Moment of Dread: Moving into a Big Girl Bed

Parenthood is full of phases, changes, and adjustments – from pregnancy, labor, and delivery all the way through high school graduation and beyond.

During my first pregnancy, I remember my husband asking me once if I was worried or nervous about bringing home a tiny and helpless baby, because that was his biggest concern at the time. I thought about it for a moment and realized that I really wasn’t nervous about it at all, and I thought that was kind of strange. I mean, this was going to be uncharted territory with very little in the way of a road map or user’s manual for help! But for some reason, I felt cool as a cucumber about it.

And then it hit me. While I was pregnant, I was so consumed with thoughts, worries, and fear of the labor/delivery process that I couldn’t spare much in the way of feelings when it came to the phase after that! By the time I made it through in one piece with a healthy baby girl in my arms, I was already in the deep end and there wasn’t anything to do but trudge along and make things up as I went.

Sure we had our struggles those first several months, but it seemed like we breezed through the newborn and toddler phases without much of a hitch and made it all the way to the preschool years.

But the moment I had been dreading for 3+ years was finally here. With baby number two on the way, it was time to move my daughter from her crib to a “big girl bed.” I was very reluctant to do it and waited as long as I possibly could. She was a GREAT sleeper who never tried to climb out of her crib. I had nightmarish visions of moving her to an actual bed and it unraveling everything. In my mind she became a horrible sleeper who never stayed in her bed now that she could safely get in and out herself. Not only was she going to move into a bed, but she was also changing rooms. I kept thinking, “This will not end well.”

I started out by warning her and mentally preparing her for this big change. She didn’t really seem to care one way or the other about it. Which made me think she was saving up her emotions for the moment it would actually happen, and then the you-know-what would hit the fan.

So we shipped her off to spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa, and I got her new bedroom and bed ready. The room she was moving into was being used for storage, so I had to empty it out and clean it up. At first I wasn’t going to do anything special in the way of decorating. Then I thought if I made it a little more fun for her she might adjust better. The only thing she’s REALLY into right now is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so a Disney/Mickey theme seemed appropriate.

In the end I was very pleased with how it turned out. Nothing over the top, just a nice subdued Disney theme, yet still a little girly.


The big day was approaching, and I had mentally prepared MYSELF for the first night or two. I was ready for the meltdown when it wasn’t what she was used to. I was ready for a struggle at bedtime. I was ready for her to come out of the room numerous times. I was ready to find her sleeping on the floor. I was ready for her to come prancing into our bedroom early in the morning. I was ready for this change to put an end to her daily nap.

We made it over the first hurdle, and she LOVED the Disney themed room, especially the Minnie Mouse blanket and sheets. And she seemed rather excited for the first night in a big girl bed in her new room.

Bedtime came and went with very little struggle, just her typical stalling tactics.

She never once poked her head out of her room.

She didn’t end up sleeping on the floor.

She waited in bed for us to come get her in the morning.

And the next day, she took a long nap without any fuss.


So of course I thought we just got lucky the first night/day, soon the novelty will wear off and we’ll hit a whole lot of bumps.

We are now coming up to a week since the room change, and she has completely embraced her new space and is a big girl bed champion!

Turns out I had nothing to worry about and shouldn’t have underestimated her ability to adjust to something new. Of course, now that I put this out there in the universe, everything could deteriorate; I better knock on some wood!

Have you found yourself in a situation that you expected the worst and your child surprised you by passing with flying colors?

**Update: the night after submitting this post, prior to it going live, my daughter had an in-bed-meltdown. About ten minutes after walking out of her room, she was begging for me to come back in because she had to go to the bathroom. After dealing with that we had to go through all the stalling tactics again, and the longer she stalled, the more tired she became. Apparently I covered her up the wrong way and the meltdown ensued! Then I spent another ten minutes trying to calm her down and get her to stay in her bed. Oh well! Things HAD been going well!

Becky is a Minnesota Native and Wisconsin Badger fan living in the heart of Hawkeye Country. Since graduating from high school, she has lived in Duluth, MN; Birmingham, UK; Minneapolis, MN; Louisville, KY; and Madison, WI, but is now happy to call Iowa City home. She and her husband have been married for ten years and have a spirited four-year-old daughter and a mischievous baby boy. Becky juggles working from home and keeping two kids happy each and every day. In her free time, she enjoys working her side business, spending time with friends, relaxing with a good book, and eating snacks.


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