Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Making of a Big Girl

Amelia’s hit some serious milestones lately. (I almost said she’s ‘passed’ some serious milestones lately until I realized that made it sound like she had some kind of gastrointestinal problems. ha) They’ve gone undocumented largely because I only take pictures with my phone anymore. But they were the last steps away from toddlerhood and towards full-blown preschooler so require a mention.

After Amelia potty-trained last winter/spring, there were really only two more big bumps outta babyhood—moving out of the crib and then sleeping through the night without a diaper. These are both huge transitions for sure and required some timing and planning. With us moving in February, we decided that both of these transitions might just be more successful once we’d settled. Not only that, they kind of needed to go in order. I didn’t see the point in moving her out of the nighttime diaper if she was still in her crib—and therefore unable to go to the toilet in the night. Not fair, right? Luckily, we were able to make these moves on our own decision because Amelia never once expressed an interest in climbing out of her crib. I’m pretty sure that she’d still be sleeping in that thing just fine until her legs couldn’t fit any longer. I think in the end, she enjoyed having someone come get her every morning. and was fairly content being locked in. Her little OCD personality finds comfort in rigidity and narrow options. I honestly don’t know where she comes from.

In any case, we didn’t wait long after we moved to get her into the Big Girl Bed. She slept fine in the new house from the first night so there wasn’t much of a transition there. We just decided to go for it one Saturday. We’d been hyping it up to her for months. She could have a Big Girl Bed like her friends at preschool and THEN she’d be able to sleep in panties! Exciting stuff! Of course, we also braced for the worst. It seems like the real sleep horror stories always start with the Big Kid bed. . .


Of course she HAD to get her tool set out to help Daddy with the change. (Justin is amazing at letting her get in there and ‘help’ him even though it makes everything take longer and requires more patience than he carries in his skin. She loves using those tools and LOVES doing things just like her Daddy.)

making big girl bed



big girl bed

“Take my picture on the Big Goil Bed Mama!”

And wouldn’t you know that she went to bed that night and slept until the next morning! I figured she didn’t quite grasp the reality of her own freedom that night and expected her to lie in bed yelling for us in the morning. That would be the only explanation to her staying put all night, right? Until she came into our room the next morning saying, “Mamamama, I got out of bed and came to see you all by myself!” She was so proud. And apparently aware of her own freedom . . . and still stayed in bed all night?! Is it possible?

Not to say that we haven’t had to chase her back to bed a million times since then, but once asleep, the kid stays in bed. (Yikes, should I even say that out loud?) And instead of really getting up, she’ll stand at her door yelling “peeeepeeeee” waiting for an escort—which is actually annoying. However, all said, the big transition that Justin and I were dreading for over a year turned out to be mostly a non-issue. Phew. Finally a sleep transition that wasn’t a complete and total horror. And it turns out that all that hard work we’ve put into her sleeping over the years has paid off! Paid off, people! It’s not easy to draw those hard lines, but heaven knows it’s worth it when your babychild sleeps fairly reliably.

Of course, we’ll see how this all goes when Baby is here. I shudder to even consider the sleep problems of having TWO. gah.

And then it was decided that she needed new, Big Girl Bedding to make it official and special.

new bedding

Rainbow and yellow dot reversible duvet cover, rainbow and yellow dot pillowcase, and crazy red stripe sheet. Made by moi, using various patterns I found online. The comforter is from Ikea (read: CHEAP) and I spent a fraction of what I would’ve paid for a crappy store-bought set. Turns out that the only options for girls’ bedding is pink, purple, and more pink. It’s not the color necessarily that is so annoying as much as the narrow option of two colors that are meant for girls. Really?! She loves, loves, LOVES her new bedding and it’s even been an incentive for her to go to bed. She picks each night which side of the comforter she wants touching her and the night it was all done (see pic), she asked to go to bed early! (And so began my obsession with all things home decor and DIY.)

Not long after she’d moved to the whole big bed thing, we decided to go for the nighttime diaper deal. This one is tricky. While Amelia has been in undies since she was about 20 months or so and completely potty trained by around 2. (That is, except for a stint last summer when she suddenly reverted back to serial accidents. This occurred when she was with the effing ex-nanny 4 days a week. Amazingly enough, two weeks into preschool and away from said useless nanny, she was miraculously potty trained again. pshhaw) Despite her early success without diapers, Amelia still woke up with a full diaper every morning until about a month ago. I never really pushed the night thing because everyone told me she’d eventually just wake up dry. I struggled to identify is she was just peeing in her sleep or if she didn’t bother holding it because she was in a diaper. We’d tried to go cold turkey before but she ended up in tears worried about peeing on her new, pretty sheets. So we decided to finish out the last pack of nighttime diapers (she’s been a super pee-er at night since before she was a year old and has had to use the nighttime dipes because she’d pee right through regular ones. eek) and go from there. Every night, I’d have her get a diaper out of her closet and count how many were left and then we’d say make a big deal about when they were gone, she’d get to sleep in panties. Oh and wouldn’t panties be more comfortable? Wouldn’t she feel like such a big girl going to bed in panties?? The problem? She was still not waking up with a dry diaper so I didn’t know what the deal was. Then, we had a conversation that went like this, “Sweetie, why don’t you try to keep your diaper dry tonight?”

“Because I pee in it.”

“But you don’t have to pee in it.”

“But it’s a diaper.”

“Do you want to just wear panties to bed.”

“No because then I can’t pee.”

“Well why don’t you try to not pee in your diaper?”

“Because it’s a diaper mama.”

So then I knew that she was never going to wake up in a dry diaper. As long as she had the diaper on, she’d pee. After all, isn’t that what a diaper is for?? She’d outsmarted the system. Cold turkey was the only option.

When the diapers were gone, she put panties on and went to bed. I think she had one accident that night and woke up terribly distraught. We changed her and the bed and then she made it till morning. Since then, it’s been a month of hit or miss. She has more successful, dry nights than not, but still a couple accidents a week probably. There’s no going back to diapers because, again, there’s no reason for her to stay dry in them. But I also think that she sleeps hard enough to not wake up sometimes when she has to pee. So onward we trudge. We’ve figured out that if we ‘wake’ her and take her for a potty break before we go to bed (around midnight or so), she stumbles like a drunk into the bathroom, pees, and runs back to bed. Typically, that’s enough to get her through the morning. It has been our trick for success so far. However, I wonder if it’s not helping her learn to hold it? I don’t know, but for now it works and I trust that she’ll figure it out. Either to hold it all night or to wake up and go on her own. . . Mostly successful, but ultimately still in the air for now.

THEN just after her birthday, Amelia promoted out of the 2-year-old class and into the 3-year-old room at school! A new teacher, routine, and classmates! Since she is slow to warm to new people, we were worried about this transition, but she appears to be doing well so far. I hear she’s a little clingy with her new teacher, but still doing just fine—even as she goes three days a week now instead of two! Such a big girl.

First day of her new class!

3 year old class

And just like that—Amelia Jane is a little kid. All traces of the baby are gone. There of course are still many a transition ahead, but in the last few months, all of those last baby to child steps have been taken. They were big steps, but she’s taken them smoothly and without too much ado. Funny how that happens.

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