A few months ago, we converted my two-and-a-half-year-old son’s crib to a toddler bed. It’s a rite of passage that all parents and toddlers go through. He wasn’t climbing out or anything, but he’s a sturdy kid and I was getting really tired of lifting him in and out (read: it was starting to hurt my back, okay?).
I fully expected him to climb out out and over again once we installed the toddler rail, but to my surprise…he stayed put. I spent a week getting him very excited for his big-boy bed then warned him that if he got out of it when he wasn’t supposed to, we’d have to go back to the crib. Evil? Maybe. But it worked!
So, we have the staying-in-bed part down. The getting-settled-in-for-bedtime part? Not so much.
Here are nine of (many) reasons my toddler simply can’t go to bed right now.
1. “I forgot something.”
No two year old can go to bed without his very important things, right? What those things are, of course, is not entirely clear.
Him: “I forgot some-ting.”
Me: “What did you forget?”
Me: “Yes, but what is that thing that you forgot?”
Him: [Puts his hand to his chin like every children’s TV character who’s ever been deep in thought] “... Some-ting.”
**Repeat 17 times.**
2. “My tummy hurts.”
It’s both a blessing and a curse when little kids finally learn to communicate about their bodies. You want to be attentive to every concern, but when a stomachache magically manifests every time your toddler doesn’t want to do something, it’s hard to take reports of tummy troubles seriously.
Luckily, I’ve found a workaround for this one: I have my son convinced that if he lays flat on his stomach and takes big, deep breaths, it will help him fart and therefore help his tummy feel better (which is true!). He doesn’t need to know that going through the same motions will also help him fall asleep.
3. “I need a boo boo buster.”
“Boo boo buster” is what we call a band-aid around here, and it’s safe to say my kid is obsessed with them. And once the lights are out, he’ll often find (er, make up) some reason to get one. Except he’s not really making up the scrape on his knee — you know, the one he got three days ago — or the bruise on his arm that wouldn’t benefit from a bandaid (but you try telling a two-year-old that!).
The boo boo buster demand is extra smart on his part, because it requires turning on the lights, and taking off at least one section of jammies to inspect the problem area. And once I finally turn the lights back off, we have to start the singing and tucking in all over again.
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4. “There’s water in my ears.”
Oh, you want me to get the water out of your ears? Even though when I asked if there was water in your ears 20 minutes ago you told me no? You do know this requires me to turn on the light so I don’t permanently injure you with the Q-tip I already know I’m not supposed to be sticking in your ear, right? Silly me; of course you do!
5. “I need you to tuck my feet in!”
By this point, reader, you’ve probably guessed that I already tucked in his feet (a few times) but he kicked off the covers in an attempt to prolong the bedtime routine.
6. “I’m not sleepy.”
Oh, really? You just skipped your nap today, then cried when your mac and cheese didn’t have peas. Then you cried when I added peas because apparently you didn’t really want peas in it, you just wanted to cry about the lack of peas. Then you cried because you didn’t want to get into the bath. And then you cried because you didn’t want to get out of the bath. No, you’re definitely not sleepy, kid.
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7. “We need to read more books.”
No way, dude! I said we were going to read two books tonight and you found a way to trick the system and we’ve already read Goodnight Moon 17 times.
8. “I need my dinosaur.”
For some reason this only happens with this one particular stuffed toy, but my son will claim he needs his dinosaur before he can go to sleep. And while he’s never actually slept with said dinosaur in his bed I, a sucker, get the dinosaur. Then he decides he doesn’t want it in his room. Of course he has to be the one to get up and take it back to the living room.
9. “I want to snuggle.”
Dammit. You know I can’t resist this one. Scoot over.
Emily Farris is a writer, recipe developer, prop stylist, and blogger. She lives in Kansas City, MO, with her husband, toddler son, and two rowdy dogs.
If you're contemplating transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed, we have a rails to make the process quick and easy. Check out our papa, max, and retro rails...just try not to cry when you realize they're a big kid now...