I hate the big boy bed. I hate it with the burning passion of three thousand suns.
You know who else I hate? The smug mother who wrote about her baby sleeping 13 hours a night before he had hit toddlerdom. WHAT WAS I THINKING? It's like when I put on Facebook that Griffin was potty trained only to be faced with not one, not two, not three but FOUR accidents the next day.
So, here we are. EVERY naptime. EVERY night. Facing a bedtime battle royale. I'm at the end of my rope.
When we first put him in his big boy bed, he didn't seem to understand he could get out...for about three weeks. Then, he started getting up ... a lot. At first, we just decided he wasn't ready for a big boy bed and turned that sucker back around so he couldn't get out. That worked for about a month. Then, he figured out how to climb out.
Next, we committed ourselves to Supernanny's technique. We would pick up him and put him back in bed and pick him up and put him back in bed. Over and over and over. We caved a few times and yelled. We got in fight ourselves over what was the right thing to do. A couple of nights it worked but what they never show on Supernanny is they might go to sleep that night but they do it ALL AGAIN THE NEXT NIGHT.
I wondered if he just needed more attention. We went for long walks before naptime. We read more books before bed. Nothing changed. I tried to recommit myself. I thought maybe picking him up was too much attention. Instead I would lightly touch his back and redirect him to bed. That worked really well...about three times.
God save me, one night I even spanked him. Something I swore I would never do.
Feeling guilty from going too far to one extreme, we went too far in the other direction and started laying down with him. That didn't work either. He would just chatter and fidget and pull my hair.
We tried to find a currency that would work. We told him if he got up he couldn't watch videos. Five days later, the television and iPad sat silent. We told him if he got up he couldn't have his beloved play-doh. No dice.
On Saturday night, my entire family was over and we all decided to completely ignore him when he got up. He got up and begged and pleaded for attention for about an hour. Finally, he stood at my side and cried for me to put him to bed. I told him I wasn't going to do that because he just got up and I couldn't trust him. He let out the saddest cry on the planet. Then, low and behold, walked his happy butt back to bed and went to sleep.
I thought (and prayed) that maybe that would be it. The next day he actually told us he was tired and wanted to go to bed. We put him in bed and - you guessed it!- he got up.
Maybe we just need to face facts that no approach is going to work in one night or even one week. Maybe we just need to put him back in bed for an hour every night until he's out of this godforsaken developmental phase but I've got to be honest - merely typing that sentence made me want to crawl in bed and cry. I'm not sure I have it in me.
So, here I am Internet, prostrate and begging for guidance. If you have the answer, let me know. If you have the secret, let me know. If you have a sedative safe for toddlers, I'll send you my address!
I don't think I have many of these battles left in me and am hoping deseprately for an end to the war.
~ Sarah Stewart Holland