Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Toddler Bed Transition Part 2

     I went through a whole Supernanny stage a while back while I was pregnant with Abigail, super fascinating show that. I learned a lot, but still felt that I had so long before I was ever going to need to use any of her techniques. Well, 'so long' sure came a lot faster than I was anticipating it to. I didn't really have much time to decide how I was going to handle transitioning Abigail into a toddler bed since it happened so fast. I asked around to other mommy friends, but didn't seem to get the suggestions I was looking for, quite frankly, I don't really think I even knew what I was looking for. [I know now that I was really looking for advice on how ensure that she would actually get some sleep while in this new bed since she could climb out. I was afraid that she would get so overwhelmed and excited about the freedom that she'd just be up playing that she wouldn't get enough rest. Also, I don't want her to climb out of bed and visit us in our bedroom each night either, I'd rather do all I can to avoid that habit from forming in the future.]
     So the idea to try the Supernanny approach just came so randomly and instantly as I was laying her down in the toddler bed for the first time. Talk about timing! I really had no idea what to expect, but gave it a shot since I had no other ideas what to do. For those of you that don't know what her method is on how to keep children in their bed at bedtime (I'm also implementing this approach at nap-time), here it goes*:
     Do your bedtime routine, and lay the child in their bed. You sit down near the crib where your child can see you, and keep your head down and do not make eye contact with the child no matter what. Keep an eye out, and each time the child tries to climb out or get out of bed, get up and put the child back in bed. And, whatever you do, do not talk to the child throughout the process, they will learn that you mean business through your actions, not by arguing with them (I also found this to keep me calm; if I had been talking to her during this time trying to reason with her, I would have been saying the same things over and over and getting quickly irritated and I would have given into defeat). Leave when the child falls asleep.
     Watching the show, I saw some mothers go through this technique with their children for hours the first time they implemented it. I watched one mother sit by her sons crib and listen to him cry and scream for 2 hours while she performed the technique. So, needless to say, I knew I was in for a huge undertaking when the idea popped in my head, but knowing that my only other option was to worry each night if she would fall and break her neck, I was so super charged and ready to try this technique. [I know that my other option probably was to just close the door, and let her have at the room until she tired herself out and crawled back into her bed, but I was just not ready to deal with her sleepless nights the next day, nor the crankiness from probably taking no naps either. I was determined that she be a child that knew how to actually sleep when it was nap or bedtime.]

*I will say that while one might exist, I have not seen an episode of this technique used on a child with a toddler bed, just a crib; but I decided to go for it anyway.

Day One:
Nap: Put her to bed and sat at her door. Eventually I just stood at the door because I was getting up so frequently my knees were hurting. She sat there, talked to herself, to me; jumped around; and tried to climb out many a time. She learned pretty quickly that I wanted her to be in her bed though, because each time I got up to get her, she would run back and lunge into the bed, giggling. Gah! She had moments of calmness and laying down, but she'd get right back up and check to see if I was still there so she could get out of bed I'm sure. Eventually she did give up completely, and laid down and napped. The technique took roughly 20-25 minutes (From the time I put her down to her falling asleep).

Bedtime: We visited family in Bakersfield so she fell asleep in the car on the way home. No technique used.

Day Two:
Nap: Put her to bed and sat at her door. She bounced around and talked to herself, and to me. She was being so cute it was hard not to engage in her conversation. She pulled on the blinds on the window within reach of her (mental note: move bed away from window). But, not once did she try to get out of bed! Technique lasted roughly 20-25 minutes.

Bedtime: Same experience as her nap time, minus the blind pulling. She didn't try to get out of her bed once. Technique lasted roughly 20-25 minutes.

Day Three: 
Nap: Sick baby, she napped on the sofa in the living room.

Bedtime: Put her to bed and sat at her door. Several minutes later, I decided I would get my book to read since she was being so good and not trying to get out of bed. I went to get my nightlight from my room, and when I returned she was standing by the door, nervously peering out. Upon seeing me, I didn't even have to say anything to her, she rushed back to her bed and laid down. I laid down at her door with half of my body out the door to read my book, but she could still see that I was there. Again, besides the one attempt, she stayed in her bed the whole time and fell asleep shortly thereafter. Technique lasted roughly 20 minutes.

Day Four:
Nap: Put her to bed, laid at her door and read my book. She stayed in bed and mumbled to herself before nodding off. Technique lasted roughly 15-20 minutes.

Bedtime: Same experience as her nap time. Technique lasted roughly 15-20 minutes.

Day Five:
Nap: Put her to bed, laid at her door and read my book. She didn't even stand up once I laid her down, she just laid there until she fell asleep. Technique lasted roughly 10-15 minutes.

Bedtime: Same experience as her nap time. Technique lasted roughly 5 minutes. I didn't even have time to open my book.

    While I was prepared for a very painful few days or weeks of implementing this Supernanny approach with Abigail, so far it has been wonderfully easy.  Let's hope that this is a wonderful sign of things to come, like say, smooth potty training experience!

Toddler Bed Transition Part 1

     When Abby turned one back in June, she figured out how to crawl out of her crib. Once Grant and I were able to pick up our jaws from the floor, we lowered her crib to the lowest setting possible, and prayed that she wouldn't figure out how to climb out of it for a really long time to come. That long time lasted only 7 months. oh boy!

     Last month Abby figured it out. I had put her in her crib for a time out (side note: YES a time out! Judge all you want, but I did the one minute time out with her several times and it really helped her to stop doing the things that sent here there), and when I went back after the one minute time period to talk to her, she was having a blast running about her room! I was so shocked and baffled that I just laughed and not much time-out discussion took place after that. I think part of that laugh was fearful since I knew that we were in serious trouble at that point. The lowest setting, and she can still crawl out?!

     For several days we just hoped and prayed and I tried not to pull my hair out from anxiety that she wouldn't climb out of her crib and fall at a bad angle and hurt herself (of course as a mother I immediately think of worst case scenario, broken neck). Then she began to wake up earlier and earlier each day, and instead of turning over to fall asleep, she crawled out of her crib and came to join us. Thankfully I randomly woke up as she greeted me at our bedroom door. And then came the midnight greeting. I didn't realize it was midnight at the time so I just picked her up and brought her to bed with us, thinking it was around 5am. It was not, and an endless night of feet kicking me and pushing me ensued. Grant and I were fighting for space on the king size bed all night. I knew that could not continue! Nope!

     That night, we decided to just put her mattress on the ground to see how that held up. After two days, she figured out how to climb out of that. From the mattress on the ground! She's insanely smart! I hooked her monitor back up, laid some blankets and pillows on the ground, and closed the door in case she got out, and put her in her pack n play thinking she might have a harder time since there weren't any slats to help her momentum. That didn't work either. She still woke up at 3am-ish every night crying and screaming.

     So, with much trepidation, we turned to our last resort. The toddler bed. Not only was I not ready for Abigail to be in a toddler bed (besides the whole, she's growing up, and it's too much to handle aspect), I wasn't sure if she was ready (obviously her crawling out of the crib was one sign that she was ready). I mean, she still just does her baby babbling sounds, and while they're increasing tremendously recently, she still doesn't really say any real words yet. She's starting to understand more and more of what we are saying and taking direction from us, which is a great sign. But I can't really explain to an 18 month old that she needs to stay in her bed all night long, yes I know that you can now freely get out without any difficulty or pull-ups involved, but still view it as a crib, and pretend you're locked in tight, and stay there all night. Also, potty train yourself while you're at it! I just felt it was such a difficult thing to expect her to understand at this stage.

     But with no real safe options left, and my blood pressure rising each evening as I stared at the monitor all night long, I knew we had to do it...

     Our toddler bed transition experience to follow.
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