Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sleepwalking, part V

Le Petit just figured out how to climb out of his crib.

Just writing that makes my stomach twist into knots.

He's only 21 months old, and I naively thought I'd have at least another six months of tranquility before I had to worry about convincing him to stay put in a toddler bed all night long. But no, my tall, clever, precocious child just figured out how to scale the side and tumble out to the ground. Ever since he made his first crib break last weekend, our interim security measure is padding (currently a second spring mattress) on the floor, but the incident seemed isolated until today at nap time.

After an hour of singing and playing and refusing to nap, I went in to check on him. Far from being coaxed to sleep, he jumped out of his crib, bounced and rolled on the mattress. I put him back in, he tried to climb back out; I made a couple of futile attempts to convince him to sleep before giving up on the nap entirely.

Alas, the skipped nap made him an exhausted wreck at bedtime, too tired to fall asleep peacefully on his own. He screamed when I put him down and tried to climb out again. He eventually fell asleep in my arms in the recliner and I put him back in the crib asleep. I am terrified he'll wake up and try to climb out again at some point during the night.

I have no idea what to do. This problem couldn't be timed worse, because we're starting a huge kitchen remodeling project on Thursday.

The good news is that the side of the crib can be removed to make a toddler bed. I'm very worried, though, that he won't understand this new sleeping configuration and will either refuse to fall asleep, will roll out and wake himself up during the night, or will use the lack of a side to wander around his room or, worse, the apartment all by himself while we're asleep.

What to do? The options as I see them are:

1) Remove the side and hope for the best. This would mean we would have to get a latch for his door, since he's otherwise figured out how to open ever room in the apartment and I can't have him wandering into the kitchen or the bathroom on his own. I don't want to imprison him in his room, but I do want to make sure I'm awake if he's up and exploring.

2) Transfer him to the pack n' play or use the pack n' play mattress in his crib (and hope he doesn't figure out how to climb out of that too soon).

I'm leaning toward the first option. To me, 21 months is too early for a toddler to be free-roaming at night, and he's typically been such a poor sleeper I dread the repercussions of a "big boy bed" so young, but what choice do I have?

(For what it's worth, although I completely respect it as a solution that works for a lot of families, I'm not at all comfortable with cosleeping. So bringing le Petit into our bed is not an option.)

If anyone out there has strategies for surviving an early transition from the crib, I'm all ears. Or commiseration... or words of support... anything!


Parisienne Mais Presque said...

Update: bad night last night. Le Petit woke up screaming at 12:30, wanted maman, under no circumstances wanted back in his crib. Finally convinced him to fall asleep in his bed at 1:30 with me sleeping next to him on the mattress on the ground.

At that point, I snuck back into my bed but couldn't fall asleep myself. Le Petit woke up early this morning, very mommy-mommy-mommy (barely convinced him to let me take a shower) and meanwhile, my husband was freaking out (at the top of his lungs) about his diet, the kitchen, everything.

The ambient stress level at home is very high, which I'm sure is not helping things at all. *sigh*

Isabelle said...

Dear Parisienne,
Le Petit is probably aware that there is some stress in your household because of the kitchen renovation.

He might think that you are going to leave him behind, that's the reason why he wouldn't let you do anything without him...

You need to explain to him what's going on, he'll perfectly understand.

Laurie said...

I have no useful advice. My son is 19 months and I'm afraid we'll be in the same situation very soon. I think option one sounds like the better one. And for what it's worth cosleeping has never worked for us either. Bonne chance!

caramama said...

You do have options, and it might not be as bad as you think! We transferred our girl to a twin-sized mattress on the floor at 18 months because nothing else was working. It went surprisingly well (of course some hiccups, but overall smooth). We completely child-proofed her room (and now her new room) so that if she gets up and plays in her room there is really no danger.

She can open doors, but we babygate the stairs and leave our door open (she comes right for us in the middle of the night, and then we cosleep, which I know isn't what you will do). My sister babygated her daughter's doorway, which keeps her girl from wandering around. I also know people who put child-proof handle covers on the inside of their child's door so they couldn't open it and wander the house.

If you want to chat more about transitioning, feel free to email me. I think switching the crib to the toddler bed is a great idea and will keep Le Petit in a familiar bed environment, but less dangerous than climbing out of a crib or pack and play! Good luck!

silene said...

I am dreading just this development, and have been since my mother-in-law happily reported (when I was pregnant) that my husband (the eventual elite gymnast, mind you) started climbing out of his crib at 9 MONTHS OLD and she had to put him in a bed. Yikes...

I've seen in a catalog or two (like One Step Ahead) that one can purchase a sort of a mesh tent that goes on top of the crib to prevent a child from getting out. (Just took a minute to find you a link to this "crib tent": Perhaps this will help... Good luck with the kitchen remodel and all the rest...

Julie said...

Oh man, we had this problem recently with K for the very first time. She climbed out her crib one morning, and I nearly died when I heard the loud THUD on the floor and the subsequent screaming. The reason she climbed out was because it was one of the rare nights when she wasn't wearing her Halo Sleepsack to bed (forgot to get it into the dryer in time for bed).
Anyhow, I think we've bought ourselves at least a few more months until it happens again, simply because she can't swing a leg up over the railing with the Sleepsack on. I've read that this is an advantage of the Sleepsack, but it honestly never occurred to me when we first starting using one with her. I just used it because I was paranoid about blankets at the time!
I'm not sure what we'll do when we encounter the issue again. Co-sleeping is also not an option for us...K just wants to play ;-)

Anyway, I hope things get better soon. I know how awful it can be when the sleep routine becomes unpredictable again. I miss when K was an infant, but I certainly do not miss the sleep deprivation!