The first step in the big-girl bed conversion, we figured, was talking about the big-girl bed conversion. A lot.
So we talked it up for weeks. "We're going to take the rail off your crib," we told Nora, "and then it'll be a big-girl bed!" We pointed out big-girl and big-boy beds in books we read or TV shows we watched, and did a lot of playing on the pillows and under the covers in Mama and Dada's bed to get her used to the concept. (So far, she's been sleeping in a sleep sack -- no covers, no pillow. So while technically we weren't getting her a new bed, just taking a rail off her old one, there was going to be a definite format change.)
And then the big week came. We decided to debut the big-girl bed on a Friday, so we'd have the weekend to deal with any lack of sleep for toddler or parents. We started the countdown, got to Wednesday and then … oops, a nasty cold! So we decided to put off the big-girl bed conversion for a week. But then some family members announced a visit, so we decided to put it off again. Pretty soon, this grand event was hyped bigger and longer than a Hollywood summer blockbuster.
But finally -- FINALLY -- the right time came, and the crib rail came off. Nora watched us put the sheets on the bed, and when it was bedtime, after only a little hesitation, she climbed into bed, put her head on the pillow and accepted hugs as we tiptoed out of her room.
Then, we waited.
Would she cry? Would she complain? Would she get out of bed and stage a prison break?
To our great relief, it was none of the above. She stayed in bed and seemed pretty happy. We know this because we could hear her talking and singing songs to herself until midnight -- but happily! After she finally went to sleep, and then we went to sleep, morning came and we found a well-rested girl right where we left her. In her big-girl bed.
Which means she's not a baby anymore. Which is a thought that kept me up rather late that first night, too. That and all the singing.