The weekend after our return from the Hawaii vacation, Mr. W changed Allie’s convertible crib to a toddler bed. The mattress is dropped closer to the ground, and the front rail is changed out and replaced with a half-rail. We’d talked to Allie about getting a “big girl bed” that big girls can climb in and out of on their own, and she wanted one. She was very excited after the conversion and wanted to go into her room to hang out on her bed during arbitrary times in the day.
We first explained that although she can climb in and out on her own, she is not to get in and out after she’s gone to bed. She ran around the room, pointing at various things, and said, “Can I touch this lamp? What about this cord? Can I touch this chair? How about this clock?” No, no, no. Only after her nap or in the morning after bedtime can she get out when we come get her.
She did well and only slipped a couple of times. One time in the first week, Jayne caught her in the camera, after crawling into bed for her nap, across the room reaching up on her dresser. Jayne opened the door, stuck her head in, and (according to Jayne) Allie froze mid-action with the horrified “I’ve been caught” look on her face. “Alliiiie,” Jayne said, “Are you supposed to be out of bed?” Allie’s chin and lower lip trembled as she shook her head. “Wanna come close the door and get back into bed?” Allie walked over, guilt-ridden look on her near-tearful face, and gently closed the door. Jayne watched her on camera climb right back into bed and stay there for the duration of her nap. In the mornings or after nap, when we see she’s been awake for awhile (10-15 mins), hanging out on her bed and playing with Mr. Bear or singing or whatever, we knock, and we watch her excitedly climb off her bed and run for the door and open it for us.
This is Allie’s first nap in the toddler bed. It went well and uneventfully.

This is Allie’s first night in the toddler bed. It also went well…sort of. But rest assured, she was asleep in these photos. And she did eventually get back on the bed on her own to finish out the night.

Notice all the padding on the floor. I was afraid she’d fall out. She didn’t like all the stuff under the opening, as I guess it hinders her ease of getting in and out (during permitted travel times). I finally agreed, after many uneventful weeks, to remove her safety padding as she’d always asked me to do. A few nights later, she fell out of bed. I went in to comfort the terrified sobbing girl, and from that moment on, she never again protested my putting the padding back under the opening. She fell out one other time (I think, as I didn’t see it, only heard 2 thumps and then the crying afterward), and that was luckily padded. The reason I wasn’t sure if she fell out, or if she may have gotten out on her own and tripped, is because I’ve seen her come out of bed briefly just to get back in facing the other way, or to go to sleep half-standing and half laying on her mattress thru the opening, and one time she did this:

Only this week, she started doing something new. She started opening the door on her own after I’ve put her to bed, asking for an extra drink of water, or another hug and kiss, or to bring up that we forgot to wash her face after dinner, or forgot to give her a vitamin. These requests are made in tears prior to her falling asleep, and I have no idea what’s wrong as she’s sometimes crying so hard she’s hiccupping her words. So far I’ve quickly obliged, mostly to calm her down, then she goes back to bed, insists on pushing the door closed like she does every night from inside the bed (standing against the rail closest to the door), then she lays down and the sobs subside and she goes to sleep. But in the morning, or post-nap, same thing. She awakens early and suddenly in tears, runs to the door and opens it, stands at the baby gate we put just outside her door so she doesn’t wander out in the middle of the night, calls tearfully, “Mommy! Daddy! I’m awake! I’m awake!” I’m hopeful this is just a phase. Or maybe it’s because she’s not feeling well, since she’s fighting an infection she’s never hinted at having any discomfort about. I’ll write about that next.

Next plan if this continues: I’ll stop indulging in her requests so she doesn’t think, “This works, I’ll keep doing it for attention or to stall my bedtime.” I’ll simply pick her up, tell her it’s bedtime baby, place her back into bed, give her a kiss goodnight, and leave, closing the door behind me. She gets up again, same thing but this time sans words, sans kiss. Just business, so she knows it’s ineffective. This should stop her if she’s doing it out of habit. I’m humoring her for now just in case it’s illness-related, because this is so uncharacteristic of her to wake up crying and needy.