Sleep has always been a challenging part of life with Abigail. Well, initially anyway, when she was an infant, she really didn’t like sleeping very much. For most of her first year, really. Then we started getting the hang of it and could get her to sleep with only about an hour’s work, if you count the quiet playtime and the stories.
Recently, we’ve been having a spectacular time with her sleep – provided you don’t count the bout with the cold from last week. No child sleeps well with snot blocking up her nostrils. This is actually true of adults as well, but we have at least developed a few coping mechanisms. If you’re sub-two, the world just sucks and somebody had better do something about it.
But OTHER than the cold, we’ve been able to put her down and leave, maybe going back once or twice to tuck her back in. Technically, this isn’t quite right either, since she refuses to be covered by a blanket, kicking and crying if you try to put one on. But we rub her back and tell her good night, which we’ll consider a “tucking” for our house.
On top of that, when she’s at her grandma’s house, which she is quite often, she sleeps in a toddler bed without any trouble. Emboldened by her good sleep and the fact that she already sleeps in a bed at least twice a week, we took off the side of her crib and replaced it with the bed rail. For those non-parents, most modern cribs are designed to evolve with the child, transforming from a crib to a toddler bed and finally to a regular bed that the child will immediately denounce, demanding something “grown up” and eliminating much of the value of the original purchase. The rail for the toddler bed is basically a low barrier that keeps her from rolling out onto the floor in the middle of the night. It has an opening at one end to make it easy to crawl in and out.
We set it up with confidence last Saturday morning. Jessica and I commented on how much it opened up the room and how much easier on our backs this new setup would be. Abigail enjoyed it right away, climbing in and out of her new bed with apparent satisfaction.
By naptime, the crib rail was back up. It would appear that you need more than just a good sleeper and a modest level of experience with a bed. The two problems Abigail encountered were ones of maturity and coordination. They can actually be explained at the same time. Rather than lying down to sleep, Abigail decided it would be more fun to jump on her bed, something she does regularly in her crib. This isn’t a problem with the crib; we just leave and let her work out the energy.
The jumping itself represents the problem with maturity. It can be argued as to whether this is a good or bad thing, but as you get older, you get less likely to jump around on your bed. I know I do it very rarely and on those rare occasions, it seems far less satisfying and more life threatening than it does for Abigail. Which leads us to the problem of coordination.
If I was confident that Abigail would be able to fall in the right direction, or avoid catching a leg on the edge of the bed, I would be less concerned about her bouncing on the side-less crib. As it is, her jumping can be described, charitably, as “haphazard.” Perhaps “wild” would be an appropriate term. In the case of the crib bed, her jumping was “imminently disastrous.”
So after about an hour of constant tending and diminishingly effective attempts to stop the jumping, Abigail and Jessica watched me put the crib rail back on. I don’t believe that she got any less boisterous after that, but at least she wasn’t going to tumble out of the crib.
In all honesty, I think we were getting a little ahead of ourselves. She’ll be ready when she’s ready. Which will probably be the first time she successfully climbs out over the crib rail.