April 22, 2014

toddler bed transition tips and trials

In my last post on the crib to toddler bed transition, I talked about the initial transition. Well, weeks later we're still transitioning. In a sense.

It may be a transition to needing less actual sleep. It may be the east-facing window in his room. It may be the excitement of being able to get out of bed. I don't know. But this kid is getting up too damned early. Like 6 a.m. For me, it's a mental battle to not get irritated at the sound of him laughing and playing in his room while I'm wishing I could out-sleep the daylight invading our room (I just ordered dark wood blinds to help with this). As a working woman in my 40s, I've learned to be kind of a mid-morning person. But I'll never be a first-thing-in-the-morning person.

To see if it's me waking him up before it's time, I've already tried showering downstairs, laying in bed longer to avoid creaking the old wood floors -- even delaying making coffee, heaven forbid -- to no avail.

To help him start to recognize daily wake/sleep patterns on his own, I finally bought one of those toddler alarm clocks that turns green when it's okay to wake up. After several days of him not waiting for the thing to turn green, I moved the alarm from 7:00 to 6:45. This is starting to prove successful, and he is actually starting to wait to emerge from his room after seeing it turn green. That's why I'm considering it a tip.

This is good, just not quite good enough. Last night we kept him up until just after 7:30, a full half hour later than his regular bedtime, to see if this is truly a sleep issue. No difference. Though we'll likely move his bedtime to this time permanently, I'm convinced the early daylight is waking him up as much as it does me.

This morning, I literally nailed the curtain to the wall just under the curtain rod to block out some the early-morning light that insists on shining right on the corner of my son's bed (it actually worked quite well). I'm getting desperate. Maybe I'll paint that wall black.

What I want most in those hours is the delight of getting up before my son so I have time to get my wits together, pray for a few minutes, and maybe even take a whole shower without having to get up at 5:00. Then I am ready to embrace the day with smiles and giggles and breakfast.

Am I asking the impossible? Maybe. But it won't stop me from trying! It might stop me from trying to "sleep in" past 6:00, however. We'll see.