Right around Halloween, Little Foot learned how to get out of her crib. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place because I felt that she needed to move to a “big girl bed”, but at the same time I didn’t feel like she was ready for one (psychologically). However, she was hopping out of her crib more and more and I was concerned about her breaking her damn neck, and against my gut feelings, I took one side off of the crib to turn it into a day bed.
I made a big deal out of it – I gave her a new blanket to go with it and some stuffed animals to snuggle with. She thought it was great! When nap time came around she laid down and didn’t give me any problems. I thought to myself, “hmm – well that wasn’t so bad”.
Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG! Bed time was the true test. It took two hours to get her to fall asleep. Little Foot kept getting out of bed to play with her toys or wander downstairs to come see us. It was horribly frustrating, and I was having a really hard time not getting pissed off about it. After all, it wasn’t her fault, and my gut feeling was that she simply wasn’t ready for it. But I grit my teeth and told myself that this was a trial period for these things and that I needed to stick through it.
I gave up the next day at nap time. It was a three-hour process that took so long that I had to stop trying to put her to sleep and feed her, which totally ruined the whole “let’s go to sleep” mood I was trying to convey. I decided to put the crib wall back up and that would be the en of my problems.
It was – kind of. Little Foot, however, was still getting out of her crib sometimes. I knew that I couldn’t stop that but I didn’t know what to do. Then something horrible happened.
It was just another day, a day when Little Foot didn’t feel like napping. She kept getting out of her crib and I kept putting her back in, and we went about this for about an hour. I went up to check on her to find her bleeding – her legs, her face, her hands! I totally fucking panicked. She was crying and I was trying to maintain my composure. I picked her up and put her in the bath so that I could find the source of the bleeding. Luckily, it was just her finger – she had cut it on something and managed to wipe blood all over herself before I went back upstairs to check on her. A bandaid and some Neosporin later, she finally took a nap.
It took a few days to find out what she had cut herself on – the whole upstairs was baby-proof – or so I thought. Turns out she had been playing with the little lamp next to my bed, broke the lightbulb and cut her finger. I’m glad I solved that groovy mystery, and no longer have a lamp in my bedroom.
At any rate, the whole thing must have been traumatizing for Little Foot because she hasn’t gotten out of her crib in over a month. Now she does what she has always done, which is wake up and babble to herself until it wakes me up and I go into her room to greet her. I do have the baby gate up at the end of the hall, though, so that if she does escape, she can come into our room instead of wandering around downstairs by herself. Maybe when she’s two or so we will try again with the big girl bed. I’m pretty sure she’ll let me know when she’s ready.
I guess the moral to this story is to trust your instincts and your connection with your child. If you listen to them and are intuitive enough to their needs, they will tell you what they need and if they are ready for the next developmental stage.
And that’s the story of the battle of the big girl bed. Do you have your own big girl bed story to tell? I’d love to hear about it and how you dealt with it!