When your baby jumps out of their crib (but is really too young for a toddler bed)
Sometimes when you’re on the second child, you’re able to feel like you really know something. You take what happened with your first child (test baby) and are able to apply it to the second child in a way that makes everything better/easier/more awesome.
For example, I’m now a total friggin’ WIZARD when it comes to preparing/plating meals in a way that allows their food time to cool down, be chopped into a thousand pieces, etc. while not allowing our adult portions to scorch/dry/out/generally taste worse. I think I starved a lot when D was a baby, really — and ate a lot of cold food — and now I’ve got my priorities straight and know how we can ALL sit down to dinner at the exact same moment with temperature-appropriate food. It’s an art.
But then there are times when you make EXACTLY the same mistakes with the second child, and have obviously learned nothing.
You may remember that D was an extremely climb-y baby
who got into trouble making lots of destructive messes
. By the time he was 18 months old, he was going so many acrobatics in/out of his crib that we had to take it down. It wasn’t safe to have him falling/jumping from such a high place (the top of the crib). So we took it down and set up a single bed (since soon-to-be-born C needed the crib).
It was kind of a disaster.
He liked it for a second. And then he didn’t. He slept underneath it, like a cave. He slept in his bookshelf. He slept behind the bedroom door. He slept in the closet. He tried to sleep in his drawer. He got wedged behind the bedframe. We had to take the frame down temporarily because he was jamming so many stuffed animals (and himself) under there at night that we worried about him.
Not to mention the destruction! He removed the hardware from his closet doors. He ripped everything off the hangers so many times that we installed a lock. He yanked every item of clothing from his dresser drawers. He took every book off the shelves (and ripped the pages out of some). He attacked stuffed animals. He overturned furniture (which, uh, is now bolted to the walls).
Eventually — like month and months later — D calmed down and began sleeping in his bed like a normal child. It was great. It still is! He goes to sleep with no issues, and loves his bed. It just, uh, took a while to get to this point.
Now let’s talk about C …
Little C just turned 20 months, and literally the night before — which was Christmas Eve — she flipped herself out of the playard in the guest room at my mom’s house. We didn’t even realize until my mom swore she heard footsteps running around upstairs, and went up to check … and there was C, at the top of the stairs, looking surprised.
She made a lot of escapes that night (on Christmas EVE, of all times!) and it was stressful, to say the least. Mostly because she was sharing a room with D over Christmas, and kept running over to his side of the room to wake him up. Also because if we closed the door, D would freak out, but if we left it open, we had to worry about C falling down the stairs. (We opted to close it, and D had to deal with it)
We came home a few days later, and weren’t sure what would happen once C was back in her crib. She was fine for a couple of days, and we hoped she would leave it alone. No more monkeys climbing out of beds!
But then one day at naptime — while I was working in my office in the basement
— something sinister happened. D had come downstairs about 30 minutes before naptime is officially “over” and I had finished my work earlier, so we were baking. I heard C start to cry upstairs, but it was a sleepy half-asleep cry so I left her alone.
I came upstairs to get C up a little later, and as I was walking up the stairs, her voice sounded MUCH closer to the door than usual. Like *right there.* D had come upstairs with me, and I said “I think Sissy might have gotten out of her crib. Doesn’t it sound like she’s right at the door?” and he solemnly said “Yes, I fink so.”
Sure enough, she had hopped the crib and trashed her room. She’d even gone so far as to smear her entire container of greasy prescription steroid cream all over the carpet and her own hair. Oh, C.
We cleaned it all up, and later that evening, her crib had been converted in into this lovely toddler bed …
Of course, she doesn’t sleep in it. OF COURSE SHE DOESN’T!
The very first night, we were hopeful she would. I went in to check on her 30 minutes after I’d put her down, and she was lying on the floor by the door with dried blood on her face! She’d crawled under the crib, and some bolts had scratched her (we assume). So we electrical-taped those suckers up, and tried again.
She did actually sleep in the bed that very first night — maybe out of exhaustion? maybe it was a test run? — but she hasn’t sleep it in since then, as far as we know. She seems to be sleeping directly next to the door, judging from when I try to check on her and the door doesn’t budge.
We know we’re probably in for a long road of floor-sleeping and maybe closet-sleeping — just like with D — but at least now we’ve been there, done that. I know she’s probably seeking cozy spots because her new bed doesn’t feel cozy — at least that’s what I assumed D was doing — so it will just be a matter of time before she feels comfortable there.
Even though we’re 0 for 0 in the big-kid bed department, I suppose we have learned a lesson or two when it comes to toddler-proofing a room.
All of the baskets of hair clips, socks, tights, etc. — the Easily Scatterables — have been stuck on a high shelf in her closet. The changing table has been removed (too climby!) and the other furniture has already been bolted to the walls. Her glider and ottman have been removed (there have been close calls of them squooshing their fingers in the rocking hardware).
She can still rip clothes out of her drawers and her hamper (and she does), but it’s not so bad. She helps me clean it up, at least.
We’ve taken flack from people for taking down the cribs too early — 18 months for D, 20 months for C — but honestly, I don’t regret it. Sure, I *wish* they had let us leave them up longer. I wish they were still contained, trust me!
But when it’s a choice between your child repeatedly smashing down onto the floor from a crib rail, or giving them a bed they need to get used to, I’ll take the bed.
Parents of monkey-children, unite!