Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Big Boy Room

Benjamin is still in his crib. And he loves it. Like, so much that I worry about switching him to a toddler bed because he sleeps so well and clearly feels very comfortable in his crib. Sleep at night ranges from 10-12 hours and naps are usually 2-3 hours long. When sleep is over, he often asks to be put back in his crib (after unsuccessfully trying to get in himself) to either jump, walk around, or lay down.

With the hope that we'll have a baby coming home to eventually take over said crib this winter, we're struggling with what to do with Benjamin. I don't want to buy two cribs, especially since Claire will hopefully be transitioned to that crib well past Benjamin turning two. If we're lucky, she'll be in the co-sleeper Benjamin used in our room for the first 3 months. And just like Benjamin, we'd like to transition her sometime at the end of spring into the real crib.

Which means he needs to get the boot. But sooner probably. Because we're concerned that he'll feel like he really is getting the proverbial boot because he has a little sister who is now invading his life and space. We don't want him to feel that way. Like, at all.

So our plan is to transition him before (if) she comes home. He'll have his own new room that are independent of her. After all, the crib will remain empty until months after she comes home, so the transition will be well in place and the thought of replacing him in the crib won't take place. Right?

But I'm nervous. He sleeps so well, you guys. And he loves that bed. And the transition plan we currently have in place is for DECEMBER. Like just a few weeks away.

In order to hopefully get the ball rolling on things and get him excited about the process and new things, we painted his eventual big boy room, bought a bed, new bedding, and moved many of the wall hangings and toys in there from the nursery. Some things stay behind as nursery decor, but other things are his for the win. We did this in September because I had a gift card paired with a sale at Sherwin-Williams to use for the paint. And if you know anything about Chicago weather, you know painting in the winter is not ideal because windows cannot be opened without reducing yourself to an icicle. And I'm not about letting that warm air we spend gobs on each month. Even with no-VOC paint, the primer was not no-VOC and it is still smelly to me. In fact, months later and I still think it stinks like new paint.

We got to work patching and cleaning the walls. The little boy who lived in there before really liked putting masking tape on his walls, which required a bit of sanding. There is a white chair rail in the room already, so we kept it. The room was already blue on bottom and white on top, but they used a thick brush to make textured brush lines that were just... ugly.

For a whole month after we finished his room, he was elated to go in there. He still likes it, but it's lost some of its luster. We even call it his big boy room and when we ask if he'd like to play in his big boy room, he runs, heads upstairs and charges down the hall to his room. He jumps on the bed. He lays on the bed. He plays with his toys. He pulls every single person anywhere within 50 feet of him into the closet where he has designated himself a fort. And closes the closet.

But I'm not sure he gets that the big boy room means no more sleeping in his beloved crib, in his beloved nursery.

These pictures are after I cleaned the train-wreck that it was yesterday. Just waiting for him to discover it's been cleaned and clear the books off the shelf in 4 seconds flat.
view from the hall

Toddler bed purchased because it was a floor model clearance from IKEA.
The cushion under is more for fort playing and is actually for outdoor chairs of which we don't own.
Will make for a good padding if he rolls off... or to help him up or out of the bed.
The white dresser is the one I refinished. It's bolted to the wall in three places. As is that corner shelf .
Curtains are the same we have in our bedroom. We love them. They're dark, dark, dark.
Had this baby since high school.
Nothing on the walls where the bed resides.
We have two frames to hang but having trouble deciding where to hang without leaving too much wallspace bare.
The moose was transferred as we made it during Benjamin's newborn days and just love it.
We replaced it with the ol' ABC chart passed down from Ray's cousin. We love that, too.
Since we're pregnant with a girl, the blue trunk is officially Benjamin's.
Air Force Academy Cadets all receive one and this was his dad's...still with his squadron # written on with black sharpie.
New clock. Hopefully we can teach him that he can only come out of his room when the little hands reaches the 7?
The two frames we have yet to hang...a Bears frame and his first stock from Tootsie Roll (Chicago company)
The closet, aka Benjamin's fort. That's a mattress top padding thing we bought and always hated on our bed.
If he sees you, you will be in that closet with a book and stern directions to turn on the light, sit & read. Be warned.
Paint: Sherwin-Williams: {top}: Icicle {bottom}: Bracing Blue
Bed: IKEA Kritter toddler bed, white + side rail
Bedding: IKEA white fitted sheet & Vandring Skogsliv duvet & duvet interior
Clock: IKEA Pugg
Rug: IKEA Lekplats
Dresser: Refinished piece of furniture
Bookshelf: IKEA, but no longer carried item & I have no idea the name
Car: Gift from friends
Moose: Project ala Benjamin's dad and my awesome husband (inspired by Anthropologie)
Curtains: IKEA Werna; curtain rod also IKEA Racka
Holdbacks: Menards

All is ready, as you can see. Sheets are cleaned and curtains are hung. And yet we're hesitant. It's not like we can't make do with the pack'n'play if we must once/if Claire is here safely and needs to transition from the co-sleeper. But, we don't want to mess with the psyche of our kids and confuse both of them. We want him to ideally transition well, love his big boy bed as much as his crib and stay happily playing until 7:30 each morning.

And to bring a baby girl home, have her in the co-sleeper for 3 months and transition her easily to the crib where she will sleep full nights by at least 6 months of age. I know this is all probably a pipe-dream, but dreams are dreams.

Advice for the parents who are a little scared to rock the boat with our toddler?


Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

That's tricky...

This is my honest opinion, which you are totally free to dismiss. I think I'd buy another inexpensive crib (seriously wa.lmart's website has some totally cute ones, not to mention i.kea). Not because you can't do a successful transition, but because it sounds like so much WORK and B sleeps so WELL and... I just wouldn't want to mess with that while also dealing with a newborn. I mean... you'd be out $200-250 for a new crib and mattress and it's not like that's pocket change, but damn. I'd happily pay $200 to keep my toddler sleeping well.

But I am lazy and I love my sleep and Zuzu was a little late to the sleep-all-night party, so I still treasure those uninterrupted hours.

Obviously I have no experience with this, so I wish you the best of luck and hope to learn from you!

Her and Her and Him said... [Reply to comment]

I don't know if I've commented before, so if not...Hi, I'm Heather, fellow Chicago suburb mom to Joshua, Emily and Erica. I found your blog just before Benjamin was born. First I'd like to say congrats and I am wishing you all the best in your pregnancy with Claire. I was just writing to say that we did the same thing you're doing with him now when we transitioned my son into his big boy bedroom before our girls were born. In our experience, wholly admitting that my son is the easiest, go with the flow kid, the transition was way easier then I thought it would be! He was fine in his bed, loved it just as much as his crib and we didn't suffer any sleep regression. Just saying it can happen! Good luck with whatever decide.

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

I'm totally with Brooke. G slept in her crib, happily, until 3.5 and is so used to being 'trapped' has been in a big girl bed for 8 months and still doesn't leave without me coming to get her. I paid maybe a hundred bucks for her crib and totally would have bought another just to keep naptime.

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

Also I love the room!!

Mihaela said... [Reply to comment]

I read all the time, I am a bad commentator mostly because the phone tends to eat my comments. Commented before about the please. Anyway, not much advice here (just curious to see how transition goes for you), but a suggestion. If you do move forward with the big boy bed, have you thought about using one of those color clocks that turns different colors when it's time to get out of bed or still stay asleep? We got one as a gift and while we don't use it yet, it looks pretty awesome. Can even be set for nap times too. Also, I plan on taking lots of notes on how transition goes for you. My son is about a month younger than yours :)

Party of Three Heads said... [Reply to comment]

I'm with Brooke... I would have SO bought another crib, a 4 in one... where it converts to a toddler bed with rail, toddler bed without rail, Full Bed, and crib of course. Colston's crib is now his bed in his room, converted to a full size bed and he LOVES it! He stayed in his crib, with all 4 sides of crib up, until he was 32 months.... lol Just a thought.... you deff wouldn't be out on money, because both kids could use the bed for years...

Amy said... [Reply to comment]

Buy another crib. It will be worth it. Also be careful of the trunk in his room. If he is not in a crib you would not want him opening the trunk during naptime and having the lid fall on his neck. This has happened to many kids with a very sad outcome.

Mama Bear said... [Reply to comment]

Though I'm also inexperienced in this arena (man I hate that we aren't old hat at this all!), I'd get another crib too. Maybe a friend has one to borrow for six months?

Good luck with whatever you decide! Room looks great. I love that B gets Dadda's trunk.

Rachel said... [Reply to comment]

I have to agree with the first comment. The big boy room is adorable, and could definitely be used in the future. We moved our daughter to a big girl bed when she was a little over 3 years old. I know many, MANY people who have tried to transition before their toddler was really ready, and it always turned out to be pretty miserable for all involved. But we waited til our daughter was older and clearly ready, and it was a very smoothe transition (relatively speaking). Ikea has cribs for like less than $200 that have great safety ratings. Or maybe the little one can stay in a pack n play for a while.... or the borrowing a crib is a good idea too. It just sounds like everyone will be so much happier with him staying in a crib a bit longer.

Rachel said... [Reply to comment]

oh one more thing. the same day we moved my daughter to a bed (at a little over 3 yrs old) was also the same day she had her very last non-car nap. sigh

SuzyQpon said... [Reply to comment]

Have you asked Benjamin if he would like to take a nap in his big boy room? That might be a way to test the waters and see how receptive he is to sleeping in that bed/room. My son was just past 3 when I moved him. He LOVED his crib just like Benjamin. I was nervous but he took to his big boy bed like it was nothing but a thing. Everyone swore he would get up 1000 times now that he was "free" but he never did. He's 5 now and just within the past few months he has started getting out of bed and coming downstairs. Before that, he would stay in bed "reading" or playing. (Lest you think I have a sleep angel, he didn't sleep through the night until he was 7 months old.) If he truly revolts, buy a convertible crib so it will grow with him and not be a waste of money. Then keep the toddler bed for Claire. It will be worth the $ in order for everyone to get some sleep (but hopefully it won't come to that)! Good luck.

ekiwi said... [Reply to comment]

Um, hi. Love the room (especially that secret reading fort/nook... Good thinking B ;)) But what I really need is for you to teach me how to get a baby to sleep in their crib all night long and love it. Ok, thanks.

Danielle said... [Reply to comment]

you know how i feel about sleep... so i say buy Claire her own crib that transitions to a toddler bed to a queens size headboard and call it a day!
Let B sleep in his crib till he's ready for the bed. Move the crib into his new room anytime you want before Claire hopefully arrives!
But what do i know... Nathanael's 4 and still sleeps in his crib :D good luck!

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

Well, I definitely have no advice, since we obvi have no new siblings for our little one. But just wanted to say that A slept in our room in the cosleeper and later, her Rock n' Play until she was 6 months old. She easily transitioned into her crib and almost STTN at that time. Just wanted to let you know that in case B needs the crib longer or Claire needs to be with you guys longer. We were worried that 6 months in our room would make Av 'attached' to our room but the transition was totally seamless. PS- The room looks great, totally makes me want to take a trip to IKEA for Av's toddler room soon.

Brie said... [Reply to comment]

The room is awesome! No advice for ya. Just some well wishes for a successful transition!

Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

If he's playing and reading in there, he will be comfortable sleeping in there. Why is this transition so worrisome for parents? It's not a very big deal! Toddlers at 23-27 months are very perceptive (we should give them more 'smart' credit) of themselves and others. He'll likely want to be very 'big' soon after Claire arrives! And that motivation helps with everything from feeding oneself to potty training later. Yessss!

Some suggestions are: 1) include his 'help' in disassembling the crib about 2-3 weeks before Claire arrives. Put it out of sight while she's in co-sleeper. Take a picture in the toddler bed that night. 2) Have dad wrestle and play games on your big bed. Lay down next to him and snuggle on his toddler bed. Skype grandma on the new bed to show it off. Make big beds special with new routines.

Are you worried that he'll roam and never sleep? It may happen, but not for long - he'll be too tired soon enough. Personally, I put the newborn down for a nap first (guaranteed sleeper), and then lay next to the toddler and sang until eyes were super heavy. It was sometimes a mini nap for me :-) Toddlers have a window of sleepiness and you're a flexible person. You can do it!

Kristi said... [Reply to comment]

You know me and how I always want to save $ if possible. I think you'll know the right time to make the transition so it will work well for all. I totally think it can be done successfully without having to buy another crib.

Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

You know my issues which forced us out of the crib earlier than I wanted and the boy starts the morning at 5:45 every day :( We did the transition because of new baby with olders and it was fine, but they never really slept as well...something about their first taste of freedom. I am with a new crib if you don't want to deal with runaway toddler and newborn baby, but 8 weeks is a good time frame to work out the kinks...there is no handbook...Godspeed!!! :)