On crib recalls and baby sleep

Did you see these news items from yesterday? Over one million cribs recalled, and a world-wide ban on drop-sided cribs. Wowza!

We don’t have a Stork Craft crib, but we do have a drop-side one that has served us well through three boys. It was made by a little mom and pop outfit in Quebec, as I recall from one desperate scramble to find a missing part after we moved in 2003. I won’t be scrambling to get a replacement crib, nor will I be moving Lucas to a bed any sooner than I’m he is ready. I figure we got about another year, if we’re lucky.

In fact, just this morning I had to explain to Tristan that though I greatly appreciated his fraternal assistance, could he please *not* lift the baby out of the crib by himself in the future? I see a lot more risk in the 60 lbs not-quite-eight-year-old hauling the 35 lbs not-quite-two-year-old over the raised side of the crib than I do any inherent risk in the construction of the crib itself! I might find a way to weld or otherwise permanently attach the drop side, though. We don’t use it and haven’t really used it at all for Lucas. In fact, I’m not even sure we raised the mattress from the lower level when he was born — I think we just left it the way Simon had it when he made his way to a big-boy bed in 2006. (Oh my, I really have been blogging for a long time — and I really do love that I can poke back into the archives and find these gems that might have been otherwise lost!)

Ahem, anyway, all this prattling on about cribs has given me the opportunity to brazenly brag about mention the fact that after almost a year of hand-wringing and angst about sleep training, it’s been about a month since the day that Lucas sleep-trained himself completely without any intervention from me. Huh. Didn’t see that one coming!

As you might remember if you’re as long in the tooth around here as me, I am not opposed to letting a baby cry himself to sleep, within reason. The parameters of reason including being close to one year old or older, knowing your baby’s temperament well enough to know he can handle it, knowing you and your spouse and other family members can handle it, and never letting a baby cry longer than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Those were my personal yardsticks. Sleep training Tristan took about a week; Simon a little longer. Both were between 10 months and a year old.

Lucas’s first birthday came and went, and he was still falling asleep the way he had since birth — in my arms, usually while I sat in the living room far from the going-to-bed chaos of the big boys upstairs. It would take between 20 and 45 minutes for him to drift off, considerably less at nap time. And no matter how much I favoured the idea of sleep training in principle, no matter how much I yearned for the freedom of simply being able to put the baby in the crib and kiss his fuzzy head and walk away — I just couldn’t do it with Lucas.

And then one day last month, I thought he was asleep when I ported him upstairs but I realized as I lay him into his crib that he was watching me. So I did exactly that — kissed his fuzzy head, said goodnight, closed the door and walked away. I went in to kiss the big boys goodnight, gave them a little cuddle and paused outside Lucas’s door. Silence. Hmmm, how curious. So I shrugged my shoulders and walked downstairs, waiting for him to bellow.


About half an hour later, I couldn’t resist any longer, so I went upstairs and peeked into his room. He was, to my everlasting astonishment, sleeping. Imagine that! So the next night, just like I have done every other night (because I know from reading every baby sleep book ever written the importance of routine) I told him the story of his day, gave him a little cuddle with his precious “blanky and soo”, and when he was calm but still awake I brought him upstairs and put him in his crib. By the time I had said goodnight to the big boys, he was standing in his crib hollering for me — I tell you, I was almost relieved! — and so I walked back in, tucked him back under the covers, told him I loved him and it was time to go to sleep and walked out again. And — he did!

Giddy with success, three days later we started putting him in his crib awake at nap time too — and do you know what? That worked too. Right from the start. I swear, nobody was more shocked than me.

Now, one of my favourite parts of the day is bedtime, when I put Lucas in his crib, tuck his blankets around him, and sing a couple of verses of my perennial bedtime favourite, You are My Sunshine. I can’t quite keep from laughing as he calls out the last word in every line to “sing” along with me: sunshine, happy, grey, dear, you. Really, it’s way too cute.

Anyway, that’s how we sleep trained Lucas. Or he sleep trained us. I have a suspicion he’s wanted us to just put him in his crib and leave him in peace for months, but he just didn’t have the words to tell us! One of these days he’s going to tell me how he really feels about my singing, but that’s a post for another day.