If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been slightly anxious at the prospect of transitioning to a toddler bed.
What once was the safety enclosures of a cot now provides accessibility.
To explore their bedroom. At all hours.
It’s a step to knocking down walls and widening the boundaries.
Parenting is like running a cross country track. Your body is in a state of shock for the first set of paces. But as your heart-beat catches up and your muscles relax into the new routine, you feel a sense of elation.
A sense of pride.
I’ve cracked this.
And I feel good.
So you continue along at that pace, comfortable in your stride.
That is, until you come to a steep incline.
Your muscles burn.
Your heart pounds.
And your breathing increases.
You have a new stage for your body to adjust to.
But you do. And once you’ve got to the top of that hill. And you’re back at your steady pace.
Again comes the elation. The sense of achievement. You got this.
Very much like parenting.
You think you have one stage cracked. And you adapt to that new routine, trundling along.
Until the next one rears its head.
Easter Weekend was another game changer in our household.
We stayed the night in a hotel on a trip to Nottingham. This obviously involved all three of us in one room. With a Travel Cot.
Throw in the excitement of sharing a room with her parents, the sugar high from Easter Eggs, time spent with cousins and Family-Friendly-Pub-Cheesecakes, The Little Lady was on a mission.
You see, she’d previously hung one leg over her cot bed at home.
And I’ve been worried for some time now.
There’d been the instance of the entire contents of her cot-bed emptied onto the floor.
Was she creating a soft landing in which to climb out and dive upon??
Or would she pile them up on the inside and climb on top of them?
Maybe she would work out that if she used her upper body strength, she could lift herself onto the cot-bed rail and swing the other leg over?
Or am I overthinking this??
The Little Lady is a climber. She’s also an explorer – and mischievous. Not bad qualities to have at all – in fact they’ll do well to see her through life.
But my god from a parent’s point of view, they do test you!!
So as we tried to wrestle our freakishly strong toddler into the travel cot, we were met by a turmoil of screams, cries and that oh-so-famous plank-like-position that little people do in protest.
In fact, on this very same trip, it took TWO of us, yes two fully grown adults, to strap her into her car seat. Who needs a gym when you spend your days resisting a two year old??
When we eventually managed to get her into her travel cot, we both quickly dove into our bed and hit the lights and turned the sound down on the TV.
On my last trip with her in a hotel, I was alone and resorted to hiding in the bathroom with wine while I waited for her to settle.
For some reason, the bathroom party didn’t enter our heads this time.
Maybe because we hated to admit that we were too exhausted to even attempt that.
As we lay there, a shadow appeared at the top of the travel cot. The figure of a small human draping one leg casually over the top.
Followed by a few grunts.
And the inevitable happened.
She’d somehow managed to pull herself up, swing the other leg round and that was it.
The small human had made her bid for freedom. And oh how she giggled in amusement as she ran wild around the hotel room, super proud of herself.
Needless to say, it was a long evening of trying to calm her down and put her back in.
I cuddled her in with me for a bit which went against everything I’ve done since she was born. I’ve refused to let her co-sleep. I know it works for others but it’s something I’ve never done and we’ve survived well without it. I don’t want to start habits like that now.
Eventually, we managed to coax her back into the travel cot before jumping into bed.
The lights were out and the TV was off – all by 9.30. We both lay there still, daring not to move for fear that she’d stir and try and make good her escape again.
Then we all fell asleep. How wild. Good Friday night and the OH and I were in the land of nod by 10pm. A far cry from our pre-parent-days when the party would just be getting starting now. Somewhere in Whitley Bay or Crammie Village.
It was a blessing that we went to bed so early as we were evacuated at 5am by the fire alarm. When there was no fire. A story of which is so ridiculous that it is probably best told some other time.
Upon our return home the following day, we went to put the Little Lady into her cot bed.
Where she promptly remembered her actions from the previous night and swung a leg out of the cot and lifted herself up.
The decision had been made for us. Get the rails off that cot bed and get them off now! We’re finally transitioning to a toddler bed.
We initially took one side off that night, which is just as well. When it came to converting it to a toddler bed the next day, it was a bigger job than first thought.
It was tough tying to coax her to stay in bed. She wanted to explore. And there were tears and tantrums as we left her room.
But we persevered. We sat downstairs and I winced as I heard the stomps and the thuds.
I drank some wine. And ate some pizza while watching Saturday Night Takeaway (the one without Ant – sob!)
Then, as the stomps ceased and the noise faded, we crept upstairs.
And found that she’d put herself to bed.
It had been a frustrating and exhausting weekend to that point, but that all dissolved when my heart actually burst with pride. My little baby and had found her way into her bed and pulled the covers over herself.
Something so small and trivial, yet something so big and meaningful when you’ve been battling with a challenging toddler.
I placed some rather large cushions on the floor next to her bed and we left her.
She fell out of bed not long after. We were straight upstairs upon hearing the thud.
But she was just lying there, curled up amongst the cushions, still sleeping.
I scooped her up, kissed her, and put her back to bed.
She fell out of bed a further four times that night. It didn’t wake her, she went straight over as soon as she was back in bed.
I took to asking fellow mam’s for advice on the falling out of bed. All ranged from cushions on the floor, to rolling a towel into a sausage like shape and tucking it under the sheet to a rail that can be bought from Ikea and attached to the side of the bed. (FYI cushions seem to be working for us at the mo).
The following day was Easter Sunday, and the OH took her cot bed apart and built her new big girls bed from it.
Another hurdle to then conquer was the afternoon nap.
Rather than get in bed, she spent her afternoon naps on Easter Sunday and Monday turning her room upside down, emptying drawers and pulling items out of her wardrobe.
The OH had to whisk her off to soft play so I could regain some control of the unruly chaos of her bedroom.
And with this change in bed comes a change in routine.
It’s been a tough week of trying to get her to stay in her bed when we go to put her down.
There’s the bath time. Then there’s changing into pj’s. Followed by reading several stories.
All of which are very demanding to start with when you have a little person who doesn’t listen and refuses to get out of the bath and into their pjs’.
Sheer and utter frustration.
And then the attempt of tuck and run, securing the baby gate on her door as we flee and make our own bid for freedom.
She’s advanced to the gate and cried as we’ve left her there.
But we’ve tried to be cruel to be kind, which has been the motto from day one with sleeping.
We left her.
The old routine would see us leaving her to whinge in her cot anyway and she would soon settle.
It was just now that we left her at the baby gate at the door.
And there’s been instances of going upstairs and she’s still not in bed or she’s jumping out upon seeing us.
But we’ve had to be stern.
Which she seems to be learning from.
It hasn’t been as bad as I anticipated as I expected hard work. It’s just adapting to a new routine and new boundaries that are being pushed.
But my god it’s frustrating.
There have been tears and tantrums.
And that’s just me.
Albeit there’s a struggle and we inevitably fall out. As she just … doesn’t … listen. Argh!
But when she’s finally passed out asleep so innocently in her big girls bed, my heart melts and bursts with pride simultaneously. This tiny 5 pound baby is now putting herself to sleep in a big girls bed.
Where have the last two years gone?
Such a short space of time in which so much has already been accomplished.
It’s the next stage I’m dreading (but haven’t I dreaded them all haha)
I’m not forcing that one. All in good time.
So for now, we’ll just keep our cross country pace steady in this new routine. Until Ella leads us round the corner and up the potty training hill.
Love Missuswolf xxx