As you may or may not be aware, we have been a co-sleeping family since Jenavieve was born. I had read about the benefits for bonding, but wasn't sure if we were going to do it. When Jenavieve was born in Utah, we had taken a pack and play, and she wasn't comfy in it and slept better in bed with us. We slept better knowing she was right there, and she never had to cry much, or at all, when she was hungry because her stirring woke me up and I was able to get her bottle fast.
As she grew, she started taking up more space on the bed, and Eric started sleeping on a makeshift bed next to our mattress on the floor, until Eric's parents gave us a king sized bed for Christmas last year! We were great until Jenavieve got even bigger and started taking up even more of the bed! Eric would sometimes end up on the couch because she kept kicking him (she would somehow end up with her head next to me and her feet in Eric's face).
Besides all of that, she will have a baby sister soon who will sleep in our bed to promote bonding. Little Boy will have a bedroom and a bed, but of course everyone is welcome in the family bed!
A few months back, we bought a crib mattress and put it on the floor in our room, and put sheets and her pillow on it. I was able to get her to nap on it a few times but she had no interest in spending the night there. We don't like to sleep alone in a bed, so we don't believe that she should be forced to either. We figured she just wasn't ready and hadn't done anything with it for awhile.
Then a couple of weeks ago, we were are Target and saw the cutest toddler bedding set that I just KNEW she would love. We are trying not to spend money on things we don't need so we have more money for the house, adoptions, and the Disney trip I've been planning since before we even had kids (but that's another post), so I went home without it, but kept thinking about how much I knew Vivi would love it. The next time we went to Target, Eric was with us, and I pulled it down to show him. Vivi's face lit up as she pointed and said "E!" Again, I was strong, and we went home without it. But a few days later, we had to run to Target for something, and walked past it again, just to look. Eric laughed at me and put it in the cart. We justified it with the hope that it would make Jenavieve excited about her big girl bed and she'd start using it, which, while it isn't a NEED, it would be nice for her to be comfortable in her own bed for at least part of the night.
So we brought it home and set it up, and she had so much fun playing in it and pointing at the letters. Isn't it cute?
And sure enough, it did the trick! She's excited to lay in her big girl bed, and spends her naps and most of the night there. Usually she ends up back in our bed around 5:30-6:30, but we enjoy the early morning cuddles! The picture below was actually taken a week or so after the above pictures, it was just a coincidence that she is wearing the same shirt!