About a month and a half ago we switched the boys over to toddler beds from their cribs. Trust me, if we could have kept them in their cribs we would have. Hayden started climbing out of his crib first and for a few days we were fine with it, he is so very cautious and careful we weren’t worried about him falling and hurting himself. So he would just climb out of the crib when he woke up. Well a few days later, Mr. Ian learned how to climb out and that’s when the story changed. Lets just say Ian isn’t as cautious as Hayden. He hikes that leg up and then just throws himself over the edge. We were definitely worried he would fall and hurt himself.
So, we took the huge step and put them in their “big boy” beds. The first couple of nights they were still in their cribs, just with the side rail removed, until we could get their toddler beds. Hayden fell out of bed a few nights in a row, so we had to get him a side rail to keep him in. We decided to get Ian one too because he liked the security and confinement of the crib and I think the shock of having no “walls” around him scared him a little.
Before we put them to bed, we cleared out their room and the only that they have access to are their beds and dresser. All the toys are in the closet, which has a lock on it. So they aren’t up playing all night.
The first night of their freedom was a little rough. I think it took close to 2 hours for them to go to sleep. We ended up sitting outside their door holding the door closed so they couldn’t open it and taking turns putting them back in bed. The second night went a little smoother. It didn’t take 2 hours, but probably about an hour. Each night got a little better but the difference was that we got a door handle that locked! We switched the lock to the outside so we can basically lock them in, then when they are asleep we will unlock it. I wasn’t about to play the game of every few minutes going back in to put them back in bed. Once they try to open it and realize they can’t, they typically just go get back in bed. Hayden will fall asleep in front of the door some nights and we’ll have to put him back in bed, but that has really just started happening in the last week or so.
There have been a few nights at the beginning where the boys would wake up in the middle of the night and want to play, but that didn’t last but 1 or 2 nights and they realized that is not what we do in the middle of the night. They will still cry some or wake up in the middle of the night but most of the time they will go back to sleep without us going in there. They have these little seahorses that light up and play music, kind of like the old gloworms we had as kids, that Jonathan’s mom got them their first Christmas and Its funny because Hayden will use it as a flash light at night. He will start crying and then we’ll hear the glow play music and then he’s quiet. He uses it to find his pacifier in the dark, he’ll also hold onto it when he gets out of bed at night so he can see where he’s going. Smart boy!
About 2 weeks ago they realized they an pull the dresser drawers open and pull all their clothes out! They had fun with this, we would go in and all the clothes are thrown over the bed and floor. After going in several times a night to put them back in the clothes back in the drawers and them back in bed, we decided to put the cabinet locks on the drawers. I was also afraid they would pull on the drawers enough that it would pull the dresser over on top of them.
On average it takes about 30 minutes for the boys to go to sleep at night. Sometimes 10-15 and sometimes an hour, it just depends on the day. They will talk, sing, laugh, you name it until they just poop out. Because of this, we have started putting them to bed earlier so by the time they actually fall asleep it is closer to the time they normally would be going to sleep in their cribs. It took us a few weeks to realize this, they were going to sleep an hour or so later than normal. It also helps now that its starting to get darker earlier. They were going to sleep when it was bright as day outside.
And, because of their new found freedom, when they woke up in the morning, they were up! Normally they would wake up around 645-700 when we were leaving, but since they were in their crib, they would just go back to sleep and sleep until about 830 sometimes 900. When they started sleeping in their new beds, they were up at about 630-700, and a few mornings, Hayden was up at 545 or 600. This is NOT acceptable! They were only getting 9 hours of sleep instead of their usual 12 -13 hours a night. The last week or so Hayden has been sleeping until 700 and Ian until 800 or 815 some days, so they are finally getting the hang of it.
Nap time is a whole different ballgame! It was miserable for about a week or two. They weren’t sleeping enough at night and then wouldn’t really sleep much during their nap. They were just in their room playing in the curtains, with each other, singing, talking, laughing, anything but sleeping! So after a week or 2 of them being complete Mr. Fussy Pants’ and driving us crazy, I decided to separate them during nap time. Since our new house (well not really new anymore) is a 4 bedroom house, we have an extra room across the hall from their room that we set up the pack n play in. Since Ian is less likely and not as able to climb out as Hayden, he got the short straw and gets to sleep in the guest room. I don’t think he minds it though. At first, they didn’t like being separated, especially Hayden, but now they give each other a hug, wave bye and go to their separate rooms. AND, they sleep! They will sleep an hour (mainly Hayden) and as much as 2.5 hours (usually Ian). Another reason we decided to separate them was that Hayden doesn’t sleep as long as Ian and ended up waking Ian up, so he wasn’t getting the sleep he requires (which is more than Hayden).
We have them on a pretty good nap/bedtime schedule now and we are all getting the hang of their new freedom and this new stage of life. Other than having to put them back in bed some nights after they have fallen asleep, they sleep great. It took a little while and we had some rough nights, but we are through the worst and it will only get better from here (right?).