Now, let's time warp shall we? Okay ... hang onto your hats, here we go!
When Austin was about a year old, he started to climb out of his crib. I thought this was dangerous and he could get hurt, so around the second time we caught him getting out, I told my husband we needed to turn his crib into a toddler bed. When he got out that night, it was quite late, so we decided he could sleep in his playpen for just that one evening. That is what we thought ... how wrong were we? Very! :(
My husband set up the playpen with blankets and toys and we placed Austin in it. He got out, we put him back, he got out, we put him back, he got out, we put him back ... over and over and over ... (I get tired just thinking about it). Now, after this went on for an hour or so, I thought, WOW, this child has a strong will, mine is stronger. I look at my stubbornness as a great coping mechanism ... patience abound when I am in that mode, and trust me, I needed it that night. Every few minutes he would climb out and I would put him back. My husband gave up and went to bed. I was determined not to back down. Austin would literally glare at me, get out, and laugh at me. Seriously, I could not believe the level of sophistication in this child at such a young age. I sat on a stool, in the kitchen, across from the playpen, picking up Austin and putting him back in for 2 hours! I did enough exercise for the week in just one night! I felt I could not give up. (See what happens when you watch too much "Supernanny"?) Had I known then, what I know now, I would have just picked him up and brought him to bed with us ...
While this "battle of wills" was going on, I could not believe how much Austin was like me. His personality, the focus this child had, he was so calm the entire time. He didn't cry that I can recall, I only remember silence ... he had a goal in mind and was going to achieve it. At one point, I explained to him that I would sit on the stool all night if I had to ... this is so ridiculous to me looking back now ... what was I thinking? Did I really think that this child was stubborn like me? (I was a nightmare for my parents. I have a will of steel, no doubt about that.) He was very stubborn, just not nearly as stubborn as me ... thankgoodness!
In hindsight, Austin started to show he was very determined early. I thought if I could get him to stay in that playpen to sleep (he was on the move a lot) maybe he wouldn't be so stubborn ... believe it or not, this seemed logical to me at the time. ("Supernanny" again ... sigh ...) Austin has always had a lot of character. He never really had tantrums. He was just energetic and didn't respond to time outs as all the books and advice said he should. I thought it was a strong will. Was it? Now, I think not. It could have been that maybe he didn't understand why we wanted him to sleep in the playpen. I also think that maybe that playpen was too open and he didn't feel secure, or the change ... it is all conjecture at this point.
The next night, his toddler bed was ready. He popped in it, after having his bottle. We gave him his pacifier and he didn't fuss at all. He may have gotten out once or twice but off to la la land he went, he seemed very comfortable and content. Was it the "standoff" the previous night, or did he just feel better in that small bed? Whatever the reason, he was happy and I gave up midnight aerobics from that night on as well as the "Supernanny"! ;)