As I mentioned in my last post, we're currently pondering the situation with Carter's bed. He's still in a crib and hasn't taken to climbing out. I'm not sure if I should consider us lucky, or if I should worry he's not very creative! A couple times I've caught him lifting his leg to try to climb out, and I've given him a stern no, but that doesn't seem like it should be enough to truly discourage a bright, energetic toddler, no? So I wonder--is he just that happy there, or is this just a small symptom of a very laid-back personality? I know, I know...we're just darn lucky, end of story.
But as his third birthday rapidly approaches (two weeks--holy cow!), I know we should be working on switching him over. We switched Jacob to the toddler bed setup about a week before his third birthday. He'd fallen out of his crib once when he was about 18 months, but he never really bothered to climb out either. But then again, he was never a climber in general. Carter, on the other hand, often tries to climb the shelf in his room (don't worry--the odds of him tipping that one are pretty slim because of how it's structured) and he's been climbing solo into his high chair for months now. But anyway...while there isn't any need to switch things up, I feel like it's time. I may still be able to lift him in there, but I sort of like the idea of him being able to climb in there himself because, unlike Jacob, he sometimes asks to go to bed! And if nothing else, eventually he'll need the freedom to get up and pee if he needs to. He's not even close to night trained, but if the option is there, maybe he'd get there quicker.
My main concern, however, is that it takes away our one secure place to keep him when we need to. See, his crib has generally been his timeout spot. I know that all of the parenting gurus say that's bad, but for some reason we did it once and it seemed to work for us. It's never really impacted his sleeping, that I can tell. During the day when he's in there it's because he was naughty, and at night it's still a place to rest. I think it all makes a little more sense if you think about timeouts the way they're supposed to be used--as a break from everything and a place to calm down. What's more calming than your comfy bed filled with blankets and animals? Of course, he throws everything out of the crib when he's in timeout, but at least he cleans it up after! Honestly, it's the one place (post-baby jail setup) where we could forcibly put him and keep him that he had to stay in. And when you're dealing with two kids who often need to be punished at the same time, sometimes you just need to know one is contained so you're not dealing with two renegades at the same time. But if we take away the "cage" aspect of the crib, now what? I could bring "baby jail" (our hexagonal baby enclosure that served as a play pen for a while) back out somewhere, but I'm not entirely sure it could contain him at this point. I could just put him in his room, but he knows how to open doors. I'd get one of those door knob things, but I'm pretty sure when we tried that on Jacob's door knob once to keep Carter out, Carter tore it off. So...between punishment and ensuring he'll actually stay in bed at night, I'm not sure what to do. I'm not sure I have the energy for finding new ways to contain him, but I guess we have to try at some point. Threats of going back in the crib may be option #1 if disaster strikes. The good news is that once Jacob gets sent to his room, he does generally stay there. He may ask a dozen times when he can come out, but he stays. So maybe that will help Carter to do the same. Haha.
But beyond that situation, I'm a little stumped on the big boy bed situation. Issue #1 is that we don't have a bed rail for the crib when it converts to a toddler bed. I tried to get one for Jacob, but our crib has a solid platform. Most of the rails are made for cribs with a metal spring platform. I do believe I've found one now that should work, and I can get it for a little more than $30. That seems fine, but then I think, do we need it? Jacob made it without one. But our setup wasn't the most effective, or probably as safe as we'd prefer it. We basically used our breathable bumper to make a soft barrier to keep him in. It was just enough resistance that it would have taken a good roll to get over it, but if he somehow fell between the bed and the bumper, it was loose enough to let him through and not strangle him or suffocate him. But still, now that I found a rail that will work, it seems logical enough to just buy it and make it much safer. Still, I wonder how much use we'll get out of it. Jacob took to sleeping on his floor after about six months in the toddler bed and I'm not sure he ever went back before he moved to his new room a year later, so we wouldn't have gotten our money's worth with him. I will fight tooth and nail to get Carter to stay in bed because floor sleeping ruins the carpet, so we'd hopefully get some extra use out of it this time around. But if I find the right solution to the puzzle below, maybe we'd want to get going on the real big boy bed sooner than we thought.
Sometimes I think we should just bite the bullet and get him a real big boy bed instead. We have a bed rail for a twin bed, so he'd be protected there. On one hand it would be nice to eliminate the limbo of the toddler bed and just start working on converting Carter's room to its final "big boy" setup. Bed in, rocking chair out. But then I start thinking about furniture and I have this nagging thought in the back of my mind. Do we buy him something totally new, or do we take the opportunity to let Jacob exert some independence?
See, Jacob constantly complains about his room. It's hard to understand what his issue is, but he thinks it makes noises, that something is in the closet, or who knows what else. He comes up with every excuse in the book to not be in there. While I don't think it's the furniture that bothers him, I just wonder if letting him start fresh and pick his own might make him more comfortable. His current furniture has a ton of storage, and that would be great for Carter's room since it's smaller. As is stands right now, we'd really just need to buy Carter a new mattress. We already have a box spring (Jacob is using my old twin mattress, but it's a platform bed so it doesn't need a box spring), and technically we already have a basic frame, though most likely we'd want to get something better. His dresser/changing table could work for now once we take the changing pad off.
Another thing to consider is that Carter's crib can be converted into a full headboard. However, his room is too small for a full size bed. But Jacob's is big enough. So in theory he could get the full bed, which he might love. He'd have to take over the changing table dresser (which he would not love, but we could work on that) since it matches. We might have to get one more place to store clothes, but it could work. His closet is huge, too.
At this point I'm thinking I might just have to spend the $33 on the crib rail just to buy us enough time to figure this out properly. I don't want to jump into anything. But I don't want to wait forever either. Carter's room is going to start looking awfully babyish really quickly, so I definitely want to start figuring out our next steps. But then again, I just read a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers whose son is a couple months younger than Carter, and she just took down their crib...and now her son is waking up at all hours demanding food, beverages, and playtime. He stays up all night after only a few hours of sleep! THAT is exactly what I want to avoid. I'd like to think I'd be tough and not let Carter get away with anything like that, but sleep deprivation does funny things to you.
So...that's my dilemma. I feel totally unsure and while I'd love to get Jacob's input, I don't really want to make a $500 decision based on his flip-flopping. I suppose I should do some measuring and online shopping first, but yes, that probably means I need to buy the crib rail in the meantime. Sigh. See, who says blogging doesn't help me process this stuff?