Alexander is 22 months old, and has been co-sleeping with us since the day he was born. I have always read and have heard that when a child is ready to move to his own bed, we would know. And contrary to the grave admonitions of some who claimed that if we didn’t move him to his own bed by the time he was 1 year old he would never leave our bed, the time has come on its own.
For the past week or so, Alex has been climbing out of bed in the middle of the night and lying down on the floor next to the bed. Shortly he would realize where he is, and will climb back into bed. We have decided that, since he is showing the initiative to leave the bed, we won’t hinder him.
We moved the mattress from his crib (He broke his crib months ago, jumping on it... we disassembled it and threw it all out except the mattress, which has been living in a play tent in his room.) into our room and put it on the floor on Christmas Eve. Alex had fallen asleep on my lap during a movie. We moved him to his new bed and climbed into bed ourselves. The new found space was a little unsettling, but we managed to *gasp* cuddle each other till we fell asleep.
About two hours later, I woke up and could not get back to sleep. I looked over at Alex and he was sleeping soundly and hadn’t moved at all. I went over and checked on him, and came back to bed. It seemed like I was having more trouble than he was with this new arrangement! I fell back asleep.
An hour later I bolted awake; Alex had rolled off of the crib mattress onto the floor and was sitting up shaking and crying. I can imagine his surprise at not being in bed with us, or on my lap where he fell asleep! I reacted. I scooped him up and brought him back to our bed and we snuggled and I nursed him back to sleep. We slept the rest of the night comfortably, our situation back to normal.
Christmas Day, I decided that Alex should spend some time in his new bed during the day so that he could get familiar with being there. We spent some time in the bedroom playing, Alex jumped on his bed and played in the corners, I tickled him, and we had a playful pillow fight.
Christmas night, I decided that the best thing would be for him to fall asleep in his bed, rather than for me to put him to sleep and move him to his bed. I watched for signs of him getting sleepy. When he was starting to get tired, we went to the bedroom and repeated our pillow fight from earlier. He was beside himself with laughter and a little too worked up to fall asleep immediately. Perfect!
I lay down on some couch cushions that Shawn had stuffed between Alex’s mattress and the wall. We thought this was a wonderful idea, it gives me a place to lay down with Alex, and prevents Alex from rolling off the bed and startling himself awake. Alex lay down next to me and nursed, wandered over to our bed where Shawn was laying, wandered back over to me to nurse, investigated his new bed area, kicked at the walls... It went like this for about 45 minutes till he fell asleep. I moved back to my bed and snuggled with my husband again. I could get used to this!
About an hour later, I woke up to Alex patting my hip. He was asking to come into our bed. I pulled him up and he sleepily rooted for my breast. We fell back asleep. About two hours later, I woke up to find him back in his own bed. I didn’t notice him getting out of our bed, but there he was! I smiled and went back to sleep. Sometime during the night he climbed back into our bed and remained for the rest of the night. I woke up with him snuggled into my armpit.
I will write more as the nights wear on...