M. Giant's
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Tuesday, May 22, 2007  

Sleep Study

Guess who slept in a big-boy bed the other night? No, it wasn't me.

M. Small's toddler bed is shaped like a race car with a mattress where most of the car would be. His birth mom scored it for us from someone she knew who was going to give it away. We understood that as soon as a kid starts climbing out of his crib, it's time to make the transition to a bed, that very night if possible. Given M. Small's more arboreal tendencies even way in 2006, we were expecting M. Small to start climbing out of his crib at will any night now. What we didn't anticipate was that with the strength and balance to go over the wall, he would also develop the wisdom to realize that there wasn't much to slow him down between there and the floor. Theoretically, he could keep sleeping in his crib indefinitely. And don't think the thought hasn't occurred to us.

However, months have passed, and he still hasn't exited his crib without our help. He can climb in just fine, but once he's there he stays there.

While we were cleaning out some stuff in the garage this weekend, we saw M. Small's toddler bed frame and Trash suggested hauling it upstairs to stick in the hallway outside M. Small's bedroom, just to get him used to the idea of it. It's a big transition, and you need to give a kid time to adjust.

Saturday night, M. Small climbed all over it. Sunday night, while I was getting him into his pajamas after his bath, he asked, "Can I sleep in my race car bed?" He seemed adjusted.

Trash was out that evening, so I explained the rules to M. Small: just because there are no walls doesn't mean you can be getting in and out of bed all willy-nilly-like.

"Okay!" he said in that way he does when he's tired of listening to rules and is really excited to get started. He ran out to wait by his bed, while I pulled the mattress out of his crib. He saw me coming, jumped up and down, and said, "I'll get out of the way!" He did, and I was relieved to discover that the mattress from his crib is a perfect fit for his toddler bed. There might have been an awkward moment or two there otherwise.

So I got him all set up with blankets and pillows, and sat on the floor next to him reading his stories to him while he soaked up the exciting novelty of it all, reveling in his own maturity end exercising the powers of an adult with repeated commands of "read it again!" After a while, I left him to fall asleep. But never for long, because he had taken the rules to heart and kept calling for me rather than coming to get me. He asked for a snuggle in the rocking chair -- a part of his old bedtime routine that we'd skipped that night in all the excitement -- and once that was done, he didn't stay awake much longer after I'd put him down. And then he slept there all night.

We woke up the next morning to find him sitting up expectantly on his bed, waiting for us to get him up just like we do from his crib. Oh, and also for the fulsome praise for his remarkable accomplishment, which was of course more than forthcoming.

He loved sleeping in his new bed so much that on Monday night, he asked to go to bed more than an hour before his usual bedtime. I had my doubts, but the 24 finale was about to start and getting him to sleep wasn't going to be my job that night anyway. He was asleep by the time the second hour was over, but judging from the sounds coming from the baby monitor, it was a near thing.

Oh, and later on he'd asked to sleep in his crib instead, so Trash hauled the mattress back in there by herself instead of asking me for help. Or maybe M. Small helped too. She wasn't all that coherent by this point.

I know where he's going to sleep tonight, though: at his Nana's house. He outgrew his guest crib there months ago, so now he sleeps on a mattress on the floor when he spends the night. That may have had something to do with how well he adapted to the bed.

So now it's only a matter of time before we move the toddler bed from the upstairs hallway to his bedroom, and dismantle the crib to pass it along to whoever gets it next. And then it's only another matter of time before we get him a twin bed, and the next thing you know he'll be sleeping until noon on Saturdays. That'll be nice for me, because I miss getting to do that.

posted by M. Giant 6:57 PM 0 comments


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