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Qualified Success With The Big-Girl Bed

Cora’s spent one night and one nap
in the toddler bed air-mattress now, and it’s been relatively
easy, thank God.

We’ve got the toddler mattress set up on the floor right next
to her crib, with all her stuffed animals and blankets spread out
around her. When she first climbed in, she grinned as if
she’d just won the lottery and rolled luxuriously all over
it. I can tell just looking at her that she’s insanely proud
of herself for “finally” becoming a big enough girl to
rate a little more space.

I’d worried that, with her awful
sleep habits, she’d be up and awake all night long, but once
she went to sleep she was out for the night, and in fact I had to
wake her to take Maddie to school. I’d also been concerned
that she’d get up and wander around the room, but so far she
hasn’t – either she’s intimidated or it
hasn’t occurred to her yet, but she stays firmly in the bed.

The one drawback is that now bedtime routines are much longer: we
used to read two books in her big chair, then snuggle and rock for
a few moments, then put her in the crib. Now we read two books in
her bed, then snuggle silently for a few moments, then begin the
negotiations when Mommy gets up to leave. Cora starts to look
apprehensive, eyes clouding over with concern, and begins
stuttering, “Well, well, it’s just that . . .
it’s just that . . .” She worries that I won’t
come into her room any more if she cries, or something like that.
So after a few moments of concern, we climb into her chair together
and rock a while, and then finally she relaxes enough to walk to
her bed and get docilely in.

I’m putting up with it for the moment rather than cracking
down and leaving her to cry, because I think she’s still
figuring things out, getting used to the new feel. My guess is that
once she gets confident in the new, exposed sleep spot she’ll
be able to do away with the “hold me ‘til I’m
exhausted” routine. So for now, naptime and nighttime have a
good fifteen minutes added on to an already long routine, but
I’m sticking it out. I know what it’s like to feel
scared and vulnerable in the dark.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful it’s
going this smoothly. But in a week or so, man, I’m hoping she
moves on. Mommy’s ready for a little more sleep on a regular


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