Ok. I want to get this out there right now because there are way too few people who actually come out and say this. 26 months is too early to switch your child to a big girl/boy bed! When you do your preliminary research, you will find the internet is full of parents who say they successfully moved their children to big beds when they were as young as 15 months old. Everyone you know with kids will advise you that THEY switched their children MUCH younger and you'd better switch your child soon, because if you wait too long they'll be TOO used to their crib. You will worry that if you don't switch your child soon and get them used to their bed before the new baby comes, they'll associate the switch with the baby's arrival.
However, if you search "toddler bed won't sleep" (which I probably should have done BEFORE we converted Emily's crib), you'll find even more people who are having terrible problems getting their child to sleep once they've been moved into a big bed.
I am one of those parents. Will is another.
We don't have too much of a problem with nighttime. She will, if she's tired, go to bed fairly easily, although she requires me to rub her back and hum songs to her until she's fast asleep. She will then sleep all night without a problem, and if she wakes up in the morning before we do, she'll go sit or lay by her door and wait until we open it to let her out. She seems to have grasped very quickly that we don't like her letting herself out of the room and wandering the house on her own.
The problem is naptime. She does NOT want to nap in her bed. We've averaged about 2 good naps per week since we switched her, whereas she used to reliably sleep every day in her crib. If she doesn't take a nap, the rest of the day is one fun-filled tantrum after another. She's refused to come home with us from the gym daycare (I wonder what the daycare providers think of us as parents when our daughter cries and runs away and hides when we try to take her home), she's completely melted down when she couldn't pry open her clip-on bug repellent cartridge, basically anything will set her off. I've tried laying down in bed with her, but all that happens when I do that is I fall asleep enough to let my guard down, then Emily kicks me in the face or jumps on my stomach. If I leave her alone in her room, she just pulls out every book she owns and plays for 2 hours straight.
Don't let her calm demeanor fool you
Turn your back for a second and THIS happens
I hate that she's not getting as much sleep as she needs. I hate that my little girl, who is usually a sweet, giggly, reasonable girl who makes me wonder what all the "terrible two" fuss is about undergoes a complete personality change when she's un-napped and becomes a psycho hose beast. I hate having to mutter excuses about Emily missing naps to people in line at the store as she screeches. I hate that it's been over a year since I've had one of those "I can't take it anymore, when is this day going to be over" kind of days, and now I'm having them again.
If she DOES by some miracle take a nap though, we can't get her to go to sleep at night until after 10, even though we start trying at 8:30. I'm used to having a bit of time during the day to straighten up, make calls, plan meals, relax, etc. and I'm not getting that anymore. Will and I are also used to having an hour and a half or so between Emily's bedtime and our own, and we're not getting that anymore either because instead of just tucking her in and letting her fall asleep by herself around 9, we have to stay in with her until she's all the way asleep.
I am not ready for her to give up her naps. When the baby comes, I was banking on the fact that Emily's naps would give me time alone with the baby at the very least, and at best time to catch up on my own sleep if I was lucky enough to get both kids napping at the same time. But more importantly, EMILY is not ready to give up her naps. I just haven't been able to convince her of this.
One interesting development in this whole bed-changing situation has been Emily's complete infatuation with a throw pillow I bought to go on her bed. She LOVES Birdy, and she LOVES "talking" to Birdy. She has us make Birdy "talk" to her, and she holds long conversations with him. She'll tell him things she won't tell us, mostly complaints about things I do. I don't know if she's too polite to bring up her grievances to my face or what, but she will tell Birdy. She recounted for Birdy the story of how mommy put spray and a band aid on her boo boo, and it "really really hurt!" She told Birdy how it made her mad that Mommy carried her upstairs instead of letting her walk by herself. I guess that's why psychologists use the same trick with kids.
Emily may not be doing very well in the napping department, but she's actually doing very well in the potty training department. On the days when we're home for awhile and she's amenable, I drink a lot of water myself and take her to the bathroom with me every time I go, and she rarely has an accident. She has even started telling me "Emmy have to go pee pee" and running off to her potty by herself. Our next hurdle will be to get her to do the same thing when she's wearing undies. If she is wearing any article of clothing on her lower body, she seems to think it's a diaper and decides using the potty is optional. Then we have to deal with using potties while we're out and about, which will not be easy. But at least we're making progress...
And in other potty news, Remy has decided that he doesn't care for the fancy new dog door that we spent lots of money on just for him, and unless we stay on him he will decide it's much more convenient to relieve himself on the screened-in porch rather than deal with bumping his delicate nose on the door and going outside. I remind everyone that if you have any interest in adopting two dogs from me the offer is always there.
And if you have any magic tricks to get toddlers to nap in their big girl beds, I might even consider giving you JUST the good dog*
*Ha ha, NEITHER of them is the good dog