As a result of my catching the nesting bug, last Sunday we cleared out the room that will be the nursery and moved furniture from one spare room to the next. Part of the "furniture moving" process was to assemble Camden's (free, hand-me-down) Thomas the Train Toddler Bed, and move it into his room so he could get used to seeing it and be something for us to talk to him about until it was "time."
After initially freaking out at the thought of trying to transition him to a toddler bed so baby sister could use his crib, and many talks with my wise mommy friends, I had decided (and vowed) that I wouldn't worry about transitioning him and we would wait and see how we all felt about it once the baby was born. I was (and still am!) planning to keep her in our room for the first three months so really, he wouldn't have "needed" to be out of the crib until mid-August or so.
Anyway, why in the world I thought he wouldn't be excited over this totally awesome Thomas bed is beyond me. Clearly, along with having the worst memory (thank you, pregnancy), I've also entered into a state of delusion. He was over the moon excited and insisted on taking his Sunday nap in his Thomas bed. Rest assured that normally, we do not let our two year old call the shots, but because he was so excited, we figured it wouldn't hurt to at least give it a try.
We tucked him in, explained that big boys stay in their big boy beds, said goodnight, and closed the door. What he didn't know was that Ryan and I were standing directly on the other side of the door watching his every move with our video monitor.
He immediately got out of bed, stood in the middle of the floor, and stared at himself in the mirror for 20 seconds.
It took a few times going in and out of his room, explaining to him that he needed to stay put (and even threatening to put him in his crib which he made very clear that he didn't want to do), but in a relatively short amount of time - he was out. And our jaws were on the floor.
If I recall, it wasn't the longest nap in the history of Sunday naps, but it wasn't a total disaster either. I immediately started worrying about how that night would go and how we would approach the sleeping arrangements. He seemed adamant that he didn't want to sleep in his crib, but I also didn't want my wild beast child wandering the house at all hours of the night. Again, contrary to his occasional beliefs - he isn't the boss around here, but I was very curious as to how it would go down if we were willing to give it a shot. This all had kind of happened organically (yes, I really just said organically) and no where was this transition in my plan. A Sunday afternoon is the absolute last time I would spring a big change like this. Needless to say, I was fearing the worst for that Sunday night and rude Monday morning.
Much like the first nap, it took a few times of him getting out of bed, standing in the middle of his room, and getting gentle reminders from us that he needed to stay in bed - but he was able to fall asleep on his own in a pretty impressive (to us) amount of time. I watched him on the monitor like a hawk, just waiting for him to hop his little self out of bed. This hawk watching continued all night long while my hubby slept like a rock beside me. Guess what? He hardly moved, let alone let himself out of bed.
At 6:15 the next morning (Monday), I was downstairs getting ready for work and I heard his door open. He was so happy and so proud and said, "Hi, Mommy!" We praised the heck out of him, and I chalked the successful night up to a fluke.
I'll spare you the daily play-by-play, but every night since has gone incredibly smooth. We lay in his Thomas bed together and read his stories, I say goodnight and shut his door, go back in a few times to remind him to stay in bed, and then he's asleep. The one and only issue that we're having is that the little pork chop has been waking up really early and letting himself out of his room - ready to greet the day. The earliest greeting came at one 5am when he burst through our door asking to go downstairs and "watch baseballs." Otherwise it's kind of varied from 5:30am - 6:10am. He's always been an early riser (I get him up at 6:30am to get ready for daycare/work), but I'm not even waking up until 5:30am on the weekdays.
Some days have been earlier/later than others, and it's taken some commitment and discipline on our part to march him right back into his bed when he wakes up too early. As easy as it would be to let him climb in our bed or just stay awake - neither Ryan or I want to go down that road. We like having our bed to ourselves and I certainly do not want Cam thinking that anytime before 6am is a normal or acceptable waking hour.
I ordered this to try and help him understand that he needs to stay asleep and in bed until the clock says it's ok to wake up, but someone keeps forgetting (hello, pregnancy brain) to buy AA batteries at the store and so it's just siting there on his bookshelf doing nothing. I'm hopeful that once I get my act together and purchase some batteries, we'll go back to not seeing his little face until 6:30am.
We still have the crib in his room so we can use it as leverage to get him to stay in bed, but we are making progress and it's taking less reminders from us before he's staying put and falling asleep. The plan is to move it into baby sister's room in the next few weekends so we can start talking to him some more about how his world is about to be rocked.
I certainly wasn't ready to tackle this transition, but apparently he was.