On Tuesday (the 13th), we returned "home" to Connecticut. (Yes, I'm behind on my blogs. You'll see why). Oliver and I had such a great time on our 6 week long trip. It was so great to spend extended time with our families. Oliver loved seeing everyone; I've seriously never seen him have so much fun as he did on this trip. I loved having the help and support, and hanging out with all my favorite people. I cannot wait to have them all closer again, when we move back to our real home next year. I'll admit, I was not looking forward to going back to Connecticut. I could have kept traveling the year away until we returned to Iowa.
The one thing I was looking forward to was sleeping in my own bed. Oliver . . . not so much. That Tuesday night of our return, we did the typical bedtime routine, and put him in his crib. He completely went ballistic. He did not want to go to bed, and he was screaming in protest. He never does this. He always goes right to sleep. We are absolutely spoiled by having a pretty good sleeper. But that night, he was not having it. I don't know if his crib now felt unfamiliar, having slept in the pack n play for 6 weeks, or if he just wanted to keep playing with all the toys he missed. I felt like it was just a tantrum, so I let him cry it out. Next thing we hear is a thump, then a split second later his bedroom door opening, and his cries getting louder as he starts running down the stairs. Marty ran to meet him before he fell, given his emotional state. We took him back in his room and soothed him, and he kept saying, "downstairs! downstairs!." So we said no, it was bedtime, and offered to read him another book to calm him down. So Marty read another book, put him in bed, and he fell right asleep, and slept until 8:30 the next morning. Odd. But whatever, we chalked it up to confusion from all the travel.
Did he wake up the next morning, crying for me as he normally does? Only for a second, then he quieted down. I thought perhaps he went back to sleep or wasn't quite awake, so I hesitated for a minute. The next thing I know he has opened his door! He jumped out of his crib again! Same story at nap time. He went down fine, slept for 2 hours, barely made a sound, and opened the door himself. Obviously, this was not a fluke. This was a milestone.
Let me be nostalgic for a moment.
Awwww, just look at him, only one month old, so tiny in his crib, sleeping soundly. I'm going off on a tangent here, but I have to brag about my good sleeper. He went into the crib from day one. This wasn't our intention; we had borrowed a bassinet. But he screamed whenever we put him in it. We were having feeding problems at the time, so I spent a lot of time nursing in the chair in his room, so I just put him down in his crib, and he slept great. We never looked back. He slept through the night at 11 weeks old. I would offer any first time parent this advice: put them in their crib as soon as you can, swaddle, and use white noise. That's why he's a great sleeper. But we also got spoiled by that, because we never had to make the transition between a bassinet and a crib. But now we had to make the bigger transition from crib to bed. I was scared.
The movers broke his original crib, which still makes me sad, because it was far superior than the one we have now. However, we were smart when we bought his new crib, because we got a convertible crib, knowing that we'd be making the transition sooner rather than later. This was a really good thing because we didn't have to go out and buy anything, we simply exchanged the front panel of his crib with one that has a bed rail on it.
When Marty got home that evening, I told him it was time to make the switch, as the crib just wasn't safe anymore. Marty asked Oliver to show him how he got out of his crib. I'd asked him that too, after his nap, and he just kept saying "climbing!" But Daddy must have asked the right way, because he showed him. I was running downstairs to get the camera when he started, but here's the middle and end of it. You can imagine the beginning, he just put his foot up on the rail.and pushed off with the other one.
Then he just dropped to the floor on his feet, easy as can be. Actually, it was much better than what I had envisioned, which was him flinging himself over the edge and falling to the ground in a heap, barely escaping broken bones.
Still, I was not ready for this. Oliver is not a climber, so while other kids starting climbing out before their 2nd birthday, he never showed an interest or even tried. On our trip, in the much smaller pack n play, there were times when I'd see him put his foot up, but he never really tried to get out, even when I put him in there for a time out. I was not ready for the challenges that come with a toddler having free reign of his room and our home. I was not ready for my baby to become a big boy. I know, he's been a big boy for a while now, but the crib really is the last vestige of babyhood, isn't it? Time is moving too fast. Make it stop!!!
Daddy making the change, with Oliver watching his every move. Notice the bink in his mouth (which he is only allowed to have in his bed). So maybe one final remnant of babyhood.
Practicing sleeping in the new bed
Well, it wasn't long before I was hoping that time would just move a lot faster and we could skip the rest of the toddler years altogether. Because this was hard. For the first time since he was an infant, I was losing sleep.
He did remarkably well at night. Went down without a problem, and stayed asleep all night. The only problem was that he woke up early. Normally, he wakes up about 7:00-7:30. The first few mornings of the big boy bed went like this: 6:30, 6:15, 6:00, and 5:25 (and that was a Sunday morning!). Ugh, to say the least, but at least he was sleeping.
Naps were another story. I'd put him down, and he'd lay down with his blanket. Then as soon as I shut the door, I'd stand outside and hear him pop up and run right to the door. He'd open it to see me standing there. So the first day I offered to rock him, and sang a lullaby. Then he went down and went to sleep, but only for 40 minutes (1.5-2 hours is typical). That went on for a few days. Then Sunday, you know, the day he woke up at 5:25, he fought the nap. He opened the door 3 times, after I rocked, sang, everything. Finally I told him he had to take a nap, and that I was shutting the door, but he had to stay inside. I latched the door (a safety latch to prevent him from using the lever door handle), treating his room like a crib, and let him cry it out. I hated it. He cried for 20 minutes, slept for 20 minutes, cried for 20 minutes, slept for 20 minutes, alternating for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, when I had all I could take.
So much for Mommy's free time, or even getting decent sleep for that matter. I was up every night listening for him to get out of his bed, and then getting up way too early. Not enough nap time to write any blogs or get anything accomplished. I had hit rock bottom. I know it had only been 5 days, but it felt like forever (no sleep), and I saw no end in sight. And just when I thought there was no hope at all . . .
The next 2 nights he slept until 6:45. Then that next day's nap lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes after only one lullaby!! We have victory!!! Hooray!! And finally, today's nap lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes (during which time I wrote most of this blog!). Now, let's hope it's not a fluke and that it just took him a little time to get used to it.
So, I'm starting to see the light. I'm sure we'll have good days and bad days, but I know that we'll be just fine, and we can move on to bigger and better things. More specifically: potty training. This is the milestone I thought we'd tackle following our trip. But it's been delayed a few weeks. All the books say not to do more than one change at a time, and I agree. I'm in no hurry, though I think he might be ready. So, after that, we're all done, right? It gets easier from here? Please, just nod, pat me on the back, and tell me, "Of course it does!"