Monday, October 7, 2013

Moving Up to the Big Boy Bed

JJ is great at a lot of things.  He talks amazingly well for his age, he's smart as a whip, and he can swing a bat like a pro.  However, sleeping has never been his strong point.  In fact, although he has had a few decent spells, he has pretty much sucked at sleeping his whole 22 months.

One of his issues is that he doesn't sleep through the night.  He almost always wakes up sometime in the night.  Usually, we just bring him in to sleep with us and he goes right back to sleep.  I used to fight this and try to take him back to his bed- which I could do about half the time without him waking up again.  Finally, I gave up the fight and now he just finishes the night with us.  Most of the time, this is okay.  Other nights, I wake up feeling bruised and beaten from getting kicked and trampled throughout the night.  In the end, I've decided to just enjoy the time I can be close to him.

Issue #2 has been going to bed.  Again, we've had a few okay phases where I can lay him in his bed and he'll go to sleep, but we've done 12 different kinds of sleep training and it has been a never ending battle.

Lately, when I take JJ to bed, I can't even lay him down.  He immediately stands up in his crib and grabs on to me for dear life.  He cries like he is going to die if I leave the room.  I've tried all the tricks and advice like reading a book in his room, sitting in his room, and even reaching through the slats to rub his back to soothe him.  I even checked out books from the library about going to bed (which he really loves, but I'm not sure were real helpful in the whole going to bed process).

In the end - nothing worked.  He would scream bloody murder every single night.  Granted, once I left the room, the crying usually lasted all of 10 seconds on a bad night, but it absolutely killed me to walk out of that room with him screaming and reaching for me after I had to rip my skin out of his grasp.

So we decided to do what sounded like a really bad idea - take the front off his crib and turn his bed into a toddler bed.  This would give him a lot more freedom, and quite honestly, this was a milestone I wanted to push off as long as possible.  But I figured at least I could lay in the bed with him to help him get to sleep.

But as every parent knows, when you are at your wits end, you try anything, even stupid things. Turns out, this stupid thing has worked surprisingly well.

We played in his room right after we took it off and he absolutely loved just sitting on his bed and playing. At bed time, I took him in and he laid down.  Yes, laid down.  I was in complete shock.  I actually left the room immediately.  He laid for a few minutes and watching him in the monitor was hilarious.  He would get up occasionally - to do what I'm not sure- but after just a few seconds, he would return to his bed and lay down again.  Eventually, he did cry for me at the door, so I laid down with him for just a few minutes while he drifted off.

In the middle of the night, he woke up, walked out of his room, and for some reason went to the gate at the top of the stairs.  We hollered for him to come to our room, which he did, and we all went back to sleep. Not perfect, but at least I didn't have to get up to go get him out of his crib.

Since then, I haven't even had to lay down with him.  He even laid right down and went to sleep for nap which is usually an even bigger struggle.  Plus, he loves to play in his room now and often just sits on his bed and plays.

Will these awesome bed times last is yet to be seen, but here's to enjoying a few screamless, peaceful bedtimes.

The JJ Project - transferring to a toddler bed

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