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Struggles of the Toddler Bed

     The toddler bed is a big transition for any young child.  Usually, most parents don't even have to think about it until their little one has figured out how to climb out of their crib.  That's how it was with our first anyways.  With Baby #3 coming in January, though, we have needed to push Lilly a little more than normal to become a big girl.  The toddler bed and potty training, which I'll post on at some other point, are the two major hurdles that we knew we would have to accomplish.

     I had started the toddler bed with just nap time, still using the crib at night.  I would sit in the room with her until she fell asleep.  Then, I started just sitting outside of her door, until I knew she was asleep.   We then began putting her in her toddler bed at night time.  It seemed to be going okay, for a little while.

     Then, she realized that she could easily get up and play with her toys.  Therefore, we removed everything from her room.  All that is in there now, is an empty dresser (which she just started climbing on today, ugh) and a naked crib.  I figured that since there were no toys, I would not have to worry about her getting out of bed to play.  She would just be bored enough to fall asleep, right?  Wrong!

     Nap times are the hardest part for me.  At night, she only really plays for a little bit before falling asleep.  I feel that a lot of this is because of how dark it is.  Despite the blackout curtains in her room, it is still fairly light, and she figures out things to play with, those particular curtains for example.

     I believe she becomes the most creative at this point in the day.  Finding things to play with is the game, and driving Mommy crazy is the added bonus!  She'll pick the vent cover up, and throw her paci down, way out of Mommy's reach.  Daddy had a great time trying to get it out.  She pulls out her nightlight and plays a game of hide and seek.  She'll move all her bedding to the closet and create a "secret" fort, or she'll just use her stuffed animals (I only give her two, sometimes one) and play house with them, putting THEM to sleep!

     So, I've tried to go Nanny 911 style on her (Is that show even on anymore?)  If you don't know what I'm referring to, it's when you put your loved one down to sleep with a normal routine (songs, stories etc).  After that, you go in her room every minute (or 30 seconds like Lilly needs) and quietly and gently put her back to bed, only saying "Night Night" to her.  You're not suppose to interact with her at all, or show any emotion.  It's said that doing this, the child will either get the idea, or basically get bored with their game, and go to sleep

     Not my child.  She finds it funny, and laughs every time I put her back.  So, I started adding to it a little bit.  When I have to return her to her bed, I say "Night Night", but when I go in her room and she's still in her bed, I say "I love you".  I'm hoping that she will want to hear something more loving, and continue the action that caused it.

Melissa and Doug

     So what to do in between those 30 second intervals?  It's not enough time to go sit and check Facebook, nor is it enough time to even play Words with Friends.  I've found that I can put my two least favorite tasks together.  Getting Lilly to nap, and putting the laundry away.  I put Lilly down, then go fold a shirt or two, and repeat.  Or, you can be more adventuous, which I am NOT, and work out during these times.  Okay, so I may walk the hallway once or twice before I check on her.  I'm sure it adds up when I'm doing it for 20 minutes straight!  You could also really put the spare time to use though, and do, say, 10 sit ups, check on toddler, another 10 situps, check again, and so on.

     Once your toddler finally gets the idea, and doesn't get up as much, you can obviously lengthen the amount of time in between checks.  And then, there's that glorious moment, when the last few times you've checked on her she's in bed with closed eyes.  You think about what you're going to do with that glorious quiet time while she's sleeping.  But, before you know it, you hear a thud, and a cry, and the peaceful house is no more.