On crib abandonment and keeping it in perspective

On Monday afternoon I put Kendall in his crib for a nap. He was fighting it pretty hard, but I knew he was exhausted and he needed the rest. I left him in his room and began cleaning the playroom. At some point I noticed silence and was happy he finally fell asleep. Minutes later I heard some sort of banging. Furious that Scott would choose this moment to randomly bang on something, perhaps nail something into the wall, I left the playroom to go give him a dirty look. As I followed the sound of the banging to Kendall’s bedroom door I was all sorts of confused.

“Why would Scott be inside Kendall’s room banging?”

::step, step::

“Oh…my…God, please let it be Scott inside Kendall’s room banging.”

::step, step, slowly open door, thud::

That thud was me accidentally hitting my kid, the one who was supposed to be IN HIS CRIB.

He looked up at me, grinned ear to ear, and seemed to say, “Hey mom! What’s up? Don’t worry, I got out all by myself. I’m good. See, I even got my toys out and everything. I don’t need a nap!”


I knew it was the end of an era. He finally mastered climbing out of the crib. It was only a matter of time. I should have seen it coming much sooner after taking him to the mall play area that morning. He scaled the Tweety Bird slide, all the way to the top of Tweety’s head, 3 times all by himself. ย Last week I came into the living room after quickly throwing some clothes into the dryer to find him perched atop our couch, the fireplace behind him. Why, then, did I think I’d be lucky enough to keep him in the crib until he was 2? Because I had planned that? Ha. Surely I should know better than to think I’ll ever be able to follow through with anything I plan.

We were lucky he hadn’t hurt himself, and knew we had to make a change immediately, so Kendall skipped his nap on Monday while we ran to Home Depot to replace his corded blinds with roller shades. We also removed just about everything from his room. I would say it was pretty baby proofed to begin with, but we’re trying not to underestimate his powers as of late. We took the front off the crib, turning it into a toddler bed, and laid a bunch of pillows on the floor next to it.

I was terrified that Monday night was going to be a battle, but, delightfully, it wasn’t at all, and neither was last night. He went to sleep without a fight, stayed in bed, and didn’t fall out. Both mornings we retrieved him before he did so much as read a book from his bookshelf, and that was as late as 8.

Now, before you go hating on me for bragging, know that as I type this I am seated next to his bedroom door, listening for sounds of distress, as I have abandoned him in his room in hopes of him taking a nap. I started at 1 by reading a couple books, then wrestling with him while he tried to crocodile roll himself off his bed for over 20 minutes. I asked his teacher yesterday how she gets him to nap on the floor, and she told me they just don’t make eye contact, keep laying him down, pat his back, and tell him to go to sleep. Tried that. Failed. Miserably. So I left the room for a bit before I became concerned with the lack of noise coming from the room because silence is never golden when you have an uncaged toddler. Then I went back in, took the white noise machine away from him, tried the crocodile wrestling some more, left again. I finally went back in a few minutes ago and just sat in his rocking chair ย and pretended to ignore him while he screamed and eventually passed out on the floor amongst his toys. It took 2 hours, but he’s conked out now, and I’m grateful to have at least one more afternoon nap. I refuse to let him give up naps just because he’s not contained to a crib. (That sounds terrible, I know. Let me clarify that the screaming was brief, and is pretty par for the course around here. He almost always hollers a bit out of pure exhaustion before going to sleep.)

And yet, the whole time I sat there in our rocking chair pretending to ignore him, I couldn’t help but think about Layla Grace, a 2 year old with Stage 4 Nueroblastoma who is living the last moments of her life, and this incredibly heartbreaking blog entry by her mother all about how she wants nothing more than for her sweet baby to stay awake. I just couldn’t help but feel sad and greedy for wanting, willing, begging my son to take a nap. And how trivial of me to be annoyed that *my* plans to keep my son in his crib until 2 were derailed, when this family’s plans to raise a beautiful little girl who they hoped to shop for prom dresses for, see off to college and walk down the aisle were vanishing in front of their very own eyes. My thoughts and prayers are with Layla Grace and her family.

Kendall is 21 and a half months old

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  1. Per mandy’s request over at harper’s happenings, just wanted to let you know that I love reading your blog! and you’re pretty ๐Ÿ™‚ I laughed my ass off the other day watching the f-book video of kendall popping all his edamame out of his fingers. and i checked out layla grace’s blog, and cried my eyes out– may God spare us all from that kind of mother’s grief.

  2. Oh my goodness.. that really does put things into perspective. I am bawling over here… pregnant ladies shouldn’t be allowed on the internet.

  3. I highly rec getting a video monitor. Then, let him play with his toy all he wants before he decides to fall asleep in his bed. Let him wake up, play with his toys and then cry for you when he is ready. You get an added bonus of another hour+nap. It is not worth the fighting over to make him nap. let him play and enjoy your extra free time ๐Ÿ™‚ I sure as hell know I do. lol

  4. I read that blog post about Layla Grace and I think if you are a mother you can’t help but cry. I also started to feel very guilty about my everyday complaining about the constant mess, noise, etc.. around here. I’m glad she shared her story though..I think she helped a lot of moms stop and think and put things in perspective.

    Congrats on the bed ! I know it was not an easy transition around here, but eventually he got used to it. He does still get up from naps and make messes..I’ve really had to stop caring about what that room looks like or else I’d go nuts !

  5. I agree about the video monitor. It’s soooo nice to be able to see them without going into the room.

    I’m not even going to go read that post. I don’t need my heart broken today. I can tell you not to feel guilty about wanting your child to sleep. He needs sleep. You need him to sleep. Us feeling bad doesn’t spare anyone any pain. I think being thankful that are biggest problems are naps and tantrums is enough without beating ourselves up.

  6. I often feel guilty for taking my kids for granted. For being desperate for just a few minutes of alone time. But that does not mean my girls don’t need a nap. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am hoping that Big Sister stays in the crib until she is two also – so far she has not even tried to climb out.

  7. aww, lady – i totally get where you’re coming from here! but i seriously think it’s 100% normal to silently beg your child to just rest already. especially when it comes from the fact that you KNOW they need to sleep, goddammit, and they’ll feel better once they do! my poppy girl takes 2 naps per day, and i still rock her to sleep for most of them (p.s. i am a giant sucker.) and on the rare day she misses one of her naps it is bad news bears, let me tell ‘ya… no good comes of that shiz…

    best of luck with little man and his new big-boy sleeping habits! i hope you both find a routine that suits you soon.


  8. I am really hoping that our 1.5 year old boy NEVER learns the trick of climbing out of his crib. In my great parenting plan I will keep him there till 3+! Who knows if this will happen because, apparently, we are really not in charge here.

  9. I am keeping all my fingers crossed that our Bean will not figure out how to climb out if his crib anytime soon! He’s not the type that will just sit there and read a book in the morning.

    I have been reading Layla’s blog and it is so heartbreaking. It has put a lot into perspective and my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family

  10. Yes, but my dear, you are hoping your son will nap all in good cause. Because he still needs naps! My saon napped until he was a little over 4. My daughter is 1 1/2 and still naps from 12:30 until 3- 3:30. And goes to bed at 9:30p.m. and sleeps until 8-8:30 am. My kids are good sleepers. I am a routine mom and don’t believe in breaking the routine…ever! I was just discussing the idea of transforming the crib to a toddler bed with my husband a few days ago, but get freaked out when I think of not having bars to keep her little but secured in at night. The thought of her roaming free and partying whenever she feels like, makes me so not ready to have a Paris Hilton on my hands just yet!:( I think I will keep the crib up for a few more months!!!! UGH!

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