My son is a little over three years old. I am watching him explore his world and his place in it. It’s extraordinary to watch his world expand little by little and see him gain confidence. We waited a long time to switch him from his crib to a toddler bed simply because he was so happy in his crib. He would play happily for an hour before falling asleep and another hour after he woke up before he would call for someone to get him. He slept well. We didn’t see any need to change that prematurely. However, as he approached his third birthday we decided to make the switch and he was excited about it. It made me a little sad though that I would go up to get him an hour or so after he woke up and find him still in the bed. It didn’t even occur to him that he could crawl out on his own.
Then one day it just happened. He left the crib. And chaos ensued. He’d still happily play in his room…but for two or three hours. And never fall asleep. Overnight he went from taking two and a half hour naps to no naps at all. I loved that he was enjoying a new level of independence. I was still essentially getting a break in the afternoon since he happily spent all of that time in his room, but he still needed the sleep. I finally found a solution. I let him play for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and then I go sit in a chair in his room. That effectively pins him to his bed and he falls asleep within 10 minutes. And sleeps for at least 2 hours.
Concurrently with all of this we’ve been potty training. He’s been day trained for quite some time, but he began showing interest in taking himself to the bathroom rather than going in his nap/bedtime diaper if he was awake. So we told him that if he needs to go to the bathroom he can leave his room and do that quietly and return to bed. A whole new level of chaos has ensued. Minutes after leaving the room doors begin to slam and running feet can be heard. Last night we put him to bed at 8pm and he was still awake when I was going to bed at 10:30. And that time is now spent entering and leaving his room. Another favorite is peering down at us from the upstairs balcony in a manner he thinks is quiet. I have no idea what he thinks he is doing, but he also goes into and out of his closet slamming the sliding doors open and shut each time. Feet thunder back and forth over our heads.
I love the independence and exploration. I love that his world had grown from the confines of his crib, to toddler bed, to his room, to the areas outside his room. However, I miss the beautiful sleep. And I’m pretty sure he does too. I’ll give him a week or so to see if the exploration grows old on its own, but if not I guess I’ll have to do the sitting with him trick at night time too.