In our house right now, we are going through the transition to a toddler bed, a transition I have dreaded for a long time. It is much like I feared, however, I am trying to learn some lessons along the way.
I had anticipated long nights of not sleeping, hearing little feet walk across the floor, even maybe some exploring of the house. Needless to say, we have only had one long night. Instead, we now have battles over going to sleep. This has meant that we listen to our child cry, yell out and/or protest in any number of ways at least twice a day.
Braxton has attempted the following tactics to delay or avoid bedtime:
1. The long, drawn-out choice of books, his hand at his chin, saying “umm..”.
2. “Reading” the books himself, making them twice as long.
3. Requesting another book and another book and another book.
4. Asking me to reread the book.
5. Posing question after question after question.
After I have left the room:
6. Screaming overdramatically, “See mommy, See mommy!”
7. Inquiring: “See mommy? See mommy?”
8. Asking, in a sweet, innocent voice, “Pat my back, mommy?”
9. Demanding, “Pat my back, mommy!”
10. Claiming his foot is stuck in the bed.
11. Claiming there’s poop in his diaper.
12. Running to the door and demanding it be open.
Anthony and I are hopeful that he will give up soon, ideally before we go back to school, but we have accepted that this is just the way it is right now and are trying to take it in stride. I can admit to laughing out loud today while he was lying on the floor of his bedroom, peering under the door, asking to “see mommy”. All this while I was holding the doorknob shut so he couldn’t get out.
The main thing I have learned is this: the more I indulge, the more he tries to get away with. At the beginning I realized that this was a 2-year-old phase in which he needs to establish independence, so I would try to accommodate that. But, then I noticed that he was asking for more and more, adding precious minutes to his avoidance strategy.
After asking for advice from his doctor, I was given a list of tactics. I found that most of them I already do, but one in particular stood out. It said to have two books that we read in the rocking chair (our normal location) and two that we read in his bed. This both changed the routine and established a new one that made the bed a part of it. I let him pick the books, giving him a number and then I decided which would be read where. It wasn’t long before we started only reading the books in his bed, by his choice. I then would tell him when it was the last book and make him say, “OK”. When he would ask for more after we are done, I would say, “would you like mommy to pat your back now or leave now?” The more in charge I am, the less he fights it.
I try to avoid focusing on the “good old days” when he was literally thanking me for putting him to bed (sigh) but it was a good run. I’ll take what I can get now.
Omaha mom Jenny Razor, a high school English teacher at Omaha Public Schools, blogs for momaha every other Saturday. Read more from Jenny, by clicking here.
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