Monday, January 23

Our 'big' girl.

It's been a week.

Little lady has made the 'big' transition from crib to toddler bed. It didn't happen the way that I had imagined it would happen. We have put it off for so long because she has always done so well with her crib and, well why mess with something that is working!

She had crawled in and out of her crib maybe twice and when I told her sternly that she wasn't to do that, she never did it again. But it came time that something had to change.

Roughly two weeks ago she started having, I guess I'd call it panic attacks when we would put her to bed. She would act afraid but not of anything in particular. She would just start screaming and franticaly crying as soon as we would leave the room, in fact she wouldn't want us to leave the room but stay while she fell asleep. And even if she would wakeup and we weren't there she would scream and cry until we came back in. This would go on until she was hysterical and not able to talk through her heavy breathing.

It was probably the most difficult situation we have faced as parents so far. I was at the point of hysterical crying myself and felt so helpless as to where to go for help or what to do to resolve the issue. I desperately wanted to help her feel safe and know that she could sleep and fall asleep without any fear.

We tried all that we could think of on our own. We prayed with her, prayed over her room, prayed for her while she fell asleep with us sitting right by her bed. Sang worship songs, talked to her about how Jesus is with her and she can talk to Him when she is afraid. She understands and knows these things, but she was still having anxiety about us leaving her.

She would just cry that she misses us and wants us to stay with her, right by her side. It was heartbreaking. Finally we did what we should have done first. Hubby and I went on our knees before the Lord and asked for wisdom and direction on how to take care of our baby girl. How where we to handle the situation to help her work through it without causing more problems or catering to possible age related control battles.

After crying out to God for His direction and wisdom in the situation we decided to look online for any kind of information. Hubby found an article that pretty much described exactly what we were experiencing. It said that it was a form of separation anxiety and that being a toddler and still in a crib can sometimes make it worse. That is creates a barrier and they can feel trapped.

There were other suggestions to help her work through the separation fears. That's when we knew it was time to take the crib down and bring out her toddler bed. We had a toddler bed in storage that a friend found for us at the thrift store back before Little Dude was born. I was nervous about how it was going to go but I really think the desperation for something to help with her separation anxiety overshadowed any reservations I had about how the toddler bed would go.

We set it all up and made a big deal about it. We got her a 'grown up' size pillow and rearranged her room {she has so much more free space in her room now with out a bulky crib!} to be more of a play room. She was so excited and both kids came in and immediately went up on her new 'big girl' bed! So far the transition has been a very positive one and Little Lady is begging me to go up there and play in her room all day long! Sometimes I let them go up there and put a baby gate in her door way so they can play and I'm able to get stuff done! It's really been great.

That's day time anyway. Nights and naps are hit and miss. Part of the process is to tuck her into bed and assure her that you will be back to check on her. Sometimes I sit with her for a couple minutes but then I leave and wait a while before I come back. At first I could only be gone for 2 minutes before she would start to panic again. But gradually we have made it longer and longer and now I can leave and sometimes she is out cold before I return to check on her.

The hardest part is having to leave her door open now, but she prefers it open. Hubby and I have to tip toe around until she falls asleep and that can be frustrating. But as soon as she's asleep we can go through the upstairs freely and she usually sleeps through even her brother waking up.

It's hard to believe my baby girl is a 'big' girl now, I can still remember setting up her nursery when I was  pregnant and then bringing her home and just holding and rocking her in there. I'll always have those memories!

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