Up. Down. Over. Under. He climbed all over the bed with a huge grin plastered to his face, laughing and bouncing as he pulled himself up on top or peeked out from underneath. He even laid down quietly and let me rub his back for a few minutes, before bouncing back to his play. I don't know why I was so worried about him disliking the bed -- it's clearly the best toy I could possibly have given him.
Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure he sees it as just that: a toy. We have been talking for months -- okay, for the better part of a year now -- about transitioning him from sleeping in our bed to sleeping on his own, and it still hasn't happened, and I was hoping that the toddler bed might be the answer. If laying him on it will make him want to play, though... I don't know. He never slept in his crib, ever at all except maybe one or two 15-minute naps, and I'm definitely not interested in transitioning him to a crib at 13 months as he's so confident in his furniture-climbing/escaping skills. We are thinking about laying a mattress on the floor in our room to start, so I can lay down to nurse him and then get up and let him stay there after he falls asleep; that is going to require some furniture-rearranging though. For naps, I fully planned to start trying the toddler bed: letting him fall asleep on my lap, transferring him to the bed, letting him nurse a bit more if he woke partway up... and then he fell asleep on my lap this morning, and I looked at the bed, and I looked at the child who was finally not screaming!, and I looked back at the bed, and I just stayed on the couch holding him through his nap, like I usually do. Sigh.
The biggest hindrance right now to getting him to sleep on his own definitely isn't him. It isn't the bed, or the mattress, or the location of either of them. It's me.
My fear of trying something different. My reluctance to step away from the thing that I already know works. My unwillingness to take a step or two backward temporarily in the waking-up-crying department in order to make a long-term giant leap forward in all of our sleep. I know it will be better for all of us once he's happily sleeping on his own, but I also know that it's going to take a while to get him there, and that I will get much less sleep in that interim phase. I'm so selfish; why is it so hard to make such a little sacrifice?
UPDATED: I finally got my act together this afternoon; sat on the floor of his room while we nursed, sang him to sleep, slipped him into the bed and so, so carefully tiptoed out... Praying that this works!