My husband and I went away for a few days a couple of weeks ago. We left the LM with my in-laws as we always do when we travel and he has the best time with them. When he was back at home we tried to go on with our normal routine but the LM wasn’t acting like himself. He was crankier then usual and he was not sleeping his regular 12-13 hours. He was waking up during the night screaming his face off and was not going back to sleep without someone coming in to console him. This is not our normal routine. We never go into his room during the night. If he wakes up we give him a few minutes to cry it out and then he always falls back asleep. Well this madness went on for two weeks before I emailed my pediatrician and asked what was going on?! He told me that the LM must be having separation anxiety and I should not have gone in to his room during the night. I “broke my contract” with the LM. I was pretty distraught to hear this as I worked very hard to get LM sleeping through the night when he was a baby and have not had any issues to date. So I followed the doc’s orders and let him cry the next night when he woke up. Then the following night he didn’t make a peep…followed by an evening of him waking up 5 times in one night but again, I did not go in.
Then the inevitable happened…two nights ago he awoke at about 1am. I still have a baby monitor so I turned it on to see what was happening because he had been crying for 45 minutes straight. After a lot of screaming and a face full of tears he threw his foo foo onto the floor. I thought this is it. He’s not going back to sleep for the night. Well boy was I in for it…as I watched him on the monitor he held onto the rail of the crib, climbed up with his little Spiderman legs and did a summersault OUT of the crib onto the hard wood floor. I made a mad dash into his room to make sure he was ok and then had my husband put him back to bed as I was too shaken up. I called good ol’ Doc G the next day and he told me since I’d gone a few nights without going into his room LM figured he better go and find me. He then told me, its time for a big boy bed. Um, my child is not even two yet! Is this normal? From what I read online…totally. I had asked Doc G if I should use the net that they sell to put onto of the crib so that children can’t get out and he said “if you want to put your child in prison”. I said, no. No I do not want my child to be in prison. I’d like him to live a normal life! Then I said we have a room with twin beds but it’s on the main floor of the house. Is that OK? And should I baby proof the door handle so he can’t get out? Yes that’s absolutely ok and why don’t you just hand cuff your child to the bed? He said. Oh Doc G. His point: train your child to understand the bedtime routine as a normal person would go about it. If he gets up and walks around and doesn’t sleep, so be it. Eventually he’s going to be so tired he’s going to go back to bed but you need to let him figure it out. He also explained we need to make it a fun and exciting experience for the LM by using sheets with a favorite character, stuffed animals that he’s attached to, reading stories and creating a fun room for his “big boy bed”.
To start we put the LM down in the twin bed on the main floor for a nap. We brought in his stuffed frog animal and tucked them in together. We read a few books and had a chat about sleeping in a special big boy bed. He slept for two hours and did not get up or out once. At night we put a mattress on the floor in LM’s room and cozied it up with his frog, sleep sheep pillow and a very yummy blanket. It took LM about 20 minutes to fall asleep while I waited by his side and then we didn’t hear from again until 5am….at which point he screamed so loud I thought he would be without a voice in the morning. We stuck to our guns and did not enter his room once. We believe he fell asleep on the floor around 5:45am and later woke up for good at 6:30. Not too shabby for his first night where there was such a major change to his routine.
I’ll tell you this…it’s going to take a little while to make this adjustment along with a boat load of patience…feels like he’s a baby all over again, but he’s not…he’s growing up and becoming a big boy. Oy!