My little guy, Bogey, started a new chapter in his life about two months ago. He got a big boy bed. We are not toddler bed people. We go for the gusto and buy full out twin beds so they have plenty of room to grow. And he looks so small in it. There's only one problem.
He. Will. Not. Stay. In. BED!!!
I encountered this same problem with Dev and Calvin, and we got through relatively unscathed. The Hubby and I endorsed the Super Nanny approach and quietly, but promptly put the little miscreant back in his or her bed. Bogey has been different. He learned quickly that if he goes out to mom and dad, he just gets put back in bed. SO he's started playing with the toys, reading books, and worst of all, climbing into Dev and Calvin's beds. Argh! Nothing disturbs the kidless peace of an after bed evening like the yell through the monitor, "Bogey's in my bed!"
Of course, getting caught in another bed the first few times was no fun for Bogey, so now when the call sounds out, Bogey knows he has exactly 7.3 seconds to get back into his own bed before mom or dad comes charging in. And he times it well. Then when I say, "Did you get out of bed?" he smiles up at me and shakes his head innocently. The Hubby even went so far as to suggest that maybe Dev and Calvin were getting a kick out of seeing mom and dad run into the room and were crying wolf, so to speak.
I thought about it a long time. And I struck upon an epiphany. I set the pack n' play up next to his bed and when he got out of his bed, I wordlessly grabbed him, his pillow and his blankey, and put him down in the pack n' play. Surely being in a baby crib again would just irk him enough to stay in his own bed.
NO. This is Bogey we're talking about here.
He informed me today at nap time that he actually WANTED to sleep in the baby crib.
I said, "Don't you want to sleep in the big boy bed?"
He shook his head.
"Aren't you a big boy?"
"Then let's sleep in your big boy bed."
He threw his blankey and pillow in the crib and yelled (he was grumpy. it was nap time, bear in mind), "NO! Baby crib!!"
So I gave in and let him sleep there, but noted to myself that the crib was not working.
Tonight I had another epiphany. I put him to bed in his big boy bed. Then left the room. In 30 seconds I was back, totally playing up the praising. "OH! You're STILL in bed!!!! What a good boy you are! Yeah! Give me five! Thanks for staying in bed! Oh! I love it when you stay in bed!"
Then I left, blowing kisses. 30 seconds later, I went in again and did the same thing.
And then again 30 seconds after that. A minute after I left the third time, I heard the yell, "Bogey's in my bed!" ugh. So I put on my most pitiful face and schlumped into the room hanging my head and sighing heavily (honestly, it was hard not to laugh). I put Bogey back in his bed and sat at the end of it and said, "You got out of bed. That makes me soooo sad." I hung my head and sighed again. Bogey put his sweet little hand on my chin and raised it up so he could look at my face. I did a sad bottom-lip jut. When Bogey saw that I wasn't just kidding around, his little face crumpled and he threw himself on his pillow and sobbed. I left, thinking I had made my point. A few seconds later, a VERY distraught little boy came out to me and crawled into my lap, not able to contain his grief.
So I held him. Super Nanny would say that you're not supposed to. (Although I'm not sure she would approve of my theatrics either.) I held him because I knew he was hurting and so, so, so sad. And honestly, I was touched that he was so distraught because I was sad. I carried him back to his bed, and we sat on the edge of his bed cuddling until his grief was contained. I laid him down, told him I loved him, and left.
Maybe the cry-fest wore him out. Or maybe, I got my point across. Either way, he is now asleep in his big boy bed. And the crib is vacant.
Sigh. Of. Relief.
I hope that he learned tonight to stay in bed. I'm thinking though that I'll probably be running the gauntlet with this again tomorrow.
But for tonight, I am so grateful that I could hold him close, kiss him, and comfort him, know that he loves me so much, and that I love him. Glad that for tonight, he's still my little guy.