Thoughts On Transitioning to a Toddler Bed (Or, how every nap time is now a frat party)

I haven’t written in forever. I’m 7 months pregnant. I’m uncomfortable. I have Gestational Diabetes again. I used to mostly write during nap time and my son has been aggressively flirting with saying goodbye to nap time for quite awhile.

One day back in October, my son was having a hard time falling asleep but I decided to go down to the basement and try to do some writing. He suddenly started yelling and I glanced at the monitor to see that he had managed to swing one leg over the side of the crib and was looking up at the camera in a panic.

We managed to keep him contained in his crib by using sleep sacks for every nap and bedtime. That worked from October until about a month ago, when he regular started wiggling out of the sleep sack and throwing it out of the crib. The sleep sacks were worn backwards to prevent him from unzipping them. I was ready to go that extra mile of backwards AND inside out sleep sacks, but it wouldn’t have mattered: he was wiggling out of them fully-zipped.

By then he was still napping an average of 5/7 days. 3 hour naps. 3 hour naps, 5/7 days.

At first it seemed like he had forgotten about the possibility of climbing out. Until the no-nap afternoon where I watched him sling his leg over the crib rail several times, while looking directly up at the camera and laughing maniacally. That very night we converted his crib to a toddler bed. We braced ourselves for the worst, but all he really did was fall asleep on the floor in front of the door. I cried, but my husband went up to transfer him to the bed and he stayed asleep all night long. He’s gone to sleep in his bed and stayed there every single night. In hoped of getting him more excited about his bed, I got him an adorable quilt and pillow from the recent (very conveniently-timed) sale at The Land of Nod. I know I was supposed to take him shopping and let him chose his own bedding. I tried this, but he really didn’t seem to give too much of a shit. So I picked what I liked. He’s very excited that P is for pillow and Q is for quilt. He’s just not excited enough to actually stay in the bed for nap time and go the fuck to sleep.

At his 2 yr well visit back in February I mentioned that he’d been fighting naps and the doctor recommended I keep putting him down. Sure- I still need the break and I believe very strongly that he does, too. And I love the idea of having nap time as a household policy. The very wise Checklist Mommy does this and after reading her post on the subject, I knew that was something I also wanted to do with my family.

Unfortunately, it has been a very wild experiment in exploration and curiosity. And determination. And toddler-proofing. And furniture placement. And organization.

Before the crib-to-bed switch my son’s spacious, but oddly-shaped room had a Dutailier glider chair, 2 hollow little side tables with removable lids for extra storage, a tall bookcase, diaper pail, tall lamp, laundry hamper, video baby monitor camera, and wide dresser/changing table. All changing paraphernalia was on top of the dresser.

We have made some changes and moved some things and removed some things and moved things and removed more things. My son’s determination and curiosity know no bounds, apparently.

Here is a run down. Please make yourself comfortable.

Before the transition:

– Moved plug for video monitor camera behind dresser because he was already unplugging it all the time.

– Moved Dutailier rocking chair out of room. Replaced with IKEA armchair and moved from inside non-dormered alcove to against the wall, between bookcase and window.

– Put childproof latches on inside of all dresser drawers (This was done as soon as he started crawling- well over a year ago, but still).

– Bolted bookcase to wall and floor.

– Bolted dresser to wall and floor.

– Taped long cord of tall lamp together so he wouldn’t try to wrap it around himself.

Modifications that became necessary after the transition:

– Moved chair away from window and bookcase. Because he was climbing it and hanging from the top of it and grabbing things. And sitting on the arm of the armchair and kicking at the window.

– Moved all extra diaper cremes and other extra toiletries from canvas box on top of dresser and second to highest bookshelf into top dresser drawer.

– Moved extra diapers and wipes packages onto top of bookcase.

– Moved Diaper Dekkor pail out of room and immediately replaced with expensive, steel Ubbi diaper pail after he broke into it and took the bag out (yes, with the childproof lock on the lid).

– Moved brand-new Ubbi diaper pail out after he broke into it and took the bag out 2 days later.

– Moved laundry hamper out after he emptied it every day and ran around with it on his head while yelling, “umbrella!”

– Moved extra storage end table out after he opened lid and scattered its contents (a stash of clothing and shoes in his next size) all over room.

– Removed the end table we kept to stack most-read books on next to his armchair after he repeatedly threw all books on the floor, removed lid, climbed in and out of box, put lid back and stood on lid. At one point with the laundry hamper on his head. The final straw was when I discovered he had been chewing on one of the pegs from the inside of lid.

– Removed rolling cart of 3 canvas drawers after he toppled it, scattered its contents (extra sheets and changing pad covers) all over the room, sat and stood in the drawers, brought the drawers into bed with him and put his stuffed animals in them.

– Removed bag of miscellaneous toys that he appeared to not actually play with, but instead just threw around.

All this and still no nap, (OK, 2 naps in 3 weeks), but more exploration.

More modifications we are contemplating:

– Empty another dresser drawer to store canvas box containing washcloths and another containing diapers and wipes. Because he keeps taking them off the top of the dresser, emptying their contents and wearing them like hats.

– Tape cord for video monitor camera to back of dresser and center wall behind dresser because he can now reach it and pull even though it is plugged in behind the dresser that is bolted to the wall and floor. (OK, this one I am no longer considering and will do ASAP, probably tomorrow morning as soon as I give him his breakfast).

– Consider removing almost all books from bookcase because he now scatters all books from bottom shelf.

– Research possible methods of preventing him from opening his dresser drawers even the 3 inches he can currently open them. (Duct tape? Is this possible?) Because he keeps pulling all his pajamas out. And he started to try to climb the dresser.

Sooooooo…..Comments? Suggestions? Anyone want to come over at 2:00pm tomorrow and every day thereafter?

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts On Transitioning to a Toddler Bed (Or, how every nap time is now a frat party)

  1. Wow you have a handful! My friend insisted her children have quiet time- not naps- once they started getting rid of their naps. She set them up with books and quiet toys and they had to stay in their beds. I’m not sure how she implemented it, but she did. Your son sounds so creative and joyful! Maybe leave the books on the bottom shelf, but have him clean them up every afternoon or evening before bed. It helps teach consequences to a young guy. And mine quickly grew out of the empty the shelf when he had to help put it all back.
    My pediatrician told me that passive tv watching is similar chemically to sleep for a child. I am not telling you to have him watch tv, but it did help me on some really tough days.by the way my teenage boys are 3 1/2 years apart.

    • Haha, thanks! I’m still hopeful that he will keep calming down and as he gets bored with the novelty of freedom he will relax and let himself rest. We still have a few tricks we want to try to get him to stay on the bed- just put alphabet sheets on and he loves them! I definitely let him watch some TV, but usually at the very end of the day, when I really can’t take it any more 🙂

  2. Pingback: My Two Year Old Was An Easy Baby And Is Now Slowly Trying To Kill Me | babies and stuff

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