I mentioned in one of my recent posts that Jack has now been officially moved to a “big boy bed.”
Although we thought we’d officially moved him several months ago, we had really poor timing. Only a few days later, we left for our two week-long vacation to New York, where Jack slept in a pack-n-play the entire time. When we (finally) got back home, we considered the time change and knew it would be crazy to put him to sleep in a regular bed. There was no way we wanted him thinking he could just get out of bed at 4am California time. In a pack-n-play, he’d simply awaken, realize it was still pretty dark and he couldn’t get out of bed anyway, and then he’d go back to sleep. We liked it like that.
Eventually, he adjusted back to our regular routine, but we had quite a few trips scheduled, along with visitors and other things to tie up our agendas. Neither Ryan or I felt like we had the energy to work with Jack on sleeping in his own “real” bed.
For a few weeks now, I’ve felt that it would soon be necessary to get him into a bed, and I’m so glad we’ve finally gone for it! I feel much more settled because actually, we needed the pack-n-play for its bassinet feature (although Forrest will sleep with us most of the time – it’s nice to know we have the bassinet on hand).
It’s only been two days, but I definitely have things to report. And questions to ask (!).
His naps are shorter. We always rock him or hold him while he falls asleep for naps, so nothing has really changed there (except that now we can lay next to him while he falls asleep). Whereas he usually sleeps from about 1pm-4pm, he’s been waking up around 2:30 or 3pm. It’s not awful – but I guess I’ve really gotten used to his three-hour naps. I can’t say I’m necessarily welcoming this part of the deal.
It’s taking a very, very long time to put him down at night. In the last several months, Jack has been perfectly happy to be put to sleep as follows: Ryan bathes him, one of us gets him dressed, we give hugs and kisses all around, Ryan takes him into his room, prays with him, sings a song or two, lays him in his pack-n-play, covers him with a blanket, says goodnight, and leaves. Jack doesn’t cry – he usually just talks and sings until he falls asleep. It’s actually quite pleasant. Now, he cannot be left alone on the mattress because, well, he’ll get up. I don’t really feel like I can expect him to simply stay where he’s told when we walk out and close the door – wouldn’t that be hard for him to understand? Does anyone have any experience with this? We are assuming that we just need to lay with him as he falls asleep, like we do during naptime, until he fully transitions. The only problem is that it takes much, much longer for him to fall asleep at night. He no longer gets that alone time where he can talk and sing to his heart’s content until he’s ready to fall asleep. Instead, he’s got Ryan laying there next to him, and that’s distracting in and of itself. I’m stumped. I want to teach clear boundaries but I don’t want to be unreasonable. Help!
Finally…he’s getting up much earlier. Now, I really did expect this, along with the above points. It’s not that I’m surprised…just curious. Normally, he begins to stir sometime around 7:30am. Ryan doesn’t usually have a strict work schedule so we often just get up when Jack wakes up. For the last two days, he’s woken up at 6:30, walked into our room (pushing the door open so hard that it slams against our wall), and begins saying “Mama?” or “Daddy?” until one of us picks him up. He’ll stay in bed with us for a little while, but he talks and talks and talks and talks and talks. So basically, we’re all up at 6:30. I don’t think there’s anything I can really do about this, either…is there? I don’t feel comfortable just locking him in his room, and I don’t imagine that there’s anything else that would keep him…unless he understands us telling him that he has to stay in bed. Is that even possible?
I figure that there will come a time when we can explain to Jack that he needs to play in his room until, say, the sun comes up (or something??). I just don’t think he could actually understand that kind of specific instruction right now, and I’m not into forcing him to do something that he is incapable of understanding. The same goes for putting him down (and naps, for that matter). But…again, I do want to enforce healthy boundaries. I just need to find a middle ground.
That’s where you come in! If any of you have ideas or advice, I’d love to know what you think/what your experience was/is!