It's official: we moved Iyla into a big girl bed last night, after a week of pretty intense sleep regression.
I must admit I thought we'd get a lot more time out of her crib. This is a kid who has always gone down easily for naps & bedtime (save our big sleep regression in February), quietly & happily playing until she falls asleep. She'd consistently take two hour naps and sleep through the night from 8pm-7:15am.
That all changed Monday.
Iyla suddenly started protesting nap & bedtime, hysterically pleading for me to stay in the room with her or take her into my bed. Once put in her crib she would become frantic, screaming & thrashing all around. She'd wake 3-4x/night crying and needing much soothing. We did take her into our bed on several occasions, as that seemed to be the only thing that truly soothed her.
Sweet girl was needing lots of extra snuggles this week
There have been no big changes in our schedule or lives to precipitate this shift. No new teeth to blame it on. The best I could come up with was that Iyla was going through another major perceptual leap; that something in her world had changed to the point where she was now acutely aware of waking up ALONE in her room, and was needing extra comfort and reassurance. I also wondered if she was experiencing nightmares, as sometimes she awoke drenched in sweat.
I was torn. Should I continue to go into her room to comfort her each time she woke, bringing her into our bed as needed? Or keep loving & firm limits about staying in her own room- letting her know she was safe and loved, but being careful not to start new bedtime habits we didn't want to continue?
Then Iyla made the decision for us.
On Friday BC was on night duty so I could get some much needed rest. He reported that during one of Iyla's middle of the night meltdowns she started climbing out of the crib (a first!), so he brought her into bed with him.
There was really no choice in the matter. We needed to convert her crib into a toddler bed immediately, lest she have a middle of the night fall while trying to climb out.
And so it was that we very quickly (& unexpectedly!) had to toddler-proof Iyla's room. The crib was converted, all outlets covered, lamps removed, & cozy book stations created. I made a big deal to her about having a BIG GIRL BED, and let her know that if she awoke sad in the night she could now get herself some books to read until she feel asleep again.
We gave the new bed its first go at nap time yesterday. Iyla wanted me to stay in the room and sit in her chair while she went to sleep, which I did. She didn't take a long nap (about 45 minutes), but it was better than the complete lack of nap the day prior!
At bedtime we started an entirely new routine. I thought this big girl transition would be the perfect opportunity to finally kick the bottles (yes, STILL BOTTLES OVER HERE). The new routine consisted of milk in a cup downstairs while playing, then heading straight to the potty upstairs. After the potty I had Iyla chose a few books to snuggle and read together. She actually told ME halfway through the 3rd book it was bedtime, and went and got herself into bed! She didn't seem to miss her bottles at all.
Another big change we had to make was to start closing Iyla's door. With her last sleep regression we started leaving it open, as this gave her a lot of needed comfort. Now? Way too risky with a toddler on the loose and our staircase being located directly outside her door. I told her that we had to keep the door closed so Sam (our cat) wouldn't get into her big girl bed at night. She bought it and didn't make any fuss when I left the room!
Here's what transpired via the monitor once I shut the door:
*She quickly popped up, ran across her room, and then ran back into bed.
*She got up again and went offscreen; I could hear her rustling through her books and then knocking on her door. Then that little bugger quickly figured out how to OPEN THE DOOR (which she's never done before).
After putting her back in bed and reminding her to read books if she couldn't sleep, I resorted to this:
Desperate times call for desperate measures
We'll have to figure out something more permanent soon, but it did the trick!
BC had night duty again last night and reported that Iyla did not cry out once. That is HUGE after a week's worth of nighttime frantics! However, when Iyla started pulling on her door to come out around 6:45 this morning, she was very evidently sleep deprived. Super fussy, tired, and inconsolable. I am guessing that with all of the excitement of her new room and freedom that little lady didn't get much sleep at all.
The lack of nighttime crying tells me that we are on the right track… now I just hope that our sweet girl starts getting the rest she (and we!) genuinely needs. Our little Iyla Grace is growing up!
'Cribs and bottles were SO last week. I'm a big girl now!'