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Meet Mr. Mom: Transferring Tots to a Bed Is a Nightmare

Leaving the crib for good can cause parents to worry.

I had a dream the other night. My brothers and I were kidnapped and forced to be in a Blues Clues movie with that bright blue animated dog.

It was terrible.

But it was nothing compared to what I think about when I consider the nocturnal happenings that could take place now that my 2-year-old toddler is experimenting with sleeping on a floor mattress instead of in a crib, which he is rapidly outgrowing.

That nightmare goes something like this:

Elijah wakes up and quietly makes his way to the kitchen, where he pulls his little step stool over to the cabinet and grabs a knife.

Or he climbs into a drawer of his bedroom dresser and it topples onto him.

Or, nearly as bad, he finds my cell phone and starts pre-dawn dialing my friends.

We tried letting him sleep outside his crib during recent holiday travels — simply putting a mattress on the floor and hoping for the best. With Elijah getting bigger and bigger, we were running out of options at relatives’ homes.

Surprisingly, he took to the transition quite well. To help, my wife and I talked it up to him as a change that comes with being a big boy.

To Elijah, it was mostly a place to jump and down until he collapsed with joyful exhaustion. When he did need to be convinced to go to sleep, he took full advantage of his new situation, blackmailing us into lying there with him and napping side-by-side. (I usually volunteered for this duty — to spare my wife the added stress, you know.)

There was always the fear that he would get up and start wandering around without us noticing, but by listening in on baby monitors, we always caught Elijah just as he opened the door to make his groggy escape, even in the wee hours of the morning.

Sure, he messed around with the garbage can in my brother’s bedroom and fiddled with the cable box at my mother-in-law’s apartment. But after a combined two weeks outside the crib he had fallen down nary a stair. More often he passed out next to a stuffed moose or laid around repeating his favorite words: tickle, poopy, and taco.

Not that we didn’t worry. With our fears compounding, we’ve decided to keep him in his crib here at home for now.

Just thinking about all of the toddler-proofing we need to do is daunting. I wish it was just a matter of finding a nice new — and cool — bed. I particularly like this hamburger bed or the giant dog bed offered by Incredibeds.

Unfortunately, there’s still furniture to be bracketed to the walls and drawers to be locked. It’s like what we went through when he started to walk, only harder.

I wonder how my parents got three boys to survive through this stage. Then I visualize what came next as we got older — bunk beds, a trampoline, unsupervised adventures around the neighborhood — and realize that this is only the beginning.

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