Wednesday, January 23, 2008

She escapes!

Not since the broken foot episode of ’06 has a single development had a more catastrophic effect on the quality of life in our home.

My friends, Nora has learned how to climb out of her crib.

I know, I know. It’s a shocking turn of events. I had planned for Nora to sleep in her crib until at least her 16th year. (And then we were going to send her off to the convent). But clearly she has a mind of her own. The first time it happened, I was in total denial. Nora had been in her room for a couple of hours, taking a nap. Suddenly, there she was in the hallway. She must have been teleported, I said to myself. Or maybe I just forgot to pull up the railing. Or Gabie let her out. There’s no way she could have climbed out on her own. I am just not ready for that.

Then came Saturday (hereafter known as black Saturday) when I realized that my daughter had in fact not learned to aparate from room to room, she had merely learned to hug the corner of the crib and swing her legs over the railing to freedom. She had also picked up the useful skill of turning a doorknob and opening her door. (Who taught her to do this?!! Has she been sneaking out at night to attend secret Baby Club meetings? What other tricks does she have up her fuzzy-pink-polyester-sleeper sleeve?).

When I put her down for her nap on Sunday (hoping against hope that she had forgotten everything since the day before—hey I can dream, can’t I?) she stayed in her crib for about 10 seconds after I closed the door. Then I could hear her clunking around and jabbering from another part of the room. Sighing, I figured I’d get her out and try lying down with her in my bed. I opened the door and saw, of course, an empty crib. But the rest of the room was empty too. I began to panic as I scanned the closet and under Gabie’s bed. Where did she go? Maybe she did have a teleporter. Then she started to giggle and I saw a shadow behind the blinds. She had climbed onto the window sill, between the closed blinds and the glass, and was standing there like an actor waiting for the curtain to rise before her big show.

Sleeping Beauty by Maxfield Parrish
Now that I have seen her escape with my own eyes, I have graduated from denial into a stage of total despair. Will she ever go to sleep before midnight again? Are her naps—oh, her naps, her lovely, lovely naps, her glorious 3-hour naps, her naps that happily overlapped with Gabie’s TV time, the only time all day when I could get anything done—are they gone forever? I look back nostalgically at the pleasant, week-old memories of a peacefully sleeping daughter and I wave at them as they recede—too soon! it’s much too soon—into the distance.

We put up the bunk bed on Monday night. Gabie sleeps in the top and Nora (theoretically) will sleep in the bottom bed. She hasn’t yet, but at least that’s our plan. Nora’s plan is to avoid sleep entirely. Suddenly, I can’t remember how I ever got the other three kids to go to sleep in a real bed. They all sleep in real beds now, so apparently they somewhere, somehow made the transition, but how on earth did they do it?

I think the other kids were much older when they realized that they could scale their wooden prison bars. I swear Ethan was nearly three and even then, we only set up a new bed for him because I was pregnant with McKay. By that age, I could reason with him and offer him incentives to stay in bed and convince him that big boys slept in big beds. Nora is only 20 months old. She is tall for her age and precocious in the climbing department (yes Mother I see the poetic irony here) but she is not to be reasoned with. I can tell her that she needs to stay in bed and she just looks at me with her soft blue eyes and plays dumb. Stay? she says, smiling. I’m sure I don’t know the meaning of that word. Now excuse me, I have better things to do than sit here while you rub my back and sing to me and try desperately to convince me that I’m tired when anyone could tell that I have at least 2 hours of full energy power left. Goodbye you foolish woman.


Sandra Tayler said...

My Gleek started climbing out of her crib at 18 months. The only solution I found was to buy one of those child-proof doorknobs and put it on the inside of her door. I then cleared the whole room of hazards, turning it into a large playpen. I'd shut her in there and she would play until she fell asleep, usually on the floor. Eventually she got old enough to bargain with and learned to lie down in bed and stay there.

Pale Bear said...

We were happy that our crib was adjustable and we could lower it a few notches, delaying the inevitable for awhile. The problem with that is my height, or lack of it. Even when the rail is down, I have to lean way, way over and get on my tiptoes just to put my child down on the mattress. When the mattress is on its lowest level, I have to drop them from just a bit above the target because I can't reach any further. (My husband is tall, and he just reaches in and puts a child down without having to lower the rail.)

Luisa Perkins said...

That is a BLACK day. But you can come off victorious.

Sandra's idea is a good one. I have found that after about a week's worth of putting the small, newly mobile one back to bed in the new bed about forty-leven times per hour, it stuck, and we got back to the blissful nap schedule. I've never let any of my kids give up their naps before kindergarten.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

You are lucky to have them stay in the crib for so long. All of my kids were put in a twin bed when they were 18 months (due to climbing and the fact that we use a small portable crib). They would get out of bed all the time for the first few days but after consistently putting them back in bed (Super Nanny style) they would just stay put. Oh, and we do what Sandra does to, totally baby proofing the room just in case, but we keep the door open.

Klutzmom said...

Dear Readers,
I just can't resist commenting on Julie's "poetic irony" reference.
Julie was a climber. She did not limit herself to climbing out of the crib. She included trees, the top of the swing set and an eighteen foot ladder up to the roof of the house. I don't recall any windows, though.
Julie, dear, you earned your little climber, but I am sorry that your time of peace has been endangered. Hang in there. When she starts kindergarten the quiet will drive you nuts.

Jen said...

I'm probably going to get flack for this, but oh well.

Another solution, especially since she's so young and definitely still needs good sleep to be a happy kid, is to get one of those crib tents that go over the top.

Cheesy looking? Yes.

However, they're totally a fun novelty to the kids, (my best friend's son still requests to snuggle in the tent that's over his sister's bed).

Here's one, (and there are cheaper ones),

Even if she doesn't really like it at first, eventually, she'll get the idea that it's just time for sleep and she might as well get the nap over with.

I promise it's not considered cruelty to children :)

By the way, I do so love reading your blog. Thanks for posting!

An Ordinary Mom said...

I dread the day I have to transition Cory to a real bed. He is almost 3 and I enjoy having him confined. Even though he is older, I don't think I am going to be able to convince him to stay in his bed either.

Good luck!

Dedee said...

My son also conquered the crib at 20 months. I feel your pain. At 24 months we are still fighting the bed battle. We mostly just stick him back in over and over. Good luck. Remember that "this too shall pass."

mindyluwho said...

My kids all climbed out at 18 was always a very sad day for me. I remember on my 5th child I would lay in the bed that was in his room (he shared with the older son) for a few minutes and he'd usually stay in his crib and fall asleep. However, one time I guess I was a bit tired because I opened my eyes just as he was coming back INTO the room. I guess I had a good nap that day! That was the last nap he/we took.

Jen said...

Hey, thanks for posting my absolute favorite sleeping beauty painting of all time!

My cat has learned to apparrate from the bathroom, through the closed door out into the house. THis is not a good thing!

Anonymous said...

I feel for you!!

Will, my baby, began climbing out over Christmas. So he is now on the bottom bunk of the new bunk bed but I am currently spending hours every night trying to convince him that what he really wants to do is stay in the bed and actualy sleep. He's having none of it.

This does, of course, coincide with my return to full-time work. Oh, and he's also not napping anymore. Why do they do this to us?!?!

Good luck!

Connie said...

I read your blog.. back to the post where you talked about your husband taking a picture of your daughter breastfeeding, a document that it happened. Climbing out of the crib would be a good pic. I remember the day my granddaughter was done with her crib.. it seemed like such a problem at the time... that too has passed. Enjoyed your insights.

LaughingElk said...

When I saw my toddler son push a chair over and climb up on it to get to dangerous things on a high shelf, I did what any responsible father would do. I grabbed the camera and took a picture.

Then I posted it on the web with a caption from Genesis 11:6:

"..this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do."

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I had to lie down with them (in my bed) to get them to sleep at that age. I'd read or knit until they fell asleep. Then we would move them to their bed. Not ideal, but eventually they do stay in their own bed (as you know).