Return of the Escape Artist

Bella May has been a wonderful sleeper since we first stopped rocking her to sleep at night, way back when she was 10 months old. However, over the summer, she learned how to climb out of her crib at nap time. I simply put her back a couple of times and she accepted that she'd have to lay there. And that was that.

Until yesterday. We had breakfast for dinner - which both she and Javi loved. Of course she wanted nothing to do with the grits or eggs, but she loved the sausage and toasted English muffins with strawberry jelly. After dinner, she had her bath as happens every night. Billy then lathered her up in lotion, brushed her hair, and put on her sleeper. We then read books and watched some Sesame Street. And then it was bed time. Just as happens every other night.

So she gave everyone kisses and Billy took her up to bed. And that's when the problems started. She climbed out of that crib no less than 20 times in the next few hours. We'd hear her little padded feet on the stairs and when we'd appear from around the corner, she'd collapse in a heap of snot and tears.

So I tried rocking her. Which of course didn't work. So Billy then implemented the "put her ass back in bed technique" - loosely based on the Super Nanny's stay in bed technique. I tried to part of it but Billy let me know that I am not helpful, so I stayed away. He eventually got her to sleep around 11:30 pm. That was more than 3 hours after we first laid her down.

But here's the funny part (even funnier than her dramatics on the stairs). Billy watched her climbing out to see how it happens. He reported to me: She drags her body up the rails and then kicks one leg over. Then she wraps her legs around the slats, and grabs on to the side board. Then she heaves her body over the rail and slides down the side like it's a fire pole. You can hear her hands squeak down the side. It's great!

Yes, that's my husband being proud of his climber monkey daughter. At first, she was getting up on the rail and then launching herself into her bouncy house, which was pushed all the way against one side of the crib. When we removed that, she had to get crafty.

I thought she'd be done with it by this morning, but I was wrong. I heard her rustling around - no crying or talking, just rustling - so I went on upstairs to get her up. I openned her door and there she was - sliding down the side. Apparently now that she's remembered the beauty of the escape, she has no intention of waiting around for me anymore.

So here's the question: Do we go ahead and convert her bed? If we do, how will we keep her in it? Obviously she's not staying in the crib, but at least it provides some deterrence. If we do convert her bed, do we institute a closed-door bedtime policy? We usually leave it open all night and Billy closes it in the morning so she doesn't wake up ... and if we shut it, do we shut it without a night light?

Why can't she just stay put?!


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