the dreaded toddler bed

I’m 5’4″. Andy’s 5’8″. Flynn does not come from tall stock. Yet somehow our little guy has been consistently at the top of the growth charts for height.

Because he’s so tall he’s been easily escaping from him crib lately. The problem with this, for all of you without babies and toddlers (this is certainly not an issue I knew or cared about two years ago, believe me), is not that the little guy gets out of the crib and plays with his toys in the middle of the night. The problem is that in order to get out of the crib, he scales to the top of the crib railing, where he could potentially fall four feet or so to the ground in all kind of unfortunate contortions.

Yikes. What to do?

I understand there’s something called a crib tent that can help climby kids stay in the crib a bit longer. I’m sure that’s great, but I’m also sure they don’t sell them here. By the time one got to us we surely would have had either a better solution or a cracked skull.

I also understand that some parents put their climby kids in those sleep sack things so they can’t use their legs to leverage themselves up to the top of the railing. Brilliant move, parents. I commend your ingenuity. We seriously considered this option, but in the end I ruled it too cruel. I imagined Flynn fluttering around desperately like a bird with clipped wings.

So the only option left to us was to change his crib to a toddler bed, even though at 16 months he’s really much too young for this to go well, I’d imagine. But Andy switched the crib to a bed yesterday, and we rearranged his room and removed anything that could prove troublesome with Flynn wandering around at 3 a.m. Then, we braced ourselves.

The first night:

8:15 p.m. Put Flynn in bed. Set up a pile of pillows beneath the opening in the bed to cushion the fall if he rolls out. Because he climbs out of the bed every time I try to leave the room, I sit with him rubbing his back for 45 minutes until he falls asleep.

9:15 p.m. Hear crying. Run into Flynn’s room. He’s on the pile of pillows, still crying, tangled in his mosquito net. Move him back to bed. Add more pillows to the pile of pillows. Roll up a beach towel and set it up to hopefully act a de facto side rail to keep him from falling out. He’s back to sleep momentarily, thank God.

11 p.m. Andy goes downstairs to watch some sporting something or other airing overnight on AFN and assumes Flynn duty. All goes well.

2 a.m. Flynn is fine but I am still awake, anticipating him not being fine.

4 a.m. I finally fall asleep.

6:15 a.m. Flynn cries. I run to his room and he’s banging at the door to get out. I try to put him back to sleep. No luck. We’re up for the day.

In conclusion, Flynn did mostly okay. As for me, I’m tired.

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8 Responses to the dreaded toddler bed

  1. Dani says:

    so i know totally not the point of this post but we have the exact exact same crib and just today I was looking at it and thinking “hmm when do we put the toddler rail on this here thing?” We just moved Will to his own room (he’s been in a crib in our room since he was born first because of colicky stuff and then because we didn’t have a bedroom for him) So yes, the awake all night? holy hell. That’s been our week here too. Wish I could send a cup of Starbucks your way! (I’ve been putting a serious dent in our stash!)

  2. Greta says:

    We switched Mila at 18 months and it was terrible on Oleg. I sleep well no matter what, as does Mila.

  3. Jim says:

    If you have access, a pool noddle tucked under the crib sheet works fantastic as a bed rail. Little ones can still climb in and out but have difficulty in rolling out of bed. I have been following your blog for some time now as I hopefully will someday be able to join the FS and enjoy your posts.

  4. Alex says:

    @ Jim – You know, someone else mentioned that trick to me! We don’t have any pool noodles but tried it with a rolled up beach towel. No luck. I did spot pool noodles at the Ambassador’s pool once, though. Hmm, maybe he’ll donate one for a good cause. 🙂

    Good luck on your FS quest!

  5. Alex says:

    Lucky duck! And poor Oleg…

  6. Theresa says:

    Oh, the pool noodle seems like a great idea! Jasmine’s not ready for her own bed yet, but will be soon. Like Flynn, she seems dead set on escaping the HORRIBLE AWFUL NO GOOD VERY BAD confines of the crib. 🙂

    Did you guys bring the equipment to turn your brib into a toddler bed with you to Cotonou? We bought our crib second hand here, and I’m debating whether it’s worth trying to pouch in rails, or if we should just get something built locally.

  7. Alex says:

    @ Theresa — we have a crib that converts to a toddler bed, but I’m not convinced that side rail thing is necessary. Flynn will only sleep next to the open part anyway, so it’s really not holding him on at all. I think if you could lower a twin bed a little bit that’d be fine. Or of course have something built locally around your crib mattress.

  8. Kristine says:

    We are going through the same experience! Our son is 18 months and has learned to become an escape artist (he has the same crib as your son). Therefore, we decided to convert his crib into a toddler bed too. What keeps him on it is basically his IPAD. What I also found to work was that I would be next to him (kneeling beside his bed) until he falls asleep. I’ve been doing this for 4 days now and it has worked. He will get use to his bed eventually.

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