For more than a year now, I have been lucky enough to enjoy a very easy bedtime/naptime routine with Camille. Once she hit 12 months of age, she began to accept the necessity of sleeping in her crib, and even seemed to welcome night-time.
I know this isn’t the case for everyone, and would often be told how fortunate we were, and I really don’t think I took it for granted. But today, out of nowhere, things changed.
I put her down for her nap like usual, and was in the next room and could hear her whining. That’s very unusual for her, so I peeked in the door to be sure she was okay. She has a cold, so I was feeling especially protective of her. She started to cry, so I picked her up to comfort her, and then put her back in her crib. Typically, if I tell her it’s night-night time, she believes me. But she started fighting like I hadn’t seen her do in ages. So I decided she needed some alone-time to work it out, firmly told her it was night-night time, and closed the door behind me. She wailed so loudly it broke my heart, but my heart stopped when I heard a loud “thud” on the floor. I jerked open the door to find her standing on the other side of it, in tears.
My child escaped from her crib.
Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with two realities – Camille didn’t seem to want to go to sleep peacefully. And she had the ability to get out of her crib by herself. A terrible combination.
I think getting out of her crib may have frightened her, because she was inconsolable. I rocked her, sang to her, and she just kept getting worked up. Finally, I got in my bed with her – a last resort. I love cuddling with her, but I’ve always been worried about setting a bad precedent.
She needs her naptimes, but I need them too. It’s when I catch up on work, when I eat, clean, and occasionally relax. I feel I am a better, more focused mother during her awake time because I know I can count on her naptime to do other things.
Or at least I could count on it. What now?
I was (and still am) depressed about it. Maybe, just maybe, it was a one-time tantrum that won’t soon be repeated. She protested going to bed tonight, but Lee was able to get her down without any attempted escapes or any major shedding of tears. But either way, we all now know she can get out, and I no longer see her crib as a safe, secure place.
I’m probably overreacting. I tend to do that about anything that threatens a major shift in our happy schedule. I’ve always thought one of my weaknesses as a parent is a real need for a reliable schedule, because I go into panic mode if things aren’t moving along predictably.
So I’m going to try to take some deep breaths – and start thinking about turning her crib into a toddler bed.