I have been in no hurry to move Ella out of her crib into a bed. Her sleep has been so good, she enjoys her crib, plus the fact that everything I read says that it is not an easy transition, all made me pretty positive that it would be the last of the big changes we had to tackle this summer (#1 - lose the pacifier, #2 - potty training, and # 3 - move to big girl bed). I knew we were getting close to needing to do it though, and since #1 and #2 are complete, I figured it was about time. We had many busy weekends in a row so I had planned we would make the move the weekend of September 18, our first free weekend...unfortunately I forgot to give Ella the memo and she decided otherwise.
Last Monday I stayed home for the day because Ella was sick. (She had a fever and a sore throat on Sunday, I took her to the doctor on Monday and she said it was a virus. Fortunately she was completely better by Tuesday.) Anyway, as weird timing would have it, we were having 2 rooms upstairs painted, and so I took Ella over to mom's house so that we could avoid the painters and paint smells. I was downstairs at mom's, attempting to work while Ella napped, and she appeared downstairs! She was really proud of herself and said 'I'm climbed out of my crib.' I couldn't believe it. I figured it was just a weird fluke though and put her back to sleep, and she did take a nap after. That night was completely normal and no escape attempts.
The next day she said to me "Mommy, I'm climbed out of my crib to come check on you. You were on the 'puter. I was just hungry, wanted some mac and cheese." So silly! I told her though that it wasn't safe to climb out of her crib and she had to stay in there when she's supposed to be sleeping. That night she decided she was completely done with her crib. She just did not want to be left alone, she would not stay in her crib, and after practically launching herself out of it with a giant thunk, I was just too worried that she could get hurt and I ended up bringing her in bed, and figured we'd come up with a plan the next day. Since we planned on dealing with all of this in several weeks, we had no bed for her or any real back up plan (not to mention our entire upstairs in disarray because of the painting).
We decided she could sleep in the spare room while we decided on the long-term solution, so Steve bought the bed rail and we got Ella very excited for her first night in a big bed. She was thrilled! She talked about it all evening and was so excited. Everything went great until she realized that she was expected to sleep in there by herself. It was a disaster. She wanted to sleep in the hallway at the top of the stairs and said no way to the bed. She would walk around with her blanket on her head. She was 'sirsty.' She was hungry. She had to go potty. At one point she said to me "talk louder to Daddy so I can hear." I asked her if she wanted to go back in her crib, she said yes - and then escaped 30 seconds later. I decided to try her pack and play, thinking it'd be harder to climb out of, and she escaped from that in about .2 seconds. After 2 hours of attempting to keep her in there, I finally ended up sleeping in the spare room bed with her - of course that was the ideal solution for her so she was a happy little camper. And I was a cranky big camper.
As a sidenote, she is absurdly sweet to snuggle with in bed. She'll say things like "you're my best friend" and "I love you more in the world." She wraps her arms so tight around my neck, rests her head on me, wants to be sung to, gives tons of kisses, and has a happy little grin. She is such a snugglebug so it is hard to resist!!!
However, we know this is not for the best, and the next night we were determined that she needed to sleep by herself in bed. A friend gave me some good tips on how to keep her in bed and so I felt prepared (and extra-determined after 2 nights of 2 hr+ bedtime attempts ending in giving in!). Although it took almost an hour of in and out, it actually worked, and she went to sleep on her own in the bed. I was really amazed and kept expecting her to wake up and start calling for me. In the morning she was so proud of herself and we were so proud of her.
We were headed to the beach the next day for the long weekend so I couldn't even imagine what fun was going to wait for us there with the bed situation. It worked out perfectly though, because there was a bunk bed in our room, right next to our bed. It was surprisingly easy, and she slept in there with no problem all weekend. Funnily enough, Steve and I went out to dinner one night and Mom and Glenn put her to bed (in her bed) and when we got back and Steve checked on her, she, along with all of her sleeping stuff, had moved into our bed!
When we got back, she slept again in the spare room for a few nights and it went pretty well. She is waking up earlier than usual and comes in to our room first thing, last night she woke up at 3am. Bedtime has gotten a lot easier because it has only taken 2 or 3 extra tries to get her back in bed each night (way better than the several hours the first few nights!). Tonight is her first night in her room in bed, we still have some more work to do in her bedroom but we're getting there. I had visions of her moving into a perfectly prepared room but instead this is the piecemeal approach. Needless to say, this is not at all how I envisioned this step, but it's a good lesson for me that it's okay when things don't go exactly as I have planned, and that improvising and bumps in the road are all just a part of being a parent.
Sleeping in the spare room bed last night
Tonight, her first night in the bed in her bedroom