We’ve had a challenging week around these parts. It seems that with a 2-year-old, we have good weeks and bad. There are weeks that she is an easy-going, fun-loving, delightful little girl. And then there are weeks when she is a meltdown-having, screaming, uncooperative banshee.
This week, we had the latter. Nearly everything was a battle.
Nora really seemed to be trying to assert her independence this week. She started fighting us on things that are completely routine. Getting in her chair to eat. Washing her hands. Leaving the house. Taking a bath. But the one that was consistently a problem–EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.–was getting her out of bed in the morning.
Yeah. I didn’t think we’d be dealing with this until she is in middle school.
But it wasn’t that Nora still wanted to sleep. She was awake, and was given the usual amount of time to “wind up” to getting out of her crib to start the day. She just literally did not want to get OUT.
Every morning, we’ve tried handfuls of different tactics. Distraction. Incentives. Praise. Reverse psychology. Force. None of them were particularly successful. On the days that we removed her from her crib without her consent (so, every morning…after other tricks didn’t work), we were faced with a tantrum-throwing mess. One (two?) of the mornings, she stood outside the crib and screamed for 15 minutes.
After another “episode” this morning, I started to really try to think this through. What’s her problem all of a sudden? I started thinking about how we managed to solve many of the other freakouts this week. And it was by putting some control in her hands. Or, at least letting her THINK she had some control in her hands.
Fighting us to go into her seat to eat? OK then. We didn’t force it. We put her food on the table, and simply said, “OK, Nora. It’s OK if you’re not hungry. But here’s your food on the table. You let us know if you want to get up in your chair and eat it.” Sure enough, within two minutes, she would “ask” (nonverbally) to get into her chair. She ate breakfast/dinner without incident. She just needed to feel like it was on her terms.
Thankfully, we had Nora’s 2-year pediatrician appointment last week (she weighs 26 lbs. now, by the way!) and our doctor spent the majority of the appointment talking to us about behavior and how best to handle the typical toddler challenges. The way we’ve been handling our problems this week have been right in line with her advice, and hey… it’s worked.
EXCEPT FOR GETTING OUT OF THE CRIB IN THE MORNING. Ugh.
What makes this different? And then something struck me. Maybe she’s freaking out because she literally cannot do it herself. Nora cannot get out of bed without us. It sounds kind of ridiculous–and maybe it is, I could be off-base here–but I started to wonder if maybe this is a sign of readiness to make the transition to a toddler bed.
*cue music of DOOM*
I don’t know; this is not something I’ve been in a hurry to do. We don’t have another baby on the way, so we don’t need the crib. She’s not climbing out like a monkey, putting herself in danger. And really, those are the only two reasons I’ve ever heard someone give for moving their kid to a toddler and/or big kid bed.
Michael and I have talked about it. I’ve asked some mom friends for opinions. And I don’t know… we’re tempted to give it a try. I figure it can either go really well, or it can go very badly. And there’s only one way to find out. We have a convertible crib, so it seems like the transition would be as easy as it CAN be… it’s the same bed, but with a different front on it. Worst case scenario, she FREAKS THE HECK OUT and we can just convert it back to a crib.
But man, I’m scared. Right now, she’s contained. When we put her in there, she can’t get out. There are no bedtime or naptime battles. When we’re being a little lazy on the weekends, she hangs out happily in her crib while we doze a few extra minutes. And in the meantime, we know exactly where she is.
Do we really want to uncage the beast??
The more I think about it, though, the more I see the pros and cons. Nora’s just two. She hasn’t fully grasped the art of being a complete pain in the ass. :) In other words, she doesn’t “stall” bedtime. She’s unlikely to get out of bed a million times just because she can (knock on wood). She can’t use stalling tactics like asking for a drink of water, saying she wants one more kiss, or one more story. In some ways, it seems like it just *might* be easier to make this transition with a 2-year-old instead of a 2.5- or almost-3-year-old.
Still, I worry about messing with a good thing. But then again, she can’t stay in a crib until she’s 5. At some point, we have to rip off this band-aid.
Moms, what do you think? How old were your kids when you made this transition? How did you know it was time, or why did you do it? How did it go? Any tips or tricks before we give this a whirl?
AboutI'm Heather. I'm 31 and have been married to Michael for five years. Together, we have two beautiful little girls we love more than anything, and a miniature dachshund who drives us crazy. I'm a full-time working mom who has very little time for my own "stuff" these days, like home improvement, cooking/baking, cake decorating, and photography. Despite the team not making the playoffs since 1999, I'm STILL a Buffalo Bills fan, which I think speaks to my loyalty AND sense of humor. I can't wait to pick up the pace with travel again some day... you know, when we're done being ruled by tiny fists. Welcome to my blog.
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