When Frank was about two and a half, we took him out of the crib. He was getting entirely too big for it, and I feared, the way he jumped around in it, that he would break it. We had set up the Big Boy Bed (BBB) in his room, but he flat out refused to use it. "I'm not big enough for it yet," he said. I set the crib mattress on the floor in his room...and he's slept there ever since, on the floor, next to his bed. When we go away, we have to pull the mattress off one of the beds and put it on the floor. We've never flown anywhere with him before, so we've had the luxury of being able to bring all his "buddies" (stuffed animals) that he sleeps with along on any trips we've gone on. And there are a lot of buddies...I think right now there's about 15 of them.
Anyway, the crib mattress is starting to show some wear and tear. And Frank's legs are starting to hang off the end. He'll willingly lie down on the BBB for story time, or to pretend to sleep, but lights out at night, and the door closes, he has to be on the crib mattress on the floor. I've explained to him how he's growing, and soon he won't be able to fit on the mattress any more, and he keeps saying that "someday" he'll use the BBB.
Tonight I spent some time talking about it. He kept trying to change the subject, but I kept pressing him. We went in his room, turned the light out, and laid down, and I asked him how does the BBB feel? How does it smell? How do things look from up there? How does your body feel up there? Each thing he told me, I explained why that was different from the mattress: The sheets on the bed are new, and haven't been washed much yet, so they feel a bit rough. The BBB makes different noises than the mattress does when you move around on it. It smells differently up there because his head hasn't laid on that pillow that often- let's put the buddies up there and see if that helps. (It did.)
He didn't like talking about all this, and told me he doesn't like it when we "force [him] to do something different." I explained to him that sometimes we have to do things that are different, and they just take some getting used to. I told him we know and understand that he has a hard time with doing some things that are different, that his brain works a little differently than others, and that it's mine and Darrel's jobs to teach him how to deal with that. He didn't say much.
I think sometimes I maybe talk too much, that because he has a really sophisitcated vocabulary for his age, and catches onto things really quickly, that I can talk as if he's much older than he is. I'm not sure how much he understands when I babble on at him like that. I guess at some point he'll start to understand and process fully when I explain stuff like this to him.
In the meantime, i really hope he starts using the BBB soon, before I have to force the issue and take the mattress away from him!