Awhile back, John and I were discussing how to maintain some continuity for the girls as we are about to embark on 7 months of transition. One particular area I was concerned about was sleeping. Both of my girls are good sleepers and seem to need a lot of sleep. Since I know how I feel when they don't get enough sleep, much less how they feel, we were trying to figure out how to help them get good sleep while we're gone. They'll need to sleep in hotel rooms, at friend's homes, sometimes in the same room with us and sometimes in a separate room. We'll be at Grandpa and Grandma Roelofs' house for awhile, and at Grandma Wind's house for awhile. We'll be at a camp in Kentucky for several weeks, and at John's sister's home in New York for a week, and the list goes on. So in all of these transitions, how to maintain the same bedtime routine to help them sleep well?
For Chloe, it will be easy. We have a travel-sized pack-n-play for her that she has been sleeping in since she returned to our city after being born in a different country. So we're planning to take that along. But Clara Anne's situation required a bit more thought. She is 2 years old now, and potty-trained. She is still sleeping in a crib here at home, but only because we had not yet bought a big girl bed for her, since it really wouldn't fit in our present apartment--she and Chloe are in the same room and there isn't quite enough room for a twin bed.
But then someone suggested to us a toddler ready bed--essentially an air mattress which has a sleeping bag fitted over it. It is very portable and folds up easily, and yet gives the idea of a big-girl bed. "Perfect!" we thought. "We'll buy one and use it during January to help Clara Anne get the idea of it, and to train her to stay in it at night, and then when we travel she'll already be accustomed to it and it'll all be great!"
However, it wasn't quite that easy. We looked on Amazon.com and found a fun Dora the Explorer bed that we thought Clara Anne would love. (She still has only seen the show once or twice on DVD, but she loves the idea of Dora.) But Amazon wouldn't ship this product internationally. We decided it was important enough to pay shipping twice, so we had it shipped to my parents and then they shipped it over here. It arrived a few days after Christmas, but our first disappointment was that it wasn't the model we thought we had ordered! Bummer!
Oh well, we opened the package anyway and let Clara Anne see the bed and start to get excited about it. But, the very first day we opened it up, pumped it up and let Clara Anne lie/play on it for awhile, it wasn't too long when we noticed it was losing air. Bummer again!
Then, Clara Anne had her own ideas about the bed. She loved to play on it, put her dolls to sleep in it, etc, but anytime that I suggested that she sleep in it, she immediately cried and refused to get near it. I was truly baffled by this response. All of my entreaties were to no avail! Finally, since I didn't want to push it too much, I just let it go and let her sleep in her crib, where she obviously felt more safe and secure.
But the other night we had a breakthrough. As Clara Anne was going to bed for the night, she said, "Sleep on Dora! Sleep on Dora!" Seeing that she was sincere, I let her have the (deflated)Dora bed inside her crib, just so she could have the fun of sleeping on it, thinking that maybe in the future it would be an easier transition to sleeping on it alone. However, when I entered her room not more than 20 minutes later to help Chloe settle down a bit, I found that Clara Anne had gotten the sleeping bag part unzipped, climbed out of it by herself, and then proceeded to toss the entire thing over the side of her crib. Take that, Dora!
Since then though, we've had one successful nap on Dora outside the crib, and one night on Dora inside the crib. Maybe we're making progress! Tonight, though, Clara first wanted to sleep on Dora, then after I had gotten it all arranged she tossed Dora overboard again, and then cried for the Dora bed to be put back! Good grief, make up your mind, Clara Anne!
Since we only have a little more than a week left at home, the day is coming when Clara Anne will have no option--it's Dora or the floor-a! But we still haven't found the leak! I guess we'll add that to our list of to-dos before we leave! Until next time . . .