Yesterday was a rough day around here. After thinking and plotting and planning for a couple of months, I decided it was time for Wendy to learn to sleep in a toddler bed. Her crib is one of the convertible ones, so all we had to do was remove the gate and attach two bed rails to make it more of a bed and less of a crib.
The actual conversion was pretty painless (after James figured out I was using the wrong bolts), so I got her ready for a nap and told her to go to bed. Her eyes lit up when she saw her new Wendy-sized bed. She climbed right in and laid down, and I tucked her in with Bear and Yow (her bright pink stuffed kitty - "yow" = "meow") and her Blankie.
I left her door open & I sat in the living room, so that I could see her if she got out of bed. Boy, did she ever get out of bed. She climbed out & got in her playhouse. She tossed Bear overboard & got down to get him, and repeated that about ten times. She realized she could slide over the edge of the bed on her belly. She saw another bear in the corner of the room that she wanted to have in bed with her. Eventually, she even realized I could hear her getting up, so she was very sneaky and was very quiet getting out of bed, and I saw her carefully peeking around the door frame.
And so, for the next two hours, I had to go in there about every 4-5 minutes to scold her, smack her little diapered bum, and re-tuck her into bed. Eventually, two hours after her nap was scheduled to begin, she fell asleep out of exhaustion.
She slept for about two hours, and didn't fall out of the bed or anything. I was concerned that bedtime would be another two-hour scolding/smacking session, and I was pleasantly surprised. We got her all ready for bed, tucked her in, said our "Night-night, God" prayers, and left the room. She played for a little while, but she was very good and didn't get out of bed even once. In just twenty minutes or so she was asleep.
Perseverance definitely has its rewards. I'm sure we'll have trouble in the future with her getting out of bed, but I think that difficult two hours of discipline was worth it - I can tell she understands that she's supposed to stay in bed. I hope I can remember the benefits of perseverance and apply it to her training in other areas!