am. And I often act like I have answers, but I really don't. I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to mothering. In this blog, although I often try to post constructive content that sounds like I've found the answer, I really don't have any answers.

I think I'm going to try to post a little more about my lack of answers than about having found them. Because I haven't. If you're looking for some commiseration, come here. If you're looking for answers, well...I'm not sure anyone really has them. It's all about trying out what works for you and coming to a conclusion that's right for your family.

So my most recent drama has involved the big boy bed. Specifically Baby T's aversion to it. There has been a twin mattress on the floor in Baby T's room--his big boy bed--for about a year. Baby T was sleeping in it before Little M was born. But after Little M was born, Baby T went back in his crib and never looked back. Until last week, when this happened:

We had to do something. This wasn't safe, and it was happening in the pitch black, in the middle of the night. I was hesitant to convert the crib into the toddler bed because, well, it was a pain in the ass. I really just wanted Baby T to sleep in his big boy bed and be done with it.

So last Thursday, I decided to try to get Baby T to sleep in his big boy bed. It's not a foreign concept to him. He used to sleep in it until Little M was born. We talk about it all the time. He has gone to bed in it before. But he always ended up in his crib. But now his crib is a death trap and is no longer an option. The problem is that Big T isn't always around at night, so sometimes I have to do bedtimes by myself. That's not so easy with two kids.

It used to be easy, though. I've written about how Baby T used to ask to go to bed, lie down in his crib, and drift off without a word. And sitting in his room with him, lying with him, or singing to him is harder when Little M still has to go to bed. But that's apparently what Baby T needs in order to sleep in his big boy bed. And frankly, although I tend to have a lot of some patience when Baby T throws tantrums or is otherwise difficult to handle during the day, when it comes to sleep, I lose my patience.

So last Thursday, I put Baby T to bed in his big boy bed. He proceeded to cry hysterically for 45 minutes. During this time, I stood outside his door and led him back to bed every time he tried to get out. I went in and sang to him. I sat next to him and rubbed his back. I put up the baby gate on his door and went to the other room and nursed Little M. I cut Little M's nursing session short and put him in his own bed screaming so I could go back to Baby T. I was going nuts. Both kids were screaming.

I'll be honest--I don't want to sit in Baby T's room with him as he goes to sleep. I don't want to sing to him. I don't want to rub his back. If I only had one kid, I would be more willing to do that. I would be more sympathetic to Baby T's need for comfort. But having to take care of two kids at once, my own selfishness takes over. I don't want to instill a habit in Baby T's bedtime routine that he has never needed before. That night was bad. If I could have locked him in his room, I would have. I didn't feel sympathetic toward him; I felt angry. I felt sad and guilty that I couldn't give him my undivided attention as I was nursing Little M and Baby T was yelling hysterically, "I want you, mommy."And I felt angry that everything had changed.

(When I thought about it rationally the next day, I did come to the conclusion that maybe this was a good thing--maybe this was my opportunity to nurse Little M in Baby T's room while I sang to him, which would mean that I could set Little M down in that room after he fell asleep. It is my ultimate goal for both boys to share a room. But I wasn't rational that night. Sleep issues make me very, very irrational.)

Finally, Baby T asked to sleep in his crib. I relented. As soon as he was in his crib, he stopped crying and fell right to sleep. He climbed out about five times that night and Big T had to put him back in his crib.

The next day, I decided to talk to Baby T about his sleeping arrangement. He really didn't want to talk about it. He wouldn't answer me when I asked him questions about his big boy bed. Finally, I asked, "What do you like about your big boy bed?" He replied, "My crib."


So Big T decided to transform the crib into a toddler bed. We just couldn't risk keeping the railing on the crib and having Baby T climb out in the middle of the night, but he obviously wanted to sleep in his crib. I was out during the morning and Big T transformed the crib while I was gone. Apparently it wasn't as hard as I had imagined.

When it came time for Baby T's nap....

He wouldn't sleep in his crib-turned-toddler-bed.

He is now sleeping in his big boy bed.


Rebecca said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh my! Sleep issues are hard! R is in his crib-turned-toddler bed and is used to it now. But he cried the first few weeks. Wanted us to put his bed back together. He still gets up sometimes but he'll usually go to back to sleep ok. Hopefully this new arrangement will stick!

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