I must blog about this, for my own sake with future children so I remember what worked and what didn't. About a week or two ago, Calvin decided that he no longer wanted to sleep in his crib. Hiking his leg over the side and climbing out more than a dozen times before I finally gave up. It was funny to me that he actually climbed out once before about a month ago, but he must have forgot he knew how to do it for a couple weeks, because he would stay in his crib anyway.
Then the day came. He didn't want to be a baby anymore. I say that part jokingly, but I do think that that may have been part of it. Even though he isn't even TWO yet. He's already all about wanting to do things the way we do. Like a big boy! :o
So, desperately I posted statuses on Facebook related to this new development. The advice was welcomed. It's funny, because I heard a whole host of opinions. Some people thought I should just skip his nap altogether. Some people said to just shut the door and let him play independently and quietly for awhile, since you can't force him to sleep anyway. Others suggested stronger discipline techniques, like time-outs and consistency in regular bed times. I found all these comments very interesting. It really showed through what styles of parenting people are into.
It became apparent to me very quickly that the transition to the big boy bed was inevitable, as much as I feared him to be free to roam. Dan and I did consider some advice like putting a crib net over the top of the crib and even sewing a triangle piece of cloth between his legs of his sleeper, so that he couldn't spread his legs far enough to hike it up over the side and then climb out! (J/K)
I think it really came down to "what is the core issue here?" and for me as a parent I determined that he still needs his naps and regular bed-times. Keeping him in his crib in such restrictive ways was not really a teaching moment for him, it would only enrage him. Plus, I think he's old enough to transition.
So one day I made sure everything was baby-proofed in his room and simply shut the door and listened. Before I left I tried to read him a book in bed and made sure that I told him it was time to go "night-night". For awhile I could hear him playing with his toys and walking around. That went on for quite awhile maybe a half an hour or more and then all of a sudden...quiet. Judging by the sounds I heard I think he had fallen asleep on the floor near the door. About an hour later he got up and started knocking on the door. I opened it up and there he was, proud as a peacock!
Now, I do this everyday, although I adjusted his nap time from 1pm to 2:30pm since it didn't seem that he was that tired at 1. Everyday he takes a good nap 2 hours or more in the afternoon. After about 20 min. or so of playing quietly in his room he lays down with his blankie and pillow and takes a nap! Bedtime is similar, although we have a little routine where Dan and I lay down with him in his bed and read a couple books or sing and pray. He usually doesn't stay in his bed after we leave, but 10 or 20 min. later all's quiet on the Calvin front :) Sometimes we have to go in there and put him on his bed, if he's on the floor, but now he gets in the bed by himself most of the time.
I really attribute his ability to go to bed independently to the "Baby Wise"(Ezzo) program we did with him since he was a tiny baby. He soothes himself and falls asleep with little to no crying. And we don't have to be there for him to fall asleep, which actually makes things A LOT easier on us as parents. I think overall, you find your way as a parent. I'd say that he was totally ready for this transition. Maybe more than his Mom was, but it turned out to be a lot less scary than I thought it would be for me. Of course we still keep a gate on his bedroom door in case he ever gets it open :)
So Congrats to Calvin on this new milestone! You really are my big boy now.