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A Sorrowful Goodbye to the Crib
My wife and I have finally taken the plunge and moved my younger daughter from her crib into a toddler bed. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal but it is. To her it is a big deal to be in a bed like her sister, a milestone on the way to being a big girl. To my wife and I, it is a big deal because now she can get out of bed, and she does. A lot.
When she was baby trapped behind the bars of that crib, we were able to get her to sleep. She would cry but eventually she would give up and sleep. Teaching her to sleep has been tough. She fought every minute of learning to sleep by herself. Eventually she learned and was soon going to sleep and staying asleep.
We didn’t worry about her in the crib. We would sit out side her door stressing over if we should go in and get her or to let her cry. It broke our hearts to hear, but at the same time we wanted her to learn to self sooth. But in the crib we knew she was safe, she couldn’t get out and she couldn’t get her head between the bars. Once she started to climb that changed.
Now that she could climb the crib, which kept her contained and out of danger, was no longer safe. My wife and I made the decision to move her into a toddler bed. Now we don’t have to worry about her falling but we do have to worry about her getting out, and get out she does. Constantly. At all times of the night.
Putting her to bed used to be easy. Give her some milk, read a few stories and she was in bed. Now we start the same way but seconds after we close the door she’s up. Maybe she needs to use the bathroom, maybe she is not tired, maybe she lost her doll. It doesn’t matter the reason she is up and bed time starts over.
As a stay at home parent, bedtime is the end of my work day. I get to take a shower, relax, maybe have a drink. Now with bedtime taking an hour or more my work day is longer. Technically I don’t have a boss but I am still getting some mandatory overtime, unpaid of course.
The middle of the night isn’t much better with nothing to keep her in bed, we see my daughter a lot at night. She will come in and wake one of us up, usually my wife (so happy my side of the bed away from the door!), saying “up time?” Sleepily we tell her no and escort her back to bed, where the bedtime ritual is renewed with her multiple attempts to get up and our insistence that she return to bed.
When morning inevitably arrives she is once again right there at the door ready for us to get up. For this we do have a tool to help. Since her returning to bed is not even an option at this point, my wife pulls out her IPad. We downloaded a few educational apps to help our daughter learn her letters and colors. She loves these games and will sit on our bed for a half our or so playing the games. It isn’t long but that half our can be the best half hour of sleep I get all night.
Soon our younger daughter, like her older sister will stay in bed. She may not nap as much, something I also miss, but at least nights will go smoother. Eventually she will grow up and like every teenager want to sleep in. It won’t happen every morning but you can bet a few times I will be at her door at 6:00am saying “Up time!”
Bryan is a Stay at Home Dad from Kalamazoo MI. Every day he he is lucky enough to experience the joys and struggles of raising his two young girls. His older daughter a brain tumor survivor has just started school. His younger daughter is a ball of energy that always keeps him on his toes. He chronicles his adventures with his girls and beautiful wife on his blog www.kzoodad.com. When not watching the girls he plays golf (badly), enjoys craft beer, and working on that book he keeps promising to get done.