When Emerson was a baby I never really thought about how long I'd keep her in the crib. I had heard other parents had to transition their babies into toddler beds pretty early because they started climbing out of their crib. Luckily, Emerson never even attempted to do so. She seemed happy and content in her crib so we were happy and content to leave her there.
Then in January we scheduled our move back to the U.S. We knew that the movers would come a few weeks before our actual departure and we wondered what we would do without a crib for Emerson. We didn't want to keep the Pack N Play because we knew it would be one more piece of luggage we'd have to check. My friend offered to let us borrow one but I never got around to picking it up before packing day.
So, after the movers left we decided to move a mattress from the guest bedroom into E's room. A few of my friends had experienced success by transitioning to a mattress on the floor so we thought we'd try it. Emerson, at around 20 months, acted as if nothing had changed at all. She went right to sleep that night and continued to sleep on the mattress until the day we left Abu Dhabi.
I think it's important to note that her room was completely empty by this time so there wasn't really anything for her to get up and play with. Despite that, we did have a few naptimes where she would get off the mattress and run around the room and play. Usually I would just go in there, lay her back down and tell her not to get up.
Once we left Abu Dhabi we stayed with my parents for a few weeks. Since there wasn't really a spot for a mattress on the floor, we decided it would probably be best for Emerson to sleep in a Pack N Play while we were there. She seemed fine with it and slept pretty well during our visit.
When we arrived in California we stayed in a hotel for about 5 days and then we moved into our house, but we still didn't have any furniture. During that time Emerson slept in her Pack N Play up in her room. When our furniture arrived we went back and forth over whether we should set up her crib or go ahead and set it up as a toddler bed. We decided that since she had done so well on the mattress, she was ready for a bed.
When we first put it together, she loved it. She sat on it and played with her toys.
And even when it came for bedtime she seemed content to lay down and snuggled up in her new bed. But the minute we turned off the light and shut the door she started screaming at the top of her lungs. She yelled, "No! I don't like it." and "Momma, where are you?" When we went back in to check on her she seemed traumatized! We decided to set the Pack N Play back up.
For the next month she slept in the Pack N Play for every nap and every night. I hated it because the "mattress" in that thing is as hard as a rock and her feet and her head touch both ends. I just didn't see how it could be comfortable. Every nap and bed time I would ask her if she wanted to sleep in her big girl bed and she would say. "I want this one." and point to the Pack N Play. We even tried taking the bed out of the room and letting her sleep on the mattress but she would meltdown every single time.
Then last Monday I decided to try the big girl bed again during nap time. I moved it over to the opposite wall to see if maybe that would help and I told her if she slept on her bed during her nap, she would get a surprise when she woke up. (No, I am not above bribes...) ;) And just like that she got in her bed, snuggled her doggy, and went to sleep. I couldn't believe that we had finally had success and I was worried that bedtime wouldn't go as well.
Of course, like toddlers do, she shocked us by going right to bed in her big girl bed. It's been over a week now and she has slept in her bed every time. I really think that all of the changes were too much when we first tried it and she just needed some time to adjust. Now that she's been in it a week I've noticed that she is sleeping longer, probably because it is a million times more comfortable! Once she wakes up, she stays in her bed until I come and get her. At this point she still doesn't have any of her other furniture or toys in her room so I think that might deter her from getting up. We'll see what happens when our shipment arrives and she has new things to explore.
When we first started trying the transition, I was so worried that she would fall out of the bed. I bought one bedrail but it didn't fit the bed correctly and I felt like that was more of a hazard than falling so we took it off. Up until yesterday she hadn't fallen out of the bed once- and I'm still not ever sure that she did yesterday. But when I went to get her yesterday morning, I walked in and she was nowhere to be found. She likes to hide in the closet in her playroom so I thought maybe that's what she was doing. I could hear her talking and laughing but I couldn't see her. Then I realized that the noise was coming from under her bed! When I peeked under she told me that she was stuck. She had her blankets and her stuffed animals and it looked like she had slept under there! The spot was even warm so I have no idea how long she was there. I don't know if she crawled under there or fell off the bed during the night but it obviously didn't bother her too badly because she never cried or called for us.
And that is how Emerson made the switch to her big girl bed. I'm thankful that it wasn't too painful of a process and I'm still in love with how adorable she looks tucked into her bed!