Carson reached a significant milestone in his young life last week — he put his crib life behind him.
While he was quite proud of the fact he mastered climbing out of his crib, his parents were not celebrating this accomplishment so much. We know all too well what this meant. The days of putting him in his crib and feeling safe were done, and we had a significant transition on our hands.
It was 2 in the morning last Friday when we woke up to an unmistakable sound. I immediately knew what it was and jumped out of bed. When Pam asked what was the matter, I said, “Carson got out of his crib” and she sighed as I raced out of the room.
Before I made it into his room, Carson met me at the door with a huge smile on his face, pointing to the crib repeatedly. I think he expected a celebration but I could hardly contain my anxiety over the feat.
Since I was dazed and confused, I merely put our 3-year-old back in his crib and tried to convince him to go back to sleep. According to Pam, who was watching from the video monitor in our room, I hadn’t even left the room before he had his leg over the crib railing and was following me out of the door.
Desperate for sleep, I put him back in his crib and pulled up some floor next to him. He eventually fell asleep, as did I. A couple hours later, I woke up and returned to our bed, only to be awoken a few minutes later by that same thump of him escaping his crib and the sound of little feet on the loose.
It became painfully clear the crib would be no more, and Pam later that day transformed it into a toddler bed.
Because we went through it two years ago with Carson’s big brother, Beckett, we knew what was about to take place. There was going to be an interesting evolution from confinement to freedom for the baby of the house.
Understandably, after sleeping in a crib his whole life, Carson was thrilled and excited by the notion of having free reign in his room. The problem was he was too amped. Sleep was not on his mind the first four nights, and I admit to simply crashing on the floor with him until he was asleep the first couple nights. It was well after 10 before he was actually asleep.
Clearly, my approach was not going to work over the long run. He was too excited with me in the room to settle down in a decent amount of time. Therefore, we decided to close the door to his room and watch and listen what he did through the video monitor.
As expected, there were a couple of rough nights. He would wreck his room, empty drawers and pull on the curtains, resulting in multiple visits from us to settle him down and get him to fall asleep.
What has been unique with Carson is he will not sleep on his toddler bed under any circumstances. For some reason, he has a mental block there and prefers to sleep on the floor. Therefore, Pam has worked up a wonderful makeshift bed on the floor with him that’s actually softer than his mattress.
When he does finally fall asleep, our worrying continued because we feared what he would get into if he woke up in the middle of the night in his room. For those first several nights, he woke up and cried, apparently disoriented by the closed door and the fact he was not in his crib. Fortunately, he was easily settled.
We ran into similar challenges when Beckett moved from the crib to the toddler bed, but it seems like so long ago for some season.
For Beckett, we didn’t wait until he was jumping out of the crib. Pam noticed that day was soon coming so she went ahead and made the executive decision to transition the crib into a toddler bed.
The main obstacle with Beckett was also getting him to settle down for bed. It was hours sometimes before he eventually collapsed with the end result being a disheveled room with an array of toys and clothes. That situation became so frustrating for Pam that she eventually removed every single toy from his room with the hopes he would go to sleep without the distractions. I can’t recall if that worked or not.
Thanks again to the joys of the video monitor, some of Beckett’s favorite nighttime antics included somersaults across the room; walking around balancing his pillow on his head; sitting in his chair tapping his fingers on the arm rests; sleeping half on his bed and half on the floor; tucking a stuffed animal dog under his blanket in bed; putting books down his pants; and pulling lots of clothes off hangars in his closet.
With Carson, the video monitor has also provided some laughs. Some notable moments include him giving the Elmo stuffed animal a piggyback ride around his room; trying to pull down the curtain to use as a blanket; minutes of intense effort to get his blanket perfectly situated over him; short stints of playing with his toys at 3 a.m.; and an affinity for turning his light on and off throughout the night.
Although we had a handful of restless evenings and difficult nights of sleep, I am happy to report our transition has been better than expected. He is not fighting sleep and seems to now embrace being alone in his room. He now only spends about 15 minutes playing by himself and falls asleep within an hour. That’s fine with us for now.
Where he crashes for the night is an unknown with the exception being that it will absolutely not be in his toddler bed.