A few weeks ago I got the asinine idea to transition Olivia to a big girl bed. I even began to romanticize the idea a little bit as I looked longingly at the Pottery Barn Kids website at the gorgeous and college-education priced bedding sets. I thought, hey, maybe it won’t be so bad. Then I realized that this is Olivia. Her five-year plan is to ensure that I never procreate again. Why would she ever go about something easily and willfully? There is a reason why your pediatrician will encourage you to keep your children in their crib as long as possible and here I was willingly deciding to disregard medical advice and do something that deep down I knew I would regret.
It was necessary. Sort of. She had climbed out once and was swinging her leg over on the regular. Not to mention she was waking up anywhere from two to five times a night needed to have her blanket tucked over her or have pacifiers put back into her crib as they fell out throughout the night. This is where a reader might say “well take away the pacifiers!” to which I bid you come to my house and do it. I fear the demon that will be unleashed the day we have a pacifier fairy or some other mythical creature come to whisk those things away in exchange for some toy that I can only imagine she will spike to the ground in fury. Anyway, I digress. We had to put her in a bed. It was time. Kind of.
The first few days I seriously felt like I needed to breathe into a paper bag during nap and bed time. I was having some major flashbacks to her unsuccessful sleep training for basically her entire infancy and wasn’t quite sure I could actually handle this again. In the beginning I felt badly for her. She actually whimpered on the first day and asked for her crib back. Given how horribly things were going I was inclined to oblige her. But we pushed on and thought it would ultimately be worse to introduce the bed only to revert to the crib.
The night is where she shines and my hopes and dreams of a few peaceful hours before I fall asleep, die. In the semi-darkness of her cozy room she reads books, hides behind her glider chair, lines up her pacifiers and sings to them, practices jumping from her bed to the floor, and kicking the shit out of her headboard so that the THUMP THUMP noise reverberates throughout the entire house.
It could be worse. She could be opening the door to her room and running downstairs, outright refusing to even stay in her room. Knock on wood, that hasn’t happened yet and even if it did I’ve got that second-time mom wisdom that would have me throwing a childproof lock on the inside of her door so fast she’d choke on her pacifiers. No, instead she prefers to spring from her bed the moment the door is shut and proceed to trample around her room like an entire herd of elephants crossing the Serengenti. I do not understand how a 27 lbs. girl can make so much noise. She is freaking loud.
The advice of many has been “Oh, just let her be! She will fall asleep eventually!” So we’ve gotten away from running upstairs each time she hops out of bed and instead sit downstairs trying to eat our dinner and make adult conversation. We eat our food, taking aggressive bites and chewing with purpose, exasperating with each look at the monitor. We try to have a normal conversation as chunk of drywall fall onto our plates from Olivia’s stomping. Joe is better at this than I am as I have a tendency to stop mid-sentence and yell out WHY WON’T SHE GO TO SLEEP?
She is exhausted. I can look into those blue eyes of her and see that she wants to sleep. Truly, she does. But because we have told her it’s time to go to sleep and are forcing her into that bed she’s refusing to on principle. Her stubborn streak runs incredibly deep. I’ve tried bribes. I’ve tried threats. She smiles at me knowing that I am her bitch and we work for her. Does she fall asleep? Um, eventually. That “eventually” meaning one to two hours later when I cave and give her NyQuil. Okay, totally joking. I have never drugged my child to get them to sleep. Have I thought about it? Absolutely. Would I ever? Only if my pediatrician said it was okay.