The Tale of the Fearless Crib-Diving Boy
by Christy Sillman
Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, everything gets turned upside down – this basically sums up parenting an infant/toddler to me. When you have a newborn it seems like these transitions can happen from day to day. As my son Noah has aged, I’ve noticed the stretches of stability get longer, which is nice, but also makes the transitions THAT much harder to swallow.
The way your child’s routine gets disrupted can vary greatly. It can be normal developmental things like learning to crawl, getting rid of a nightly bottle or cutting teeth. It can also be something completely out of your control, such as the time change that accompanies Daylight Savings Time, which David Weinshiboum so eloquently described in a recent iPinion column.
Remember that scene from Mary Poppins, where the weathervane spins in the opposite direction and Bert says “Winds in the East, mist comin’ in, Like something is brewin’ an about to begin. Can’t put my finger on what lies in store, But I fear what’s to happen all happened before”? That’s how I felt about a week ago.
Mommy intuition – never doubt it.
The past four months have been incredibly stable. I sometimes feel like I have to pinch myself when I lay Noah down at 7 p.m. sharp with a kiss and not one single cry, and then I don’t hear from him again until he starts singing at 7 a.m.
I knew it couldn’t last. I was hoping change wouldn’t happen until we went on our highly anticipated trip to Hawaii at the end of this month. Nothing will upset the routine better than sleeping in a pack-n-play next to Mom and Dad for a week. Instead it happened this weekend. It hasn’t gotten a foothold, but I now know change is a-comin’.
It started when Noah was resisting his morning nap. He was singing and playing with his musical seahorse toy then his coos turned into frustrated cries. I wondered what he was so frustrated about — maybe his foot got caught in the crib rails again.
Then I heard the noise I have feared for months – A GIANT THUD.
I didn’t only hear this thud, I felt this thud from two rooms away.
I ran faster than I ever have to his room. I was in disbelief — could he have actually done it? Could my little 16-month-old baby get out of his large crib?
Thankfully, I could hear his screams instantly after the thud, so I knew he was alive and breathing. As I opened the door I screamed, “OH MY GOD,” as I saw Noah standing on the floor next to his crib with a red-faced silent scream.
I put on my pediatric ICU nurse “cap” and began my full head-to-toe assessment. Besides surprising himself with his own crib diving skills, he was physically fine. I on the other hand am quite traumatized.
We skipped that morning nap, not only because I needed to continue doing neurological checks, but because I just wanted to hold him — or maybe I was trying to hold on to the stability?
My husband and I suddenly panicked. What does this mean? Do we need to get rid of the crib? How will he ever sleep again if he has access to all the fun things in his room? Do we need to pad the walls? Will we ever sleep again?
We started by removing the “collapsible and breathable crib bumper” that was probably made for pediatric ICU nurse mom’s like me. They advertised this thing as preventing suffocation and injury related to crib falls. It’s suppose to collapse under their weight and prevent those extra inches of height to help get over the crib railing. I plan on writing an Amazon review of this product which will include a 3 star rating, only because it did meet 50 percnet of its advertising claim – Noah did not suffocate into it as an infant.
I also built a pillow landing pad below his crib. He thinks this is the funniest thing in the world and rolls around on it in glee as often as he can — maybe we shouldn’t create enjoyable reasons to get out of the crib like this? We’ve instituted a “two strikes, you’re out” policy: next time that he jumps, his crib will get converted into a toddler bed. I fear this transition more than most. I like him safely asleep in his cage, errr, I mean crib.
Until he dives again, we’re enjoying the last bits of sleep stability we’ll probably have for a while. Maybe he’ll surprise me and make a smooth transition to a toddler bed? Guess that’s the fun part of being a parent, you never know what to expect.