The crib. A seemingly normal household furniture item for those with babies. Not in our house. I co-sleep with my babies. Please spare me your eye rolling, cringing expressions. I am NOT--by any, ANY stretch--some crunchy granola, neo-hippy organic, berkenstock-wearing Earth mother. Not by a LOOOOONGSHOT. I'm just lazy--too lazy to formula feed and lug a bunch of crap around everywhere and too lazy to get up out of my warm cozy bed in the middle of the night to tend to a crying baby. They move out when they're ready to make it through the night without me. Or more specifically, without the boob.Read More »
I have a love/hate relationship with our crib. We have had it for ten years now and it has gotten far less use than it probably should have in a house with three kids. When Moo was a baby (and co-sleeping) I McGuyvered the crib to the bed by removing one side, raising it up on bricks to meet our pillow top mattress height, wedging pillows on the far side of the crib mattress so as not to lose the baby down "the crack," and strategically zip-tying it to the bed frame. I loved the crib then. Moo would fall asleep and I could shift her into the crib and she slept well in her own space there. Of course, she was (and still is) my best sleeper. Eventually she moved to a big-girl bed and we packed the crib away. Enter Slim.
Slim is not a great sleeper and hasn't been since he was a newborn. I McGuyvered the crib once more, but he would never sleep on his own in it. I could never scooch him that far away from me and into his own space without him waking up in minutes. He slept best glued to my side all night. After many months I gave up on the crib-as-sidecar setup and put the fourth side back on and tried to "sleep train" Slim. This actually seemed to work for about a week until one night he screamed for 90 minutes straight. Screamed. We ended training and opted for peace and quiet. And sleep. Needless to say the love affair had ended. I packed the crib away the next day.
And now we have The Geel. Just turned eleven months and it's taken me until just two weeks ago to rearrange Moo's room to make room for the crib. We don't have the space in our master bedroom for another round of McGuyvering so that was out of the question from the start. I was so determined a year ago that this would be different. She would be in her crib right away! The Geel had other plans.
She is by far my worst sleeper. She would not sleep on her own at all and not for lack of trying. I swaddled tightly, tried the Sleep Sheep, classical music. Nothing worked. She slept great--on me or daddy. I slept many months with pillows propped under each arm so she didn't roll off of me in the middle of the night. Daddy filled in for naps occasionally, but even those were not great. She slept 20-30 minutes AT MOST. This got a little better (30-40 minutes) around 5 or 6 months, but nothing to brag about.
Did I mention that the majority of these naps took place ON me? It made it impossible to DO anything. I would have to wait until she was in a deep sleep--which, if she got there at all half the nap would be over by then. Then I'd usually have to do some contortionist move to try and gently lay her down without waking her up. I don't have any hard fast statistics about how successful I was at this, but suffice it to say that a 50% success rate would be generous. If it did work I would hurriedly run around the house switching laundry (always!) or loading/unloading the dishwasher (in slow motion--don't want to make too much noise) or whatever else needed to be done at any given time.
Now the crib is back. First of all, Geel goes to daycare two days a week. I know she naps there, although when I see nap from 11:00 am to 1:50 pm written on her little daily sheet, I wonder if they even know who my baby is. The first two days of the "New World Order" were a little rough. She didn't cry a whole lot (definitely no screaming--a great success by my measure) but she didn't sleep at all either--which left me with a zombie baby the rest of the afternoon.
The third day she went to daycare. I decided to grill the daycare women about technique and tried to get them to give up state secrets. They told me they put her in her crib, cover her up, pop in the binky and she's off to la-la-land. Sort of. If she stands up and cries a little they lay her back down and pat her back. Really? I've seen that a million times on Supernanny. I can handle that!
Day Four went rather smoothly. She hardly cried at all and every time she stood up I just laid her back down (being super careful not to make eye contact or talk at all--Jo Frost would be proud!), covered her up, popped in the bink and after about 4 or 5 times she drifted of the sleep. Day Five was even better! Had to go back in ONCE and she was out in under four minutes! Day Six got a little hairy. I think I went in about 25 times. Could be that she wasn't as tired as I thought or perhaps she was overtired. Either way I was confident she would go down and she did eventually.
So we still have a few bumps in the road. It's just the beginning of this latest journey with the crib. Obviously we don't want to rush things. We wouldn't want to rush into anything too heavy--like putting her in there to sleep through the night. For now, I'll take it slow, but I have to confess: I think I'm falling in love again......
If you want to see how this story really ends, you might want to check out