There is an added urgency to transit Anya from the cot to the little girl's bed. We had initially bought the bed thinking that we will train her to sleep in it before Mini Bun arrives. However, we changed our minds after reading from a few sources that the toddler may be stressed out by the transition if she is not ready, especially so if a younger sibling is coming along for the toddler may feel like she is being pushed out of her safety haven (cot). We reckon that we can wait since Mini Bun will be sleeping in a playpen in our room (for ease of breastfeeding) for the first few months after she arrived.
Therefore, she remains in her cot though we made an effort to pave the way by doing the following for the past couple of months:
- we let her drink her milk on the bed as a form of 'warming up' to it.
- we tell her that the cot is for babies while the bed is for little girl. At the same time, we start identifying her as a little girl instead of a baby.
- occasionally, when we are out on the way home and she fell asleep in the car, we put her on the bed when we got back.
- every now and then, we ask her at naptime if she wants to sleep in her cot or on her bed. Once or twice, she actually chose bed and successfully slept in it.
As always, all was nice and peaceful in the flat after she went down for her nap at around noontime. Twenty minutes later, the Helper and I were making lunch in the kitchen when I thought I heard her cry. Twice, in fact, very soft muffled ones. But The Helper said that it was our upstairs neighbours. Deciphering Anya's cries has always been a confusing thing for us, given that our next door neighbour has two little girls while our directly upstairs neighbour has four children ranging from toddler stage to 7 years old. At the third cry, louder this time, we were certain it was her.
Puzzled as to why she woke up so quickly, I went to check on her. I found her sprawled in her cot, face down on her fours. Errmm.. on her threes to be exact as her right leg was trapped in between the railings of the cot. She must have been caught there for some time and tried to wriggle herself out on her own for a while but had made things worse as her kneecap was jutted out of the cot while her thigh was wedged tightly in between two rails.
For a few seconds, I worked on helping to release her but to no avail while her cries continued to escalate. I was halfway yelling for The Helper to fetch some olive oil to help lubricate her thigh when we finally managed to release her. By then, there was a huge nasty patch of red on her thigh with an apparent blue-black bruise the size of 2 ten-cents coins forming in the center of the red patch (I later spotted another blue-black bruise on her inner thigh as well). The poor tod was crying piteously and refused to let me rub the bruise.
Given all that trauma and that she hardly slept, she was visibly tired after her lunch. So, I told her that I was going to put her down for another nap. I tried putting her in her cot but she kept pointing at the spot that caught her leg and yelling, "No! Booboo!". Therefore, I gave her an option (refer to aforementioned Point 4). Unsurprisingly, she chose bed and promptly slept there for an hour.
When nighttime came, The Husband and I decided that we were not ready to let her sleep in the bed through the night. We prefer to ensure that she can sleep and get on and off the bed on her own during naptimes before extending it to bedtimes. So after prayers and goodnight kisses, into the cot she went. And boy did she resist! She cried, she screamed, she refused to lie down at all. To cut the story short, it took The Husband 30 minutes to soothe her off to lala-land which involved him lying down next to her on the hard wooden floor and giving her repeated words of assurance.
Today, sleep-training on the bed officially kick starts. At noon time, with the exception of her being placed in her bed instead of cot, we went through pretty much the same routine of saying goodbyes, drinking water etc. I took it as a good sign when she happily waved goodbye to me before I closed the door. Unfortunately, 30 minutes later, she was banging on the door. I went in to check on her only to realise that she pooped. Okay, that is a legitimate reason for not sleeping. After washing her and changing her diaper, she was all perked up with all sleepiness out of the windows. So I decided to try putting her down again after her lunch.
Second attempt - failed again. This time round, she was already banging the door less than 10 minutes after I left her. My biggest fear of sleep-training her on the bed has come true - she abusing her newfound freedom and mobility. I went into her room, closed the door behind me and tried staying with her while coaxing her to stay in bed. Nope, sleep was not on her agenda. She preferred to play, to dance, to read, whatever that she can do except to sleep while within the confinement of her room.
Third attempt - after her five o'clock milk feed (This is usually her second naptime). Before her milkfeed, I shifted one of our surveillance cameras into her room that I can monitor her from my laptop. After her milk, she was visibly tired although she refused to stay in bed. I let her play for ten minutes or so before announcing that she has to go down for her nap. While she happily say her goodbyes when I tucked her in bed, I knew that she was not about to sleep as she was already sitting up even before I left the room.
For the next fifteen minutes, I sat in front of my laptop, my attention rapt as I spied my little girl cavorting in her room. She pranced around, dancing to a tune in her head, she picked out story books, she cradled Eeyore and placed him in her doll's pram, pushing him around the room. At one point, she was even 'looking right back at me' as she studied the new intruder (the surveillance camera) in her room.
Gradually, her movements slowed down as she started rubbing her eyes more and more. Eventually, she picked up the dummy and hanky that she left on the floor earlier and sat on the floor against the door, stoned. You may wonder, why didn't she climbed back onto bed? Now, my guess is that the self-created pile of toys cum bedding that now lie on the bed has something to do with it. Instead, there she was on the floor, nodding off as she tried to sit up while I watched her from the camera, willing her to go back to the bed as my heart sank lower and lower. Then, I remembered that I really do not have telepathic powers and walked over to outside her room, calling for her to go sleep on her bed.
Upon hearing my voice, she started crying. Feeling sorry, I went in, carried her onto her bed and lay down beside her and held her until she finally dozed off.
Gee, not a good start, I must admit. Am not so sure how this sleep-training will turn out. If she continues to be resistant in the next few days, we may just stop for now and let her go back to the cot. The last thing that we want is for her to have a bad anchor on the bed. Well, prayerfully it will turn out well.