It had to happen sometime.
We switched Nora to a big-girl bed shortly after her third birthday last spring, and aside from one early morning walk around the living room a few weeks after the transition, she's been staying put. But potty training seems to have given her a newfound sense of freedom – and a handy excuse to get out of bed by herself without getting in trouble.
We put her to bed around 8 p.m. and she usually stays there for a while, happily blabbing and singing to herself. (Though I now know, after walking in to check on her a little more stealthily than usual one evening, that sometimes she's standing *by* her bed as she blabs and sings, which through a baby monitor sounds identical to lying *in* it.) But sometime in the next couple hours, almost every night, we hear "Mama? Dada? I have to use the potty!" And since this whole using the potty thing is a relatively new and VERY hard-won development in our house, we're absolute slaves to it. So we shout "OK!" and start walking toward her door … which bursts open to admit a wide-awake toddler into the hallway. That's when we have warning, that is. Last weekend she started just wandering out of her door without saying anything, scaring the bejeezus out of us but then explaining "I have to use the potty!" before we could scold her. Sigh.
Luckily, however, this is a rare case of a toddler problem that might just have an easy solution. We've been leaving her bedroom door open so we can peek in and check on her and so she can hear us talking and moving around (this used to comfort her when she was tiny, but it probably just keeps her awake at this age, now that I think about it). So the past few nights we've been shutting her door, which she doesn't seem to mind. We put a child-proof thingy on her inside doorknob -- she can get it off, history has shown, but it's a loud, slow process so at least we have some warning.
Mostly, I applaud her explorer spirit. And her readiness to party at 11 p.m., when her dad and I are struggling to stay awake. I just wish her reflexes were a little slower in the morning. Yesterday, I heard her stirring and went to get her up, and as soon as I opened the door, she flew out of the darkness and hurled herself at my legs. I'm pretty sure they could hear me shrieking two counties away. But on the bright side, no coffee was needed that morning! I was wide awake and ready for a long walk myself.