Exhausted toddler mom here, reporting from the trenches of what should be peaceful nap time, but is instead a whole new plane of sleep training hell. *desperate maniacal laughter*
We took the insane first steps to transition Norah out of her crib and into a toddler bed. You would think this would be smooth sailing considering it's the exact same bed she's been sleeping in since she was three months old. All I have done is removed the front panel of the crib and added a toddler railing to prevent any falls while she slept. This crib is in the same position in the same room she has ALWAYS been in. All of these elements are what lulled me into the false sense of security that this would be a piece of cake because she's a champ sleeper! Oh but then Norah got a whiff of hope in the air and pure toddler madness kicked in...she was like hold my bottle.
Honestly very uneventful! She woke up happily from her afternoon nap and we spent the afternoon before dinner creating her new sleep space. She seemed thrilled to be able to climb in and out of her crib. This should have been my first clue, but again hopeless optimism had me in its grips. Norah helped me picked the new sheets to go on her bed and we got all her stuffies and blankets situated for bedtime later.
All seemed well in Stage 1 of Releasing the Kraken.
At bedtime she was exhausted from a day filled with plenty of running around with Big Sissy. We did bath, book, and bed like usual and she fell asleep without a hitch! Sam and I were downstairs high-fiving like crazy lunatics and feeling like we were crushing this whole raising a third child thing. We were so wrong.
Welp, it's pretty much been a rollercoaster ride since that celebratory first night of "success" because that morning she woke up at 4:30am and felt like it was definitely time to start the day. No amount of returning her to her bed could convince Norah that it was infact NOT time to greet the day. After two hours of this little game I gave up and we started our day bleery eyed (me) and waking up the whole house (her).
Sooner than usual Norah was showing signs of being tired and ready for her nap, understandably, considering she had woken up hours before her usual morning rise and shine. Do you know what happens when you mix an overtired toddler with the new found freedom of a toddler bed at their first nap? Pure chaos. Clothes ripped out of the dressers. Books pulled down off the shelf. Lots of jumping to be heard from downstairs.
How much sleep took place? Zero?
How much hair did I have left after trying all the mom tricks to keep her in bed? Also zero.
First nap was an absolute fail, so I tried again a few hours later and by some miracle she actually went right down. Bedtime that night was equally successful.
The next day arrives and I'm thinking okay, deep breaths, we've worked out the kinks now and TODAY will be the day we crack this egg. Eternal optimist, what can I say! I saw Norah just about every 2 hours on Night Two going into Day Three. It was like we were back to the newborn stage! Clearly, she wasn't falling into RME sleep and was waking up after every sleep cycle. Sometimes she would fuss and then fall back asleep and other times she would wake up wailing. By the time the sun was peaking through the morning haze I was already completely done and the day hadn't even started yet. It was at that point that I started questioning how committed I was to this transition.
Maybe it's too soon?
If I switch back will that hurt us later?
If I switch back have I somehow lost this power struggle with this tyrant?
Will she be in a crib until she graduates high school? (But, seriously?)
This was when I revisited why I had selected NOW to make this transition. Norah is a master climber. She has strength unlike anything I've ever seen in a small child and it's often rather frightening! One morning not too long ago I walk out into the living room to find her monkeying her way up the stairs...not climbing the stairs, no...doing her best impression of Tarzan on the SIDE of the stairwell using the rungs on the banister like monkey bars! Horrified and humbled in that moment. Needless to say, climbing out of her crib would be a cake walk in comparison. Also, when Norah is at her GiGi's every Friday she still naps in her pack-n-play, which she is now touching at both ends when she sleeps. It was time to figure out what the next stage was going to be for her sleeping arrangements. Lastly, we will be embarking on the maiden voyage with our camper in April, so I had four months to figure out what Norah would sleep in or where she would snooze. Her two older sisters called dibs on the bunks in the camper, but regardless even the lowest bunk is still too high for her to safely climb in and out of. We have a pull-out in the camper that I can attach a toddler railing to, so that seems like the prime candidate for Norah's safe sleep in the camper.
As you can see there are a few factors influencing the timing of this endeavor. Throwing my hands up and saying to hell with it wouldn't solve any of those problems and I would be back at square one looking at baby sleep tents and all manner of contraptions to confine her to her too small sleep space. Day Three of this marathon found me questioning my resolve and reading all the articles about sleep training tips during the difficult transition to the toddler bed. Many of my friends volunteered that they had no problems at all with this transition and though I am happy for them I also want to punch myself in the face and scream whyyyyyyyyyyy to the heavens. Anyways!
Armed with a few new tips I dive back into this thang at nap time and find myself returning her to bed what felt like every three minutes for an hour. Finally, I threw my hands up and resolved that when she was tired enough she'd lay down. Eureka, I was correct! Except crap...she decided to take her nap on the floor directly infront of her bedroom door where the baby gate prevents any escaping into the depths of the second floor. Somehow it felt like Norah won that battle... Bedtime on Day Three was easy as pie and I didn't see her until this morning!
Is this cause for celebration?
I think not.
Today's nap was equally hellacious and at this point I feel like I've tried all the things.
I now find myself in the conundrum of having my toddler falling asleep utterly exhausted each night and being a complete zombie all day with zero naps.
Someone tell me that there's is a breakthrough waiting just around the corner.
You'd think being a mother of three I'd have some past experience to draw on here, but my other two daughters are just so different from Norah. She's as stubborn as the day is long and an entirely different beast (literally).
Here's to hoping that by this time next week I will be on of those moms preaching about how "easy" this was...just kidding, I'm too real for that ish...just pray for me.