Tonight is is an exciting one in our household: Harper’s first night in her big girl bed. We’ve been prepping her for the event with some picture book propaganda (throw it on the pile, right? — big girl bed, potty training, new baby — poor kid hardly has any reading material without some sneaky agenda!), and it must have worked because she was super psyched to climb into bed and went right to sleep on her own. This is a kid who usually needs to be practically hypnotized to sleep, and who has greeted the invitation to nap by literally writhing on the bed crying “NO SLEEP NO SLEEP!” So, exciting. Who knows how the rest of the night will go, or the morning — she’s a brutally early riser — but at least she didn’t resist it.
There are two “big girl bed” books she’s really gotten into. The first, My Own Big Bed, by Anna Grossnickle Hines and illustrated by Mary Watson, I found quite by accident at the library and have renewed about 80 times. We all have it memorized. What strikes me most about this book is how gentle it is. The little girl goes over all of her anxieties about the big bed — Will she fall out? Will she get lost? Will she get scared? — and then tells herself each time, “I can fix that.” She arranges her stuffed animals and blankets just so, and gets all snug and cozy. It’s incredibly sweet and encouraging. I love the “I can fix that,” and that she fixes it all herself. The illustrations of the girl are very expressive and realistic, which I hypothesize make her easy to relate to. At any rate, Harper LOVES this book.
The other big bed book we’ve been really into is Tina Burke’s adorable Sophie’s Big Bed, which was recommended by a friend. The illustrations are bright, graphic, and friendly, and again, the text kind of covers all the bases. Will I fall out? Will I get lost? Isn’t my crib cozier? Again, Sophie deals with it all herself (well, with the help of Bear, Bunny, and Scarlett, her rag doll). I also just really enjoy the look and feel of this sturdy (and very affordable!) paperback.
Of course, these books deal very sweetly with the concerns of the BIG bed, and then we presented Harper with this tiny little toddler bed. She must think we’re total nuts. These picture book girls are going from huge cribs to, like, twin-size beds, while Harper’s going from a teensy mini-crib to a regular-crib-sized bed. It’s low to the ground and equipped with side rails. I’d say you’d have to work pretty hard to fall out or get lost. But the point is the big-girl-ness of it all, and I think the books helped get her excited about that.
I think our P’Kolino toddler bed is incredibly cute, by the way — and it also converts to a chair! Zounds!