So the transition from crib to bed hasn't exactly been the smoothest process. Overall, I'm starting to feel like I should have waited to transition Sofia. I think I feel that way because I haven't seen a ton of progress and I am sort of at an impasse on what to do.
There are two problems at hand.
The first is that Sofia has hit the 18 month sleep regression phase (which seems to be more common than I originally thought). She is having bad dreams or some sort of turbulent nighttime experience that is causing her to wake up screaming/crying in the night or early morning. I don't think it is night terrors because from what I have read, toddlers don't actually wake up when they are having night terrors and Sofia will wake up screaming and get out of bed and attempt to open her door to get to me, after which she is very attached to me and will not go back to sleep unless I am near her (at least in the same room). This started shortly before I transitioned her and I am not sure that it would make a difference for her, but it has sort of compounded my frustration with this whole sleep situation.
The second is that I cannot get her to take a nap in her new bed. She goes to bed at night just fine but will not go down for a nap. She could be absolutely exhausted and on the verge of passing out and I will put her in her bed and it is like hitting the restart button. Suddenly she is full of energy, the world is her oyster and on top of that -- we are playing a game. Now, I'm not playing a game (that's for sure), but in Sofia's head we are. She gets out of bed, I put her back in bed, she waits until I leave and then she gets out of bed (happy as a clam, full of energy and excited to come out and "show" me that it's my turn (i.e her turn is getting out of bed, my turn is putting her back into bed). It's ridiculous.
I've tried everything I could think of on my own. It has come to the point where she only takes a nap if she falls asleep in the truck and I put her sleeping body into her bed. If I put her in bed awake she does not take a nap.
It is beyond exhausting. I think it is even more difficult because I went from having a child that slept 12 hours straight at night and took a 2-3 hour nap to having a child that is extremely inconsistent and resistant to sleep. It's like having an infant again. Which is hilarious since I will have an infant again soon.... is this all just one big terrible joke?
So, after talking with some close friends who are indeed more seasoned than me in motherhood, I have come up with a new game plan... a couple of things actually.
I am going to set up the pack-n-play in her room and if she gets out of bed during nap time she will go straight into the pack-n-play. I am hoping this containment will be seen as a "consequence" rather than a "game" and I think it will. Once she is in the pack-n-play she will stay in the pack-n-play for her nap time. If she cries, well darn, she cries. My philosophy is naptime is naptime and it is not negotiable. If I have to re-sleep-train my 18 month old then well darn, I'm going to re-sleep-train my 18 month old.
Now in regards to the 18 month sleep regression or whatever it may be, I am considering a few possibilities. I feel like her main need here is comfort and that is why she wakes up in search of me. Whether its from a bad dream or what have you, she is in search of Mom because Mom=comfort and safety. So I am considering:
A. making her bed more comfortable (her mattress is very hard and her waterproof liner makes noises when you move)
B. leaving her door open and getting a baby gate rather than shutting her door
C. adding a night-light
D. adding peaceful nighttime music
So tomorrow we will embark on our new, fresh attempt at getting this situation under control.
Important parenting lesson learned: do not try anything new when there are unresolved issues at hand. For instance, Sofia was already beginning to show sleep issues and I feel that I should have held off on "adding to the mix" by transitioning her to a big girl bed until she was over her 18 month sleep issues and back to normal. I was purely motivated by the fact that I didn't want her to associate loosing her crib with her new brother (i.e. giving her 2 months in a new bed before he arrived), but that should not have been my motivating factor. My motivating factor should have purely been her own readiness.