I’ve been writing this post in my head for weeks now, but things never seemed to settle down perfectly, so I kept putting it off.
Basically, Brooke and I split time sleeping on Calvin’s floor for, like, 8 months this year. He simply did not want to sleep alone, and while you could get him to sleep, the minute he’d wake up, he wouldn’t go back down (willingly) unless someone was with him. This also made it nearly impossible to leave his room (or we’d fall asleep waiting for him to finally pass out). We tried a few things, including removing his crib because he was getting too large to lay in there without waking him up. He fell asleep on the floor one night, so we went with it and made a little “nest,” of sorts, in the corner for him to sleep on.
Ultimately, we relented and began just sleeping on the floor with him. I moved a backpacking-style air mattress in there, Brooke laid down multiple comforters, and one of us would just take turns going in sometime between 1:00 am and 4:00 am and staying with him until it was time to get up.
Finally, finally, we got sick of it. On Calvin’s birthday, we gave him a small toddler bed. We figured this would be the opportunity to start fresh in a “new situation,” where we rearrange his room a bit, put him in the bed, and make him sleep in it.
Shockingly, the process of getting him to sleep in it didn’t go as terribly as we’d expected. That first night was somewhat challenging, but even within the first few days, he was sleeping in the bed by himself for 6 hours at a time. It took us a bit to get into a routine of one of us sitting with him with books or YouTube videos before he’d let us leave his room without crying. There were some times when he’d try to follow us out and we’d have to sit there, holding his door shut, so he couldn’t escape. Early on, this didn’t happen all that often though, and he’d actually stay in his bed for awhile.
“Awhile” is a critical point, though, as 4:00 am would roll around and he’d decide “I’m awake!” and he’d leave his room. We had a door knob protector on, but those old door knobs are useless and the protector would stick in such a way that Calvin could get right past it.
Occasionally, he’d go into Meg’s room and wake her up, wanting to play.
More recently, we picked up a special alarm clock that changes colors depending on whether it’s time to get up or not. He mostly ignores whether it’s “yellow” (stay in bed) or “green” (time to get up), even though he’ll tell you what those colors mean. We think the clock has helped, to some degree, as we know what time it is so, if he’s crying at 5:00 am and wants to leave his room, we can use the walkie-talkie function on the baby monitor and tell him to stay in bed “until the light turns ‘green’.”
Overall, we’re doing much better. Both of us are getting far more sleep than we were at this time last year, and we’re getting to stay in our beds for longer on successive nights than we have since Calvin was born. Occasionally, we still need to go in there and help him find his lost stuffed animal in the middle of the night, but for the most part, he’s sleeping quite a bit better than he has in awhile!
As a brief aside, over Thanksgiving this year, Meg and Calvin slept in the same rooms for 4 nights and actually did remarkably well! We tried it once at our house a few weeks ago and it was a literal nightmare, but on the road, Meg was actually pretty good at keeping him in his room and knowing whether it was okay to get up and play or not. Since she can actually tell time, she knew whether it was okay to get up and play with toys in their room but not actually leave the room, and other policies like that. Perhaps we’ll be able to move to bunk beds sometime in 2016!