I t was such a big day for Ettie yesterday (and us!) that I wanted to write a little bit about it to keep a record. We turned her cot into a big girls bed which may seem like a pretty normal thing to do, but for us it was huge!
Ettie has actually been sleeping in our bed for a couple of months now and its been so lovely that we’re probably a little bit to blame for not moving her back! The slightly squished sleeping arrangements came about because the only way I used to be able to get her to sleep, was to climb into her cot with her!! This was fine initially but obviously as my bump started to get bigger it all became rather impractical. So as time went on, we began putting her to sleep in our bed for a ‘treat’ then moving her once we came to bed ourselves. Or if Stu was out I would let her stay in with me for an extra treat (I actually quite liked having her close to me at night, because I was away from her so much in the day white I was at work), or actually she’d just wake up so much through the night, that it became exhausting continually moving her back to her own room (its hard working full-time and being pregnant!), so in the end we just let her stay! She’s so cuddly and cheeky in the mornings, waking up saying things like ‘Morning Everybody’ with a huge big smile, that we’ve actually loved her being there. We knew it wouldn’t be forever and so have been in no rush for her to move!
That is until recently, with Baby Number 2 potentially only days away we knew the time was coming to make the move because I really don’t want her to feel pushed out once the baby arrives and somehow resent the baby. Plus four in a bed is ridiculous by anyone’s standards, never mind when one of you is 6ft tall and it’s not even a king size bed!
So on Sunday we decided to take the plunge and make her cot into a big girls bed in the hope that it would entice her into wanting to sleep in it! She’s never ever liked her cot. Even when she was a little baby she’d never settle in there alone unless she was already asleep, then as soon as she stirred and seen the bars, she’s jump straight up and hang off them, crying for someone to come and get here. I’ve had a feeling for a while that she doesn’t like the idea of being caged in, and in fact I’ve actually had better luck getting her to sleep on the floor of her Tipi, but obviously that isn’t a long-term solution. So here we are, taking the sides off her bed at two years and one months old and we’re opting not to use a bed guard. This is a conscious decision, because I think it will add to the caged in feeling, but also because her bed really isn’t that high and I want her to be able to get in and out of it as she pleases so she can come and see us if she gets scared. We’ll still keep the stair gate at the top of the stairs, but have told her she can walk in and see us whenever she wants so we wont be putting a gate on her room either.
I realise this is likely to cause its own problems a bit further down the line, but she’s such an affectionate little girl, wanting to touch one of us at all times (when she’s asleep she holds onto my cheek which makes my heart want to burst) that I know the transition to sleeping on her own in her own room is going to be huge for her and so I want to make it as easy as possible. One step at a time as they say!
The day is here….
So after a few weeks of building up the fact that we were going to take the sides down off her bed, we chose a Sunday that we were both around and made a big deal out of making the change.
I bought her some new bedding to match the bedding in her dolly’s cot and we went shopping together for duvets and a pillow. Then I bought her a little neon light that she could turn on and off herself ‘like a big girl’ to add a little more independence at bed time.
We made a really big fuss of her all day and let her help Daddy build the bed, then when it was bed time she asked to go in her ‘big girls bed’ which was huge!! But once we’d read her a couple of stories and she realised we were leaving, she soon wanted out of it again. So reverting back to old habits I jumped in bed with her and give her a cuddle until she fell off to sleep. Still a shortcut, but much easier than jumping in and out of her cot!
Once she was asleep, I got all emotional seeing our little girl in a bed all on her own and that’s when I took these pictures. It’s so bitter-sweet seeing her grow up. On the one hand its exciting because every new thing she does is a marvel, but then on the other it’s really sad to see another chapter close.
How did it go…?
Well its only been one night so we weren’t expecting miracles, but she slept through until about 10.30pm then started shouting for Mummy and I had to go up and get in bed with her again until she went back to sleep. She settled for about half an hour and I came back downstairs, but no sooner had my bum hit the sofa, she was up again and this time was really wriggly so I had to stay in with her a bit longer. I know we really need to stick with this time as it just wont be safe co-sleeping with her and the baby so I decided to just sit at the end of the bed until she settled.
She still reached out to touch my face but I let her put her legs on me instead and that seemed to work. Hopefully as time goes on, she’ll find comfort in something else which breaks my heart a little but I know she can’t sleep with us forever! (although at this moment in time I’d be quite happy for her to!)
Gradually she did drift off to sleep and I was able to edge away and finally leave the room. She stayed asleep until around 2.00 when I had to go in and settle her once more, then at 4.00 I heard her little feet scurrying down the hallway making our way to our room, so I just let her jump in bed with us! (seems we are both learning here!)
It’s very early days and I know there’s a bit of a way to go but hopefully the transition will be smooth!! (if not I still have bribery and chocolate in my locker!!)
Wish us luck xx