By the time he was Zella’s age, Ezra was already sleeping in a crib in his own room. No such luck for Zella (or, more to the point, to her light sleeping mama), who has been in a holding pattern in a bassinet in our room until Ezra vacates the crib for her.
In my mind there was going to be an orderly chain of events in which Ezra moved into a big boy bed and Zella into the crib in their now-shared room. Easy. But when it came time to actually begin moving Ezra into a big boy bed, I had no idea where to start. I had the bed: a hand-me-down wood frame and new mattress lovingly donated by Sandy’s cousins. I just didn’t have a plan.
We decided to start with a mattress on the floor. (Translation: the screws to put the bedframe together got lost, so instead of making the decision, we just did the only thing we could). After a few days of just using the mattress as a nice low couch, it occurred to me that Ezra wasn’t going to spontaneously start sleeping there. “This is your new bed!” I told him. “Boo beh!” he replied.
Our first three nap attempts ended in various kinds of defeat, most involving Ezra standing in the middle of his room wearing rainboots and yelling. On the fourth day, he slept. Hilariously.
Then, one night last week, after Ezra had eagerly, if ineptly, napped in his new bed for a few days, and after his Grandma Amy had come over with the downright amazing monkey quilt she made for Ezra’s birthday, Sandy decided to try to put him down for the night in the new bed. After a few minutes, his typical conversation with his bedtime companions began to get louder. Then it started to sound a little hysterical. Then he began knocking on the door.
I went into his room and found him quickly getting more and more awake. “I think you need to go back in your crib,” I told him, gathering up his monkey team and blankets and heaving them in. As I lay him and Popo down in the crib, he kind of sighed with relief at being sent back to the minors.
The next night, though, when I tried the crib, he was over it. With renewed conviction he pointed at the new bed. “Boo beh!” he demanded. New bed. So we tried again. Within minutes the volume rose and the knocking began. Back into the room I went, planning to do the same as the night before. But this time, as I threw the monkeys into the crib, he clung to Popo and flung himself facedown on the bed. So I decided to give it one more try. This time, it worked, and my little man slept the whole night in his big boy bed.
We’re still working out the kinks, though. Our whole gameplan has consisted of letting him wander around in there until he reads or plays himself to sleep. So, of course, he immediately figured out how to open the door and walk out into the hallway. The doorknob is now childproofed, but now he’s started sneaking all sorts of noisy, musical toys in there with him, so he can get recharged when he starts to nod off.
After almost a year of delightfully dependable sleep, and a few months of magically quick bedtimes, he’s now taking a long time and a lot of attention to get to bed, and waking up in the middle of his naps. It’s coinciding with a bad sleep stretch for Zella, and the net result is that I’ve felt more tired this week than I have since Zella was born. But change comes fast. We’re building the bedframe this weekend, and maybe some morning soon Ezra will wake up to find Zella dozing across the room from him in her boo beh.