Friday, September 23, 2011

Rhys' Toddler Room Makeover: A Big Boy Bed

We're in the process of converting Rhys' room from a nursery to a fun, big boy space. *cries because MAH BABY IS SO BIG!*

I'm a little surprised by how emotional I became over this whole room makeover. It is just that I worked so hard on Rhys' baby nursery . . . it was the project that I funnelled most of my energy into during my pregnancy, and I was so, so pleased with how it came out.

The simple truth, though, was that the nursery no longer suited our needs. For one, cosleeping has turned out to work best for our family. Rhys spends precious little time in his crib, and when I did try to nurse him to sleep in his room in the armchair and transfer him to the crib, the results were usually disastrous. Picture me in the chair in the pitch black dark nursing a wriggling, restless Rhys for 30 minutes or so, he finally falls asleep, I try to transfer him, he wakes and cries, repeat, repeat, repeat . . . until it is 11:30pm and I give up and take Rhys into our bed because now I'M TIRED TOO. And, I'm not ashamed to admit, more than a little frustrated.

We eventually worked ourselves into a routine whereby I'd lay out a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor of Rhys' room in order to lie down with him and nurse him to sleep there. I can't say I'm proud of our arrangement, but the floor had a few big advantages: a) I didn't have to move Rhys once he was asleep, minimizing the risk of waking him, b) there was no roll-off risk like there would have been if he'd been put to sleep in our big bed and c) I was more comfortable (yep, more comfortable ON THE FLOOR than I was in the big Ikea chair). I believe Rhys was more comfortable as well, as he did a lot less restless wriggling on the floor than he had in the chair.

A few weeks ago, I saw this post on a Montessori nursery and I realized a) I wasn't being an ineffective mom, I was, in fact, being MONTESSORI (declared with only a slight trace of irony) and b) I totally should've done this floor bed deal from the get go.

It occurred to me that our existing crib came with a toddler bed conversion rail, and even though, at 16 months, Rhys may seem a little too young for a toddler bed, he wasn't using the crib anyways, so I figured a switch was worth a try.

Guys? Best. Decision. Ever.

I can actually curl up comfortably with Rhys in his toddler bed, nurse him to sleep and sneak out without waking him. The whole putting to bed process takes 20 - 30 minutes max and Rhys has been staying asleep in his big boy bed on his own for several hours, giving my husband and I time to ourselves and time with each other before Rhys eventually wakes up and wants to come to bed with us.

While I'm totally fine with Rhys coming to bed with us at some point in the night (I'm a working mom. Gotta get those baby snuggles when I can.), I do hope that sometime within the next year or so, Rhys will be spending most of the night in his own bed. By the looks of it, the toddler bed may help him accomplish that, since in the week or so since we've made the switch, Rhys has stayed asleep in his own bed a little longer each night.

When he wakes? We have a handy dandy video monitor, so we've been able to observe that in detail. The first night, he sat up and said "Get down. Get down? I wannnttt Getttt downnnnnnnn . . . ." for several minutes before finally realizing that he wasn't stuck. He climbed out of bed, toddled over to the door and tried to reach the knob on his tippy toes, but couldn't in the dark. Thereby we learned to leave his door open. On night #2, Rhys wriggled out of bed without so much as a token "get down?" and toddled out into the living room calling "mama?". Last night was the first night Rhys woke and we were already in bed, instead of in the living room. He sat in bed whinging for a bit, finally stood up . . . and when we eventually called to him in hopes that he'd come find us, he started crying in earnest, so we went in to rescue him. I think it'll be a process, Rhys learning to come find us when he wakes . . . but if the worst case scenario is that he cries, we hear him and we come rescue him, then that's fine with us.

He seems pretty proud of his toddler bed . . . and it has made our lives easier so far. Huzzah!

As you may have guessed, we also removed the big chair . . . stay tuned for further posts on Fort Meyers, Meyers, Inc. and Rhys' new artwork!

How old was your little one when you made the toddler bed switch? How did the experience go for you?

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