At first, this may not sound like such a big deal. Sleeping is sleeping, right? Wrong! When you’ve got a little two-year-old who sometimes wails because she doesn’t want to go to sleep, or who wakes up five times in the middle of the night crying, or who engages in the practice of crib-side bouncing to help her calm down, this is quite a big deal indeed.
As I was thinking about letting her sleep in a bed for the first time, I had all sorts of doubts. What if she protests going to bed? What if she wakes up and comes into our bedroom? What if she’s scared about the big space she’s suddenly sleeping in? The possibilities of things that could go wrong seemed endless to me.
For something so significant, I needed to mentally prepare Celia so she could handle the challenge. Over a month ago I started preparing her. “You know, Celia, when you turn two you’ll get to sleep in a full-sized bed. Did you know that?”
Celia was quiet when I shared this information with her. But I continued non-stop, every single night before putting her to bed, explaining that when she’d turned two and we’d moved into our new house, she’d get to sleep in a bed instead of a crib.
Oddly, she never did give me any sign that this information was sinking in. But when the day finally came, when Michelle and I finally scrapped together the energy and time to put the bed together a week after moving in, Celia was utterly thrilled that night.
“Look, Celia! This is your bed!”
Celia’s eyes lit up and she bounced onto the lower bunk. Then, she climbed up the ladder to the top bunk, smiling all the way.
“You get to sleep in your new bed tonight!”
Celia bounced and crawled around exploring every corner of her new bunk bed. I secretly became quite worried that she’d never be able to sleep with all this new excitement. I was shocked when she crawled under the covers without me asking, and that was it. I kissed her goodnight, turned off the light, and left the room.
I went downstairs and instantly felt completely uncomfortable. What if she woke up? What would happen? Would she just walk downstairs, or would we hear her cry? What if? What if? I had fifteen different scenarios playing out in my head.
But nothing awkward happened. Nor did anything happen the next night, or the next one either.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Maybe it really is this easy? It feels so odd. I’m keeping the crib around in her room, in case she digresses. You never know, maybe she’ll suddenly have one of those nights where she’s out of control again. I mean, she may be two now, but she’s not that much older than a few weeks ago. Not to me, anyway.
For now, it looks like she really has progressed. And for all the worry, I’m secretly hoping this will end up being a truly good thing for me and Michelle, in particular on the weekends. When she’s sleeping in the crib, if Celia wants to wake up she has to cry so we can lift her out. On the other hand, in a bed, there are no bars to restrain her. All she has to do is get up.
Just picture it. It’s 7am on a Saturday and Michelle and I are still asleep. Of course we’re asleep, because we’ve just had a smashing amazing party the night before. Celia wakes up. Looks around. She rubs her eyes, crawls out of bed, and walks over to her toys. Slam dunk! She then spends an hour puttering around quietly while her Mom and Dad snore away.
Ta-Da! Everybody’s happy. All I need is my daughter to participate in my little plan, and we’ll be set.