Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Gate

Last Friday night, a momentous event occured in our lives. While we were fruitlessly trying to get Ben to settle down and go to sleep at my parents' house, he managed to climb out of a packnplay. I felt a sense of foreboding, trouble to come, tribulations down the road.

And I was right.

My son is a climber. His favorite activity is to find an obstacle course and climb it over and over again. Yesterday evening, for example, the course included launching himself up on my legs (that were perched on the ottoman), climbing onto said ottoman, squirming onto Daddy's legs (that were perpendicular to mine), onto his lap, and then launching himself over the edge of the chair to do a handstand on the floor and then a "thump" to to the ground. We counted. He did this twenty-one times. A few instances, he'd change up the routine and crawl in a circle on the floor around the ottoman, underneath the tent of our legs.

Other times, he'll simply climb up on a blanket chest to jump on a bed and then dive off of the bed to the floor in an attempt to do a flying somersault. Sometimes he is successful. Mostly he's not, but he rarely complains, unless he lands on a dump truck or the edge of a laundry basket.

So when he climbed out of the packnplay, I knew our time was up.

For the last several months (since February), our precious one-year-old has had the easiest bedtime routine ever. At some point between seven and seven-thirty, we see the signs of sleepiness. The delayed reaction time, the glazed over eyes, the tendency to fuss. And we suggest he head upstairs to go to sleep. About ninety percent of the time, he takes our advice and starts climbing the stairs, with Daddy in pursuit. Once upstairs, they may cuddle for a few minutes, and then Ben crawls into his bed on his own and finds his nuk, Chris pulls up the sheet and sweeps the blanket over him, up to his chin, Ben holds out his arm to then place on top of the blanket to tuck himself in. "Good night, buddy. Sweet dreams." The lullaby cd gets turned on, and Chris leaves the room and locks the gate (there's not a door to Ben's room).

And Ben falls asleep. Every once in a while, he'll wake up in the middle of the night crying. If his cries aren't the intense I-fell-out-of-bed-and-I'm-frightened or the I-had-a-bad-dream cries, we usually let him be. He cries at the gate for less than a minute, and then he puts himself back to bed. In the morning, he starts talking and moving about upstairs, and I head up to open the gate and cuddle with him for a while before he's ready to brave the downstairs.

So that's all over now. Our wonderful little boy didn't want to go to sleep last night, and we finally just locked the gate on him at 9 pm. (In fairness, my mom is here, and he was excited.) He screamed for about a minute, then we heard a thump, the pitter patter of tiny feet, and the quiet shush-bump-swish-bump of him coming downstairs on his little diapered butt.

He made it over the gate. What the hell are we going to do now?