Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Escape Artist

We have a problem. He’s figured out how to break free from his prison, aka the crib.

It all started innocently enough, or so it seemed. My son, soon to be two years old, has never been a great sleeper. Despite reading every book on the subject, despite trying numerous methods of sleep training (including letting him cry it out), he almost inevitably wakes up at least once during the night, sometimes more often. And he often, maybe 80% of the time, ends up sleeping in our bed.

For the past two years, I have gone through various phases of sleep deprivation, where I have gone from being determined to get him to sleep through the night in his crib at any cost…to resigning myself to sharing our bed with him. Anytime we would make some kind of progress, something would happen to set us back…vacation, sickness, etc… For awhile, my husband had some kind of magic touch, but my son soon decided he preferred to make mommy crazy than tolerate having daddy deal with him during the night.

Last week, I went in to his room for the now routine middle-of-the-night putting him back to bed. He tossed and turned in my arms for about 30 minutes until he looked at me, pointed at my bedroom door and proclaimed “Dodo mama bed” before squirming out of my arms, running into my bedroom and climbing into my bed. This happened twice last week.

On the weekend, I found myself feeling completely crazed from weeks of interrupted nights and after angrily tossing my son into my bed with the snoring and oblivious husband, I went to the basement and spent the next hour tossing and turning on the couch while I stewed. I vowed then and there that it was time to let my son cry it out the next night no matter what.

So I did.

But clearly I am no match for my son. At almost two years of age, he has the size and brute strength of a three-year-old. It only took about 10 minutes of hysterical crying and screaming for him to decide that it was time to jump the proverbial fence. Just as I was coming back into his room to check on him, I heard a huge bump. There he was, on the floor.

Once I determined that he was generally unharmed, aside from his bruised ego, I couldn’t help but laugh. He had outsmarted me once again.

I thought that maybe the fall would have been too scary for him to repeat the experience, but the little guy is persistent. He did it again last night. This time, I had padded the floor with extra blankets just in case, so the landing was softer but clearly his technique has improved and he is now officially a crib jumper.

So what the heck am I supposed to do now? I don’t think I can let him cry it out again. If I put a gate on his bedroom door, will I reinforce that his room is a prison? The only thing I think I can do is convert his crib into a daybed. Then he will no doubt escape on a nightly basis, but at least I won’t fear for his safety anymore.

Maybe it’s time I just resign myself to never sleeping again… However, I would appreciate any tips from parents out there who have similar “prison break” issues!

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