Mountain View Mommy: Sand, Trucks and Testosterone

February 19, 2007

Big Boy bed

Filed under: Parenthood — by mvmommy @ 7:50 am

For those of you who read Nathan’s Notebook, you already know the news. Andrew has moved to his Big Boy Bed. It’s official. Yes, Nathan beat me to this post because he absconded with all the pictures and refused to share them, similar to the toddlers in our house. (He claims that he ‘forgot’ to do it before he left on his business trip; however, I think he wanted to out-blog his wife! So, if you want to see all the cute pictures… you should go to his blog. He used all the good ones, and I refuse to plagerize!)

In any case, it’s true. We have a toddler who is not fenced in anymore.

I was never planning on buying a toddler bed. I insisted that my kids were going to sleep in their cribs until they didn’t fit anymore – which would be about the time that Justin was ready for a bed. And then both Andrew & Justin would move directly from cribs to bunk-beds. Their shared room is small; thus the plan seemed appropriate considering our space constrictions.

I had already put part of my plan into place – getting Andrew to stay in his crib even though he knew how to get out. A while back, Andrew learned how to climb in & out of his crib at will. He is sort of a cautious little boy, so if he thinks he might fall, he won’t do it. I found if I keep the railing down, he will slowly & safely get out. However, if I had been blogging back then, you probably would have enjoyed many stories on the subject of how we ‘convinced’ him to stay in his bed when he is supposed to – at nap time & bedtime. It was quite eventful. At this point, he has now learned to stay put. So in my mind, we had already accomplished step 1 – learning to stay in a bed. So why did he need one without rails?

We were proceeding nicely with ‘the plan’ until he started noticing that his friends were getting Big Boy beds. During one playdate, Andrew went into his buddy William’s room which had both a crib & a twin bed. Andrew immediately thought that the low-to-the-ground bed with Elmo on it was pretty neat. Though I didn’t know it at the time, he must have been thinking a lot about it, because much later he asked if he could get a Big Boy bed like William.

Now I was in a bind. I had a plan… and I like plans… so I didn’t want to deviate from the plan. However, I am a firm believer in the fact if you see your child wanting to take steps towards independence – you should grab on with two hands and encourage it, no matter what. So, off we went to go shopping for a Big Boy bed.

Who knew that buying a toddler bed would be like buying a formal dining room set – taking 6-8 weeks to arrive!? In a 2.5 year old’s mind, that is almost like eternity! So now, after picking out the bed, laying in the bed, talking about the bed… we had to go home empty handed and wait for it?! We had to fix that in a hurry! So we decided to buy some toddler sheets to bring home, so at least we had something to show for our efforts.

Immediately upon getting home we washed the sheets and put them on his crib. We told him that he had to practice with his Big Boy sheets before he could get his Big Boy bed. He was thrilled! There were baseballs & basketballs on the sheets. And he had his own full-size pillow now. But don’t think that there wasn’t a lot of disappointment every day when I had to explain why ‘the big truck with my Big Boy bed still didn’t come today.’ It was a long 6 weeks.

However, finally it arrived!!!! I went to go pick it up while Nathan and Andrew disassembled the crib. While I was headed home with the precious cargo, I called my girlfriend to tell her about our exciting new phase of toddler freedom (she has a boy 4 months older than Andrew who is already in a toddler bed). I was explaining to her that I didn’t expect much of a problem, since Andrew already knows how to stay put in his crib. So, what could be the difference? She just laughed at me. I was not daunted by her sarcastic laugh, and went on to explain that Andrew asked for the bed.. and he knows how it works. So I am sure he won’t get out. Likewise, teaching him to stay in the crib wasn’t that hard, so surely the bed will be easier now that he is older and can understand better. And further more, we’ve been talking about ‘the rules’ of a Big Boy bed for weeks now that he has his Big Boy sheets. So I think he gets it.

Again, she just stifled a giggle (and I could practically hear her rolling her eyes through the phone) as she responded, “Every mother I know, that has upgraded to a Big Boy bed, has had to put a baby gate on the door to keep their child in. Call me back tomorrow and let me know how it goes.’

Now I was a bit worried. She is right. William always starts off in his bed, but ends up back in his crib at night. And Nate won’t sleep in the bed unless someone sleeps with him. And Wesley had to have the gate on while he ended up sleeping at the foot of the gate, not in the bed. In fact, the ONLY kids I know that transitioned well were ones that are light-years calmer than Andrew. And Andrew is not ‘mellow’.

bedblog5.jpgSo now I was worried. But I figured, Andrew is a rule-follower and there was no turning back now. The crib was disassembled, and Andrew was pretty much in a frenzy to throw his body onto that Big Boy bed. So Big Boy bed here we come!

It was already 1:00, and Andrew was due for a nap. So Nathan got to work quickly to get it assembled. Of course Andrew helped. As soon as that thing had the mattress on it, Andrew was on it like a moth to a flame. He was so excited that he started jumping off of it – just because he could. This was not boding well for our nap. However, we just read some quiet books, explained ‘the rules’ of a Big Boy bed and prepared for the caging that we assumed might have to take place. (yes, the baby gate was oiled and ready)

Sure enough, Andrew did not get out. He went to bed, slept for 2 hours, then got up and turned the light on. As normal as could be. We were thrilled! The only downside to the entire event was that when Andrew turned the light on, Justin was still sleeping & wasn’t happy about being woken up.

So I promptly called my girlfriend to tell her the news – and to stick my tongue out at her (like the 3 yr old I am). She can appreciate this behaviour since we have known one another since we were 3… and she hasn’t really looked at me any other way since that age.

Her only comment was “Andrew is a smart little boy. He is sandbagging you.”

To that, I had to laugh. She is right. He is quite crafty at times. So we braced ourselves. And yet, we put him to bed that night and he went down with no trouble. In fact, after explaining that he couldn’t turn on the lights when he woke up – so as not to wake up Justin – he hasn’t tried that again either!

It’s been a week since we got the bed, and really we have only had two incidents:

Incident 1: Yesterday during his nap, he woke up because he heard Jose outside blowing the neighbor’s leaves and mowing their lawn. Of course he would wake up, what toddler boy could sleep through that excitement? Usually when he wakes, he stays in the bed and waits until we get him. But this time, the call of the maintenance tools was too great for him… he had to come out of his room, slightly disheveled, and still sleepy, mumbling something about going to see Jose and helping him with the grass. How could I be mad? I understand it’s part of his DNA.

Incident 2: Last night when I went in to tuck him into bed, I found him curled up on the floor with his head on top of his stuffed leopard, laying beneath the nightlight. The previous night the bulb burned out, and it frightened him. So I think he might have wanted to sleep close to it, to ensure it didn’t go out again. Again, how could I be mad? He was afraid of the dark and using his leopard as a pillow and as protection!

So all in all, I consider it a HUGE success. Yes, he might be sandbagging me. But if he is, he must be storing up for something great. Probably potty training – which is going nowhere fast.

Frankly, I am glad we didn’t stick to the plan. Andrew has been so happy to go to sleep in his new bed, and now I think Justin wants a bed too! It’s so cute to watch them play on it and roll around together. Mostly, it just reminds me of how fast they are growing up. I guess we can’t keep them in their cribs forever. It sure was nice while it lasted.. but who knew this next phase would be so much fun too!


1 Comment »

  1. I’m glad it’s working out. We have those same jammies, courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa. Hope this keeps up, although the only think I’ve found you can count on with kids is how they change 🙂

    Comment by Nicole — February 20, 2007 @ 3:58 pm |Reply

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