Those of you who know me or are fans of Lowcountry Child's Facebook page most likely have heard me mention Cole’s fascination with sleeping on the floor.
In December, we transitioned him from his crib to a toddler bed and things were going OK. I had to keep assuring him he was safe in his new surroundings but that only took a few days and he loved it so much, he would just hang out in the bed until we came to get him in the morning. Curt and I felt so lucky.
Then, in January, he started a new daycare. Before that we were lucky enough to have Cole in an in-home daycare with only a few kids, where he napped in a playard in his own room.
Like most other daycares, Cole began napping on a cot that was only a few inches from the ground. At the same time, he began refusing to sleep in his toddler bed. He preferred almost any location on the floor, but mostly the little space between his rocking chair and ottoman. It frustrated me, but he was so cute in the morning all bundled up in that little spot that it was hard to do anything but giggle inside.
Bedtime turned into a nightmare - something we absolutely dreaded. He’d fight us when we tried to put him in his bed and we’d hear him bouncing from one area of the floor to the next, finally settling down about an hour after bedtime. He wasn’t actually playing up there (although some mornings we’d find a stack of books he pulled out), but just trying to get comfortable.
At first, Curt and I were dead set we were going to stick to our guns - he was sleeping in his bed and that was it. Well, we read all the tricks and advice, but every time we placed him back into his bed, he laughed like it was a game. Although he’s a toddler and sometimes I have to get over it, I refused to be disrespected and I wouldn’t let him think of it as a game.
During this realization, my husband had knee surgery and was unable to do much of anything once he got home from work but limp to the bathroom. So, I was left to handle more of the household duties as well as the parenting ones. Honestly, I didn’t have an extra hour in my night to wrestle to get Cole to sleep in his bed. We decided to let it run it’s course. We put a pallette on the floor and told him, “Mommy and Daddy want you to sleep in your big boy bed. But if you sleep on the floor, you need to stay on the floor bed.” We thought this might at least keep him from roaming from spot to spot and provide a little more comfort than the carpet.
We did that for a couple weeks. It was odd because when he’d nap at home on the weekends, he usually didn’t mind sleeping in his bed, versus on the floor. So, one weekend he napped in his bed and we told him how proud we were of him. Then, that night, he wanted to sleep in his bed again. This continued for three nights. So, on the fourth night, we took the floor bed away before bedtime, but not with him in the room so he wouldn‘t fight over it. Here’s the kicker - he didn’t even notice until two days later and even then he pointed it out and moved on.
Now sometimes I feel as if I have to read him six books before he’s ready for “night night,” but at least he lets me know when he’s ready. And there’s no better joy than seeing him waddle over and climb into his toddler bed, snuggle with the blankets and say “Night, night baba (aka mama).”
This is just another example of how we’ve had to adapt as parents and learn the right way to handle our current parenting issue. It might not be how we first envisioned, but we ultimately mixed what we thought was best with what we hoped would work for him. And we made it to the other side. That’s the thing - usually you do, make it to the other side.