A thud to make my heart drop

by Ginger on September 28, 2010

in Mom Thoughts, Oh Baby!

There are moments as a parent that are amazing and lift your heart up: when your baby reaches for you, or when you cuddle, or when he says mama for the first time.

And then there are the moments as a parent where your heart drops. Like when you find your baby spread eagle on the floor in front of the crib he had just been in after hearing a thud and a scream.

Monday morning, Jackson fell out of his crib, which resulted in the scene above. Well, fell out doesn’t seem to be the right description. I think it’s probably more accurate to say: “my monkey child climbed up and over the crib rail and then was introduced to gravity in an attempt to shave years off my life.” Or something like that.

(For the record, before I go any further, Jackson is absolutely fine. He was fine within minutes, while I am now a nervous wreck about him being in the crib.)

So, what happened? We, like most people, have a morning routine. It may shift a little, but the bones of it are there most mornings. I wake up & nurse the baby, then wake N.C. to change J’s diaper while I read a book (the better to keep Jackson occupied). Then N.C. puts Jackson back in his crib with some toys and books so we can take 20 minutes or so to get ready. Sometimes, Jackson will go back to sleep (not very often anymore), but if not, he’ll sit there playing for the length of time it takes for a shower.

We listen to him babble on the monitor, laughing at his very!important!conversations! They tend to involve lots of yelling, and pounding of toys on the crib rails and shaking of blocks. Along the way, he generally ends up throwing EVERYTHING out of the crib, and usually about 2 minutes after the last toy is on the floor, he’s all done with being confined. That’s when one of us goes to get him.

Apparently, Monday morning, we didn’t move fast enough. Shortly after the banging and chattering stopped we heard the thud.

I went running into his room (his “I’m hurt” cry is very distinctive, so when I hear it, I generally move fast) in my bra & underwear, with a towel on my head. Hey, I was getting ready, what can I say? Jackson’s room is all of 3 steps from ours, so it took less than no time to get to him, and can I just say that the image of my baby face down on the floor, screaming, is one I’m not a fan of?

As I said earlier, he’s fine. He was fine within about 2 minutes–after a cuddle with mama, and a good two or three looks for bruises, cuts, responsiveness, etc. he was ready to get down and start chasing the cat. N.C. & I, however, were a little more shaken up.

Of course, it was bound to happen. If you met my kid, you’d know he 1) is a climber 2) has no fear 3) wants to be on the other side of whatever barrier is in front of him. And I know our kid isn’t the first to fall out of his crib (I know his dad did at least once or twice as a baby, and HE’S mostly ok 😉 ) But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like we messed up. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel like I messed up.

But the biggest thing about it is that I thought we’d have a little more time before it started. I thought I had a little more time before I had to fear gravity so much. Since Jackson was teeny, with legs that moved constantly, I’ve had this hunch that he was going to be a climb-the-bookcases-try-to-fly-stop-my-heart kind of kid. I just thought I had a little more time before I had to face it.

But since we don’t…what do we do now? Besides not leave him to play in his crib of course.

Brooke September 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Kellen fell out of a crib at 15 months, and that’s when we transitioned him. I love having him in a twin instead of the crib. For us, it’s been great. I also bolted EVERYTHING in his room to the wall so I could sleep at night.

Ginger September 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I just worry that at only 12 months, Jackson isn’t ready for the “not a crib” bed. The crib we have will transition to a toddler bed, but I just don’t know how he would do with it.

Granted, i could be over thinking it. I have a tendency to do that.

Brooke September 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm

They also make crib tents if you aren’t ready to transition.

shasta September 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Mittens’ crib has a tent over it, but it required a little working to get it the way I wanted. Most tents aren’t just crib covers, they also have nylon panels that go down the sides of the crib and under the mattress. It’s really stuffy and confining (like being inside a really tiny camping tent) so I cut the bottom part off and figured out a way to secure just the domed cover part to the top of the crib. Works well, but it definitely isn’t tamper-proof. Once Mittens can stand, she’ll probably be able to pull it down.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks September 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Everything I’ve read says that the minute the kid is able to climb out of the crib is the minute he no longer should be sleeping there. Too bad your crib doesn’t have adjustable levels, so you could lower it one more, making it more difficult for him to climb out.

Ginger September 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Yeah, we’ve already lowered it three times, to the lowest setting (I think because he’s such a TALL kid).
Ugh, I guess I need to figure out how to transition him.

Alexis September 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm

FWIW we did the exact same thing around a year with Cha Cha. (She took off, no joke, running at 10 months and never looked back), but we actually still used the crib for sleeping only until around 18 months or so. Basically it self remedied since did not want to fall again. Granted she soon figured out how to do it safely (maybe 14-15 months), but as long as it was dark and quiet with nothing cool to see or play with she didn’t really repeat the mad escape plan too much. As for containment, baby-proof the crap out of the kid’s room and get a good door gate, you will have to do it when you do transition anyway. For a few minutes while you get dressed it will be just as fine…messy, but fine.

Ginger September 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm

We’ve loosely baby-proofed his room, because he was never allowed alone in there unless he was in the crib. That’s now on the to-do list. (Although the bookshelf has been bolted in the wall for months, cuz he can climb that sucker in no time).

Kate September 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I’m sorry that I can’t commiserate with you on the climbing out of the crib thing… Beckett is a little over 2 and could easily throw herself from the crib, but seems content for the time being – go figure, since she is the kid that throws herself off all other furniture. I know how that “thud” can make your stomach drop – fast! But, kids bounce back and roll with the falls and tumbles like it’s nothing. You are not a bad mother. You didn’t miss anything. And, there is nothing more you could have done to prevent it. It will be the first of many…

Ginger September 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Thanks Kate. I know, in my head, that we didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s sometimes hard to get the mommy-voice to shut up and listen to the head!

Accidents September 29, 2010 at 7:12 am

Ugh! And we thought it was crazy when Hank did this at 16 months. As you know, we went straight to a toddler bed (with a bed rail on one side there was just a small opening for him to climb out, so it created a crib-like space and he mostly stayed in bed). But mainly because I think Hank was ready enough. I don’t know if I would have felt that way when he was 12 months. But I can tell you that it was relatively easy, transitioning, and if the kid gets out of bed and falls asleep on the floor it isn’t going to kill them. Knowing Jana’s experience with Sam’s broken collarbone, I’m kind of on the toddler bed side, but many people I know said they just ignored it, and the kid either never climbed out again, or did it infrequently and with no injury. I don’t know anything about crib tents, but that might be something to investigate based on J’s age. (I can’t remember if J is walking yet? I can see how it would seem bizarre to go to a bed if the kid isn’t walking, but if he’s a climber, he can probably climb back into a wee bed if he can climb out of it, and some people’s kids just stay put not realizing they can get out, though that was not the case with Hank and I doubt it would be the case for active J!)

If you do leave him in the crib and hope he’s “learned his lesson” to a certain extent, or won’t try it during the night time, maybe a futon on the floor next to his crib, so if he does vault again he falls on something padded?

Good luck!!

Ginger September 29, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I just worry that he’s not ready for the toddler bed. He’s walking, & can climb up (given the right height/leverage), but doesn’t seem to have mastered getting down (he goes headfirst if given the option). I’m wondering if we need to start trying to “teach” him how to get down, and then I’d feel better about the toddler bed?

Also, I’m just petrified he won’t actually sleep. He’s never been one to fall asleep unless he was confined by a pack n play, crib, or car seat–I think he’s fallen asleep all of never out in the open as it were. But I can see we’re definitely at the precipice here, so we may have to try.

Until then, you can bet that there’s now a boatload of padding around the base of the crib!

Kris September 29, 2010 at 10:40 am

When Anna moved from her crib to the toddler bed I made, we put a gate on the door and just made sure there was nothing that could hurt her in the room. Kept her confined but gave her a little of the freedom she wanted.

Good luck.

Ginger September 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm

We’ll definitely have to get a room gate–between the stairs, the bathrooms, and my husband’s office filled with art supplies, the kid definitely can’t be let loose!

Kris September 30, 2010 at 8:58 am

The extra tall gates are nice. We got the ones that stay in place with pressure so they aren’t permanent and they didn’t leave big holes in the OMGORIGINAL1920sHOUSE-woodwork. 😉

Ginger September 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I’ve been looking at the crib tents and covers, but my fear is that my HULK SMASH of a kid will pull the thing down pretty much immediately. He’s really really strong (he can move our LazYBoy chair around the living room, if that tells you anything), so I’m wary of the ability of the tents or covers to withstand him. But we’re taking a trip this weekend to Babies R Us to check out our options!

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