Once upon a time, a friend of my sister’s graciously gave us a beautiful crib. Word had gotten out that we were poor, knocked up post-college kids living in a shoe box (only slightly inaccurate) and weeks later, a brand new crib arrived.
For the first few months, Waylon slept in his bed like a champ. There were even a few times he slept through the night. I celebrated by doing a very special dance and then phoning all our relatives to say our baby was a miraculous wonderchild.
Soon he was getting up every hour (or even half hour) to eat and scream and slowly I began to lose my mental faculties, promising to sleep train this child as soon as it was doctor recommended.
Then one night, I simply had enough. I was so tired that I knew sitting in the rocker for even one minute would send me into a very dark place. So I kissed Waylon’s sad forehead, placed him back in his crib and walked away. Two hours later, he finally fell asleep from exhaustion. He was three months old. It was not a good night.
The next day I left for a weekend away with the ladies from my in-law’s family. I brought Waylon and we shared a room without a crib. It was during that night I learned to nurse lying down. It was amazing.
From that moment forward, Waylon slept with us. Every night and every nap he was in our bed, made safe by the fact that our bed has always been on the ground, kind of like camping.
Some people praised us for co-sleeping, others warned against it. Mostly we were in survival mode. At one point we tried to sleep train him again when nights got rough, but it was a giant failure. He wasn’t ready and neither were we.
Fast forward to April and here we are with a 9 month old who lives in our bed. He loves it, we tolerate it. We aren’t in a rush to get him out, but we aren’t in a hurry to keep him either.
Last Friday a new king sized bed arrived for us, inspired by our bad backs and full sleeping arrangement. Ironically, the bigger bed has led us to a little trial separation, motivated by the fact that the new bed is up off the floor and too dangerous to nap in.
I thought about the crib. Waylon thought about the crib. We all thought about the crib and decided it just wasn’t for us.
A while ago, my friend Suzie wrote this blog post about Floor Beds. I was skeptical, Austin was intrigued. I liked the idea of it, but was concerned about the logistics.
One year later and it makes perfect sense. After reading a few articles and talking it over, we moved our old queen mattress over to Waylon’s ghost-town of a room and set up house.
Now Waylon plays in his room, naps in his room, and even spends a few hours in there every night, safely nestled in his own familiar stink and only one wall away from his slightly overprotective parents.
Despite a few raised eyebrows and questions of “what in the world are you going to do when he gets out of bed,” it may be our best parenting decision to date. It gives him some independence, us some space, and the ease of crawling into his bed instead of ours when one of us needs a cuddle.
If you’re rolling your eyes, I understand. It’s totally weird not to stick your kid in a crib until they’re a few years old, but the Montessori Floor Bed approach is not all that crazy if you strip it down to the basics. Really it’s just baby proofing, sticking a mattress on the floor and putting a baby gate on the door. Think of the whole room as a playpen, except there’s room for a bed in one corner and your sanity in the other.
Waylon thanks you, Ms. Montessori, and so do I.