On Cribs and Other Protective Devices

We bought a new-to-us crib in anticipation of this third baby. The last actual crib we had was when my oldest was a baby, but then drop-side cribs were recalled and since he didn’t really sleep in there anyway (by that point we just used mattresses on the floor throughout the house) we just never bothered replacing it.

When number 2 came along, we knew he’d sleep in bed with us for a spell and just assumed he’d migrate to floor mattresses like his brother.

We failed to anticipate his brother’s fascination with messing with him physically. We’d dart into a room to find a suddenly-awake baby with pinch marks on his face or bright red toes where someone yanked and pulled, too curious to resist temptation.

We realized cribs might not be the best solution for our family for night-time sleep, but there was something to be said about using them as a barrier from older brothers during the day!

So we have this crib all set up in our bedroom, just waiting to greet our new addition. And, of course, the older children are fascinated by it. Many times per day, my 5-year-old will tattle, “Mom! Felix is in Squishy’s bed again!”

And then from upstairs I’ll hear, “No! Dis *MY* bed!”children playing

Don’t ask me how the 2-year-old gets in there. Don’t ask me why he can’t/won’t extract himself. But I can already see that we’re going to run into some explosive situations when the new baby makes his appearance.

Yesterday, for instance, my husband installed the mobile I thought we threw away 5 years ago.

It was such a joke, the idea that our first baby would sleep at all, let alone in a crib while contentedly staring at a mobile. Ha! Haha!┬áBut my husband isn’t giving up hope that this third time is the charm and we’ll have a baby who feels tired sometimes. Or might just be content to gaze upon some stuffed zoo animals.

Except that the 2-year-old is now claiming the animals on the mobile. He climbs up into the crib to cuddle the wee critters, to suck on their faces and mark his territory, let us know that he is not messing around.

So if the crib, with its bars and its height, is not enough to protect this wee baby from big brothers, what the heck am I supposed to do? You can imagine that baby gates are pretty useless at our house and we have the sort of ancient, wooden doors that only close half the year. We’re currently in the half of the year where they are swollen by humidity, laughing at us if we try to yank them into submission.

I’m considering buying one of those hospital cribs that has a lid. Like a cage. But for the baby’s protection, you see! That, apart from constant vigilance, is my only good idea right now. And constant vigilance only works if mom never has to do things like pee or stick her head in the fridge to prepare food…

Did you find a good way to protect a napping baby from curious older siblings? Leave us a comment to share what works at your house!

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