It’s Crib-To-Bed Transition Time – Pass The Booze!
I raced upstairs faster than I have ever run and found my bawling daughter, rubbing her back and standing on her floor. I was confused and stunned. Had I actually forgotten to put her in her crib and just put her in her room? While I held her close and checked for any signs of injury, I replayed the scenario over in my mind. No, the only plausible answer was that my 21-month-old had hurled herself out of the crib. I wanted to cry. I knew this day would come because she is a born circus star. But I thought I had more time. And I was terrified because if she attempted another Olympian leap, she could really hurt herself.
After frantically calling my mother and Googling, I had convinced myself that this was a one off. Perhaps she had scared herself so much that she wouldn’t do it again. And she loved her crib! With my husband gone, and it being close to bedtime, I couldn’t feasibly get her a bed or baby proof her room. Though I must admit, I thought about it. So I put her to bed in her crib and spent the night with my face plastered against the video monitor. When she awoke the next morning as sunny and smiley as ever, safely in her crib, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Until my husband got home, and he caught her trying to get out of her crib again during nap.
How did she do it? With her flexible dancer’s limbs, she raised one leg so high that it was parallel to her head and hooked it over the bars. We both knew that it was no longer safe to keep her in her crib, and she would have to be in a bed. But was she ready? Was I ready? My son was 2.5 before we’d made the transition to a big-kid bed, and once in there, he never made a move to get out. I instinctively knew that my daughter would be a very different story.
Off we all went to Ikea: my version of purgatory. Those annoying little pencils and Swedish names, all of the stuff kids want that we have no room or desire for, and the ultimate end of having to get the furniture, cram it into our very small trunk and then, ugh, assemble it. Luckily, my husband, a bona fide rocket scientist, took care of the building, but still, by the time we’d gotten home, Allen Keyed the bed and baby proofed her room to the best of our ability, we were exhausted. And we still had to deal with our baby’s first night in her toddler bed.
We made a huge deal out of the bed, kitted it out with Dora sheets and a cute tiny pillow. Our son jumped and played on it to show his sister how much fun it would be to have her own bed. She wasn’t buying it. Though she did like using it as a trampoline, that night was one of the longest we’d had in ages. We didn’t want her to be scared or traumatized by her first night in the bed, so at 8 p.m., I went to bed with my daughter. Now, I might only be five feet tall, but that toddler bed is tiny. I shoved myself into a corner and stroked her back until she fell asleep.
But any single move woke her up. For two hours I lay as still as a corpse, hoping that she would eventually be in a deep enough sleep that I could make my escape. Finally, that moment came, and I was free for maybe three hours. But, when she fell out (onto giant pillows we had placed on the floor anticipating this), I was back in her bed for the rest of the night.
We thought that nap time might be easier. Our daughter loved when we read her books and sang to her while she lay in her new bed, and she appreciated our rubbing her back endlessly, but she wasn’t about to actually sleep in her bed. The minute I left her room, she started banging on the door. Seconds later, all I could hear was heavy breathing. When I looked under the door, I could see her little feet. She had fallen asleep on the floor and stayed there for two hours!
I agonized. I didn’t want my precious little girl sleeping on the carpet. It wasn’t comfortable, and I was sure, not particularly healthy, either. But what could I do? Her nap times were when I got a lot of my writing and editing done, and I had no choice. Onto the floor I lay the softest, fluffiest blanket I could find and gave up on that particular battle.