We didn’t have a choice, really. Once she figured out that she could swing her long legs over the side of her crib and jump down, unhurt, it was all over.
She tested the waters, first figuring out how to fling herself back
in headfirst, but unable to find a way back out again. But then, after a
particularly difficult bedtime routine, I heard her little feet running
on the wooden floors above my head, and I knew she was picking up
whatever toys she could, whatever blankets she could, to bring back to
I tried to ignore it, to pretend like it was not time for what I
knew it was time for. But I couldn’t do that for long. It was time to
transition my daughter to a toddler bed.
I don’t know if you’re aware from all of my complaining or not, but
my daughter is especially challenging. It’s not that she’s bad, she just
requires a lot of one-on-one attention and when she doesn’t get what
she thinks she deserves, she acts out by spitting on the floor. Or
smacking her brother. Or spitting on her brother and then smacking him.
So I was understandably worried about this new step.
The first night, in a fit of foolishness, I decided that I didn’t
have to zip her pajamas up backward like we normally do to prevent her
from undressing and peeing all over her bed. Apparently, in my mind, a
toddler bed meant that she was automatically ready to get out of bed in
the dark and go to the bathroom by herself like her brother does.
Don’t feel bad. My husband thought I had lost my mind, too.
So at 10 p.m., when I checked on her to make sure she was actually
in her bed, which she was, I also noticed she was wet. And her blankets
were wet. And some of the plethora of toys that she’d collected in the
hour or so that she’d been roaming in her room before she fell asleep
were wet, too. And sheets, of course, those were wet as well.
So I made my husband help me clean her up because he’s the only one
who can force her to calm down and sleep when she’s refusing every
attempt I make. He only grumbled a tiny bit about how he knew this would
happen. I appreciated that.
We cleaned her up and changed her sheets and zipped her up backward
in her pajamas to keep her from taking them off again and I snuck
downstairs and left my husband to deal with an unhappy
2-and-a-half-year-old. Luckily he was only stuck up there for a couple
minutes. Otherwise I would probably still be privy to eye rolling and
heavy sighing. Jokingly, of course. Maybe.
So the first night was eventful, but once she was fully asleep she
was fine. Naptime, however, is not so enjoyable. I hear her roaming
around upstairs, running into her brother’s room, running after the cat,
running to find another book or toy to bring into bed with her. And she
even came all the way downstairs while I was on the phone interviewing a
source for the newspaper.
Sorry, source. That noise was me surprised to see my daughter, who
was supposed to be sleeping, or at least pretending to sleep while
playing in her room.
And bedtime, now that she’s discovered the full extent of her
freedom, is equally enjoyable. She likes to run to her brother’s room
and jump into bed with him, or run to the top of the stairs and yell
down at her father and me. Or run after the cat.
I’m hoping that once the newness wears off a bit she’ll be better
behaved about the whole thing. However I don’t expect her to stop
running after the cat any time soon.
That’s just who she is.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on March 27, 2013.