The Day I Sidecarred the Crib

Sidecarred Crib11 months and 11 days…

That’s how long we had been parents. And that’s how long I’ve thought about sidecarring baby girl’s crib to our queen bed.

I know, I know … I’ve heard it all before. I need my own space. D & I need our own space. A needs to learn how to sleep on her own. Sidecarring a crib for a baby that’s almost a year old is ludicrous.

For 7 months, A slept exclusively in our room. First a bassinet, then a co-sleeper, then a pack and play. Each time she would outgrow one, we’d get something just a little bigger. All the while, our crib sat in her room unused. We tried to transition A to her crib – but she never stayed asleep in it longer than about 30 minutes.

Finally we got to a place where she’d sleep 3-5 hours in it for the first leg of the night. Then she’d wake up to nurse. And after that nursing session, we’d try to put her back in her crib. No matter how deep of a sleep she was in when we put her in it, the second she was on that mattress, she was wide awake. Screaming. We imagine she was saying something like this:

Mama! Daddy! Don’t put me in that thing! I want to sleep cozy next to you!!

And naps …! Don’t even get me started on the subject of naps. For 11 months and 11 days I wore her during naps. If I don’t wear her, she doesn’t nap. I could either fight her over nap time every single day, or I could get over myself and wear her. If I do the former, both she and I are crabby. If I do the latter, she is a happy baby – and once I accept it as a fact of my life – well, I’m much more relaxed about it. But she’s getting heavy! The day will come when I can no longer wear her for a nap. And then what??

Someone suggested I try a floor bed. I could lay next to her for nursing and when she was asleep, just quietly get up and go to my own bed. So I did what I always do … began researching floor beds. And I liked the idea, but something about it just didn’t sit right. What would happen when she woke up in the middle of the night? Would she make her way to her books or toys and never go back to sleep? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

So – this weekend – in a fit of desperation … I took her crib apart. And moved it into our room. That’s right … we have a crib attached to our bed. And that same day … she napped in it. For TWO hours. I laid on my bed beside her and read, planned some meals, made a grocery list, and watched some TV on my Kindle Fire (with headphones of course). It was bliss.

We did not want to lose the 3-5 hours we had without her in our bed though … so we went to Ikea and picked out a terrific crib that turns into a toddler bed. Soon enough she’ll be ready for the toddler bed … so we considered it an early investment. We put it together, put her in it, and she thought it was the greatest thing ever.

She now has TWO beds. We may be crazy ….

But – D loves it … he has his space back. That little munchkin is quite the bed hog.

We do believe the day we sidecarred the crib is the day we discovered the ultimate win/win for all parties involved. She’s changing us, that precious one. She’s making us more selfless. She’s making our hearts bigger. She’s helping us truly live a radical life. And we’re loving (most) every minute of it.

Crystal Rowe

wife to D, mama to A & E, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, follower of Christ, writer, book lover, beloved child of God

  • If it’s “crazy” to find solutions that work for your family (upon whom you and your husband are the world’s foremost experts), then, yeah, crazy.

    Isn’t amazing what babies do to our hearts? Thanks for this.

    • You know Sheila … I had no idea how much “society” had to say about the “right” way to parent. Finding my own parent voice has been, by far, the hardest thing over the last year. We feel so unconventional … but it really is the only way that’s right for us. And I suppose that’s all that really matters 🙂

      • It is rather stunning, isn’t it, the way people who normally seem to have a completely normal sense of appropriate boundaries lose that sense completely when babies are concerned?

        • Yes!! Right around 4 months in, I told my husband if another person asked me how she was sleeping I *might* just go off the handle … but maybe that was the lack of sleep talking 😉