I'm pretty sure he's in his room. I'd have heard the door open if he'd escaped. But exactly where he is in that room? That's a mystery. I could check. A good inch-wide gap separates his bedroom door from the floor, the result of wall-to-wall carpeting however long ago. These days we go with naked hardwood. If I lie on the floor a little ways down the hall, I can get something of a view inside the room. But right now, I think all I'd see is blankets piled on the floor, tossed off the bed.
Not long ago, a monkey foot wrapped in footie pajamas forced its way under the door in an effort to escape the confines of the room then got stuck there. I had no choice but to open the door and replace the monkey boy back into his big boy bed.
Thus began Xander's first night sleeping without a crib.
A couple of days ago, the boy was committing some random terrorism around the house and ended up in time out. His mother and I put him in his crib while we went to clean up whatever mess he had made. We returned not more than 30 seconds later and entered his room to find him smiling proudly, lounging in the armchair we'd put in there a few days ago while he was up all night coughing his lungs out and not sleeping much. The plushy armchair is more comfortable for a parent sitting up with a sick child, but apparently we'd left it too close to the crib because he'd figured out he could use it to his advantage and stage a prison break.
It was a watershed moment.
I removed the chair, all the while knowing any day now the boy would discover another way out of the crib. After all, a handy rocking chair had sat next to his crib for two years now. It was a much shorter drop than to the floor.
Then today at 1:59 p.m., I received a text from my wife declaring the following:
Put Xan in his crib for a nap. A few minutes later he opened the door and ran out to give me a hug. Huge grin on his face. Guess what we're doing tonight?
I laughed out loud. When I got home the first thing the boy did was show me how he could climb out of his crib by balancing precariously over the corner and dropping kind of sideways onto the rocking chair. Easy peasy. How proud he was.
"Are you ready for what's going to happen tonight?" I asked my wife when the bed was complete again.
"No," she answered, but didn't offer any words of wisdom. Please refer to the Great Sleep Debate of 2012 to remind yourself of what we went through to get the boy to go down and sleep all night in the first place. Now I was worried the debate was about to start up all anew.
Bedtime rolled around tonight. Mommy conveniently found a way to leave the house. I read him a few books, watched some of an episode of The Last Airbender until he was sleepy, then put him down in his new big boy bed. He curled up in his blanky like he does, turned over, and seemed to get right to sleep. We've trained him well, I thought. Mom will come home and be so impressed. No debate necessary.
I exited the room, closed the door tightly so he couldn't open it. The door jam is sticky, so even if he could turn the knob, he couldn't open the door. I figure that's our next hurdle.
Is this so terrible? With my oldest daughter, we strapped her into her bed until she would request it before we left the room at night. Otherwise she never would have stayed in bed long enough to fall asleep. But her mother and I hadn't trained her like we've trained the boy, so I figure only a few nights of blockade will be necessary for him to learn that sleep happens in bed, not on the floor at the door breathing the radiance creeping in from whatever party Mommy and Daddy have going for the rest of the night.
So, after sticking one foot under the door, emptying out several of his dresser drawers, crying the dark because he'd turned off his own nightlight, sitting with Mommy after all because she came home and couldn't stand him crying in the dark, he has chosen this: