Last week I was pulling into the parking lot at my hair salon when I got a text from my cousin McKenzie:
“So Marlo just climbed out of her bed and opened the door… she doesn’t want to take a nap. What should I do?”
Hahahaha! Good times! What should you do? Hmmm… let’s see… Freak out. Scream. Tear out your hair. Bang your head repeatedly into a wall. Rip out your toenails. Dip your face into molten lead. Pour paint thinner into your eyeballs. Start there.
Not sure there could be a more inconvenient time for Marlo to learn how to climb out of
prison her crib, but there it is. She has always been a fantastic sleeper. Never complained about the dark, never bargained for more stories or more songs, always rolled over and shut her eyes. That is, until last Wednesday. When she climbed out of the crib and McKenzie heard the thud of her fall at the other side of the house. The thud, the whimper, and then the unbridled glee with which she discovered that she was on the other side of the barbed wire fence. By the time McKenzie caught up with her she was almost to Idaho.
For those of you who aren’t parents, this means that the kid can no longer sleep in the crib. You have to put them into a regular bed immediately because they could sustain potentially disastrous injuries trying to climb to freedom. I’ve heard stories about broken arms and legs, busted foreheads, even severed fingers. How does a kid cut off a finger trying to climb out of a crib? DUDE. It’s a kid. Leave one in a completely empty room, arm them with nothing but the clothes on their body, and when you return that room will be covered in red paint and molasses. I’m just saying THEY HAVE WAYS.
Leta never tried to climb out of her crib, and when she was Marlo’s age we transitioned her to a toddler bed with no trouble at all. Because she just assumed that she couldn’t climb out of any bed. She never got up without calling for someone to come get her. She may have presented various challenges throughout the years, but my god, this was not one of them. In the future when we can genetically engineer our children and the paperwork asks, “How would you like your child to behave when transitioning from a crib to a bed?” You’re going to want to check the box labeled LETA ARMSTRONG.
You can also check her name for the following:
“When would you like your child to learn how to read?”
“How would you like your child to treat her siblings?”
“At what age would you like your child to troubleshoot your computer?”
DO NOT check her name if you’d like your kid to fix you a hot dog.
Needless to say, Marlo did not nap that day. With Tyrant’s help I removed the crib from her room and put Leta’s old, low bed in its place. At bedtime I made a big deal about this being her New! Big! Bed! and that she should stay there, right there, nowhere else. I hadn’t had time to do any research, so when she rolled over and said goodnight I did that Catholic thing where I made a cross over my chest and hoped for the best. I know, I’m not Catholic nor have I ever been. But there isn’t a comparable Mormon gesture. Since my religion now is pretty much total blasphemy I probably should have pretended to jerk off or butt hump a cow.
Oh man, you guys. It was a total disaster. She fell asleep because she was so exhausted, but she woke up an hour later. I caught her as she was leaving her room and put her back to bed. This happened three more times, but the third time at midnight she was at the other end of the hallway heading down the staircase before I caught her. And then at 2 AM she was so inconsolable and I was so exhausted that I brought her into bed with me. She did not ever fall back asleep. I repeat: she did not ever fall back asleep. Meaning that I did not either. Imma let you guess what kind of mood that put me in.
YOU ARE CORRECT.
So, where do we go from here? I happened to run into my friend Kate that afternoon, after I had been up all night long, and she reminded me of… are you ready for me to drop this bomb… because once I do I can’t take it back… here we go… three… two… one… FERRRR-BERRRR!
Ferber. The real F-word in parenting.
Just google Richard Ferber and you’re bound to find a whole bunch of cranky parents screaming incoherently at each other.
Here’s the thing that scares me about Marlo and it’s something he specifically brings up in his ever so controversial book about getting kids to fall asleep and stay asleep: if she can get up and wander around the house, she is going to burn it down. So I have to teach her that she cannot get up and wander around the house. This is not going to be easy or pretty or fun for either of us. I mean, let’s face it. I have to sleep train Rambo.
And it starts tonight. So you can just assume that I am pretending to jerk off and butt hump a cow pretty much nonstop right now.
(I already asked for advice over in the community, but if you have an anecdote or something that worked for you please, please, please share. You’ve got magic potions? I’m buying.)