Jamie has now learned to climb out of his cot even without using my nightstand as a foothold.
Remember when I said that if this happened, we could be in for some really interesting evenings?
(I know you know I meant ‘interesting’ in the Chinese sense, but I’d better clarify at this point that it’s actually ‘interesting’ in the sense of really boring as a post topic, to anyone who doesn’t happen to be a doting family member of the child in question. I mean, this is the kind of post that makes me cringe when I read it through as I picture my meagre readership running screaming for the blogrolls so that they can delete my name. Oh, well, the hell with it – everyone else can skip this post. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
On Wednesday evening, when the getting-out-of-the-cot really turned into a problem, I started with the ‘Just put him back in his cot as soon as he gets out and
he’ll you’ll eventually get bored’ technique. Jamie found this to be such a wonderful game that by the time I decided my tolerance for it was lower than his and moved on to Plan B (my husband’s suggestion of ‘Just hold him on our bed until he settles down and goes to sleep’), he was thoroughly awake and remained so through the next hour of us lying there with him (we took turns so that each of us could gulp down a hasty and lonely dinner). While this method, unlike the first, was actually rather a pleasant and peaceful experience – he did settle down even though he didn’t go to sleep, and I enjoyed the feeling of that little body snuggled against mine as I lay down and relaxed for the first time all day – I could see that it was going to pall fairly rapidly as the days/weeks/months (delete according to Jamie’s endurance level. Hmmmm. Let me think…) went by without me getting any time for my husband or myself in the evenings.
So, after over two hours of all of this plus repeated resettling attempts on the part of Barry, who is usually pretty good at getting him to calm down, we eventually moved on to Plan C – CIO, The Sequel (a.k.a. The Point At Which Attachment Parents Start Having Apoplexy). Barry took one side off the cot so that we knew he could climb back into it, put him down to sleep yet again, went out, shut the bedroom door behind him, and held it shut forcibly so that Jamie couldn’t pull it open again. I went in after a couple of minutes and then again after a couple of minutes more to check him and resettle him again, and, after about seven or eight minutes of furiously enraged screaming, he simply climbed up onto our bed and fell asleep there. Looking, I might add, unbelievably adorable.
After he’d been there for about fifteen or twenty minutes, I made the mistake of moving him back to his own bed. Once Jamie does get to sleep, he’s normally a very sound sleeper, but I think on this occasion he’d stayed up so late that he was just too overtired to settle properly. So we went back to Plan A. By this point he was half asleep and only summoning up the energy to get up at intervals, which made it doable (I could sit outside the door and read in between replacing him, so I did at least get a smidgen of my eternal journal backlog cleared), but it was after midnight before he was finally conked out enough for me to get away with taking a shower and going to bed myself.
So, on subsequent naptimes and bedtimes, we saved a lot of time and a lot of exhaustion (his and ours) by moving straight to Plan C. Jamie screamed for three or four minutes at Thursday’s nap, ten or twenty seconds on Thursday evening, and by Friday was back to going down without a peep, which, as you can imagine, has been an enormous relief.
However, we are having some practical problems with the whole half-cot-half-bed thing (it still has one side on and one side off). Jamie is a wriggler. He doesn’t move around as much in his sleep as he used to (we used to find it highly amusing checking when we went into the bedroom in the evenings to see how many degrees he’d managed to rotate/which corner he’d wriggled into since we left him), but he still rolls around enough that it takes a full set of cot sides to keep him from rolling right off the bed. Not having said full set of cot sides is having the rather inevitable result.
On the whole, he’s doing an impressive job of taking the experience of suddenly waking up on the floor in his stride. On one occasion he woke up after a bit of rolling around bouncing off my wardrobe and simply climbed sleepily back up onto the cot; on another, he just slept through the rest of the night there and woke up in the morning, giving the slipper next to his face a blearily puzzled look before pressing it happily to his cheek with a look of "Oh! A slipper! Well, that’s all right then." Or, to put it another way, my child is adorable to a world-imploding level. But we could still do with improving the current situation somewhat.
We were, as it happens, on the verge of moving him into his own room anyway, so the obvious plan at this point is simply to ditch the cot altogether and move him onto the single bed that’s already in the room that we’ve used as a playroom/second spare room since we moved in, but nevertheless refer to, in optimistic anticipation, as "Jamie’s room". (All right, I know this doesn’t have a cot side either. The point is, it’s wider than his cot-bed, so we’re hopeful he’ll stay on it. Although, of course, it’s also higher, so if he can’t stay on it he’ll have further to fall).
If this had all happened a few days later we could have moved him straight away, but the in-laws are down here this weekend for Barry’s birthday and my brother-in-law is going to be sleeping in that room. Since moving Jamie for a night only to move him back again for two nights and then back again sounded somewhat confusing for him, we’re hanging in there with the half-cot-half-bed for the moment. On the plus side, all this does at least mean that I no longer have to worry about moving the nightstand out of his reach every evening.