That 70’s Crib

There are a few things I don’t like to blog about. One is my marriage. Another is my religious beliefs. And another is parenting. I love to write about Baby Bug but parenting, as a topic, is a whole other fish. Parenting is so subjective and everyone feels strongly if not passionate about the choices they’ve made. So I’m afraid to admit to some of the choices I’ve made because I know there is going to be somebody (or lots of people) out there shaking their head. I can just hear the voices in my head, “Brenda Brenda Brenda….you would have saved yourself so much heartache if you would have just done x y and z instead of a b and c…”

So until now I’d rather just commit my mistakes in private. But I have to come clean on one of them for the sake of a good story. At least I hope it’s a good story.

Here it is. Here is my big confession. I have separation anxiety with Baby Bug. I don’t like to let her sleep alone. She’s probably fine without me but I’m not fine without her. I get lonely for her if I’m separated from her for more than an hour.

This was all fine and good when she was sleeping in her bassinet beside my bed. But then she started growing and I’d wake up to see a leg flying over the side of the bassinet. I knew it was only a matter of time before it was an arm and a leg and then… Kerplop! there she’d go, right over the side of the bassinet and onto the floor.

I didn’t know what to do. Toby and I agonized about this for weeks. We let her stay in her bassinet until she was six months old and way way way past the time to be moving to a crib. Not size wise, because she’s a small little scrapper of a baby, but way too big intelligence wise. She could almost sit up and discuss politics and weather with us if she wanted to.

I read in all the books that at around three months, babies can sleep through the night. A lot of people say it’s a good idea to move them to their crib in another room so you don’t wake up and feed them at every little cry. The thing is, I like waking up and feeding her in the night. She’s not a really good eater during the daytime and I felt like maybe this was a time for her to catch up on her needed calories. LIke I said earlier, she’s a little scrapper. The circumference of her thighs are a quarter of the size of all the other babies her age. Plus I’m a light sleeper and I didn’t mind. She’s a good baby and goes immediately back to sleep without much fuss. I figured if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But then she out grew the bassinet and I HAD to move her to her crib for her own safety’s sake. So what do I do? The crib is sooooo far away from my bed and we have thick walls so I can’t hear her any more. I couldn’t handle it. I slept on the floor beside her crib in her room. I KNOW!!! I’m a freak! I slept on the floor for two weeks. No futon, no air mattress, no tatami mat, just me and my not so boney butt on the floor. The funny thing is, I slept great on the floor. Sometimes I think that one sixteenth native American in me shows up in my ability to sleep anywhere. That and the tan I get five minutes after walking into the sun.

The floor was great but then we got fleas. (I know as I type this, anybody who knows me in real life is never ever going to set foot in my house again. We are so disgusting.) We have cats and our cats are allowed to go in and out during the day. What do you know they brought some buggy friends in with them to sleep with me on the floor at night. I was getting bitten to pieces. It was pathetic. Especially when I have a perfectly good bed to sleep in right down the hall. We got rid of the fleas with a swift treatment of dog sized flea repellant but still… sleeping on the floor is just strange and weird. I was starting to get embarrassed to talk to my mom on the phone and admit that I was still sleeping on the floor.

I have to put some of the blame on Toby too. He doesn’t like Baby Bug to sleep alone either. Since he works all night and sleeps in the day, it wasn’t like he was missing me.

“Why don’t you use your baby monitors?” asks my mom. “Isn’t that what they are for?” Yeah, but the baby monitors are creepy at night. We have thick walls in our old 1950’s beach bungalow and the monitors seemed to pick up all kinds of other sounds besides the baby. Like weird creaking doors and speaker feedback and warbling voices from the un-dead. I’d rather just use them in the day time when my imagination doesn’t run away with me.

I decided I’d find the perfect portacrib that I could put beside my bed in place of the bassinet. A halfway-there-crib, if you will. I searched long and hard. Portacribs are great but none of them could get past Toby’s stringent rules. Toby has this strange phobia about the baby sleeping near the floor. Something about drafts and dandruff and I don’t know… he loses me when he trys to explain it to me.

It’s okay for his wife to sleep on the floor and get eaten alive by fleas but the baby needs to be properly cared for. And that means her bed must be more than six inches off the floor. No matter where I looked for portacribs, there were only two heights for sleeping. There’s the top height for little babies who can’t sit up and roll over and the bottom height that is near the floor in “play pen” mode. None of these beds could pass the Toby test.

You think he’s crazy, don’t you? Try living with him. I even told him that I and the whole internet think he’s crazy and he told me when it comes to his baby he really doesn’t care what the whole internet thinks. I guess I can’t argue with that.

Thankfully, my mom came to the rescue. She offered me the use of the old crib she used to use for my brother back in the 70’s. It’s small like a porta-crib but it’s wooden and it has legs with peg holes in them that allow you to raise or lower the bed to all different heights. All you have to do is adjust the wing nuts on the side of each leg. It’s brilliant! Why don’t they make things like this anymore?

Probably because it’s also a death trap. The slats are more than two inches apart and when I put Baby Bug in it to test it, she rolled her head in between the slats and gave herself a nice nick on the top of her head. I felt so bad. The slats aren’t so far apart that she could stick her whole head through and strangle herself but they are far enough apart that she can partially roll her head into them. It’s hard to describe. I tried to explain it to Toby by saying she rolled the “corner” of her head in between the slats but of course he had to say something smart ass about Baby Bug’s head not being a square and it doesn’t have corners. Whatever.

I slept on the floor for a few more nights until Toby got home from his little trip up north and he finally got to see the 70’s crib. What do you know, he decided that it could be safe enough if I could make a custom bumper pad for it that was extra high so she couldn’t roll her very round head in between the slats.

A custom bumper pad.

I’m crafty but not that crafty. But I was also a little tired (and embarrased) of sleeping on the floor, no matter how well I slept. So I hauled out my trusty sewing machine, bought some foam and managed to sew a gargantuan bumper pad exactly 14 inches high and whatever many feet it takes to go all the way around the crib. Phew! It was hard work.

Trying to get a sewing project done while taking care of a baby is nearly IMPOSSIBLE. Just cutting out the fabric, using the entire length of my living room floor, was a feat of gigantic proportions. I managed to get both chocolate and nectarine juice on the fabric. Don’t all mom’s have chocolate and nectarine juice on their knees when they’re down on all fours cutting great swaths of fabric for a bumper pad? Arg. Good thing I’ve discovered the Tide pen (that I can’t find a direct link to) that works like magic. Adding laundry to the mix was not part of the deal. I can only work one miracle a day.

I sewed and I sewed and after attaching fifty-some avocado green ribbons (as ties because there was no way I was going to make my own custom ties) I had myself a pretty nifty looking bumper pad. It’s a pretty nifty looking crib too, if I don’t mind saying so myself. I like the peach, yellow and green bead decoration. The colors are so much better than what they have to sell at BabysRUs.

This half-way-there crib should last us another few months or so… until Baby Bug learns how to stand up and teeter the crib back and forth on it’s spindly legs. Maybe by THEN I’ll be ready for her to sleep by herself.

My Little Merbaby

I have been dreaming of making a mermaid tail since I was a little girl. When I was young I used to stand beside my mother as she sewed on her old singer, waiting with excited anticipation to see what she was making. To me, a sewing machine was the ticket to the freedom of creation. If only I could use a sewing machine, I could make anything I wanted! My eyes would bulge at the possibilities.

I used to day dream during my “nap time” (in which I never actually took a nap, just ask my mom) about all the things I would sew when I grew up and was allowed to have my own sewing machine. I could sew a stuffed choo choo train with cotton batting for it’s smoke. It would have real wheels attached by buttons and my brother and I could ride on it!! I could sew a whole forrest of green calico christmas trees that we could decorate with ribbon and pin cushion balls..It used to frustrate me to no end that all my mother ever made on her sewing machine were clothes. Boring clothes. I used to dream up whole worlds of stuffed fabric things.

Then I finally grew up and took sewing in high school. I quickly realized sewing wasn’t so much fun after all. A sewing machine was a machine like any other machine and it was not an extension of my imagination after all. What a disappointment. I paid my dues and worked at it to became a marginally decent seamstress but sewing had lost it’s magic for me. It was just too much work for such a measly result. Why work all month on a dress, ripping out seam after seam to get it perfect, and then when it was done find out it wouldn’t fit right. What a colossal waste of time! Why bother when you can just go to the store and buy something for half the effort and cost?!!!

But somewhere deep inside me that little girl who dreamed of sewing things out of her imagination never died. I just learned to con other people into sewing the things for me. Mostly my mom.

So when Baby Bug and I were invited to a Mermaid Birthday party a few weeks ago, I longed to finally sew the mermaid costume I’ve dreamed of for years. YEARS!!!! It seemed simple enough. I drew out my idea and then I wrote that blog post and guess what… somebody emailed me and offered to come to my home and help me sew it!!! The wonder of the internet never ceases to amaze me!

Dreams do come true!

A blog reader, named Tammy, came over last night and she sewed me the most beautiful mermaid tail for Baby Bug that you’ve ever seen. It even has multicolored iridescent thread for the quilted scales. She also sewed some little puffy sea shell pillows for me to embroider and attach to Baby Bug’s onesie as the “bikini top”. It’s so perfect. I am beside myself with glee. Who cares about the birthday party. I’m just in it for the costume.

Baby Bug loves it too. She thinks it’s a cozy sleeping bag. And when she kicks her legs it makes her tail flip! It’s so cute I think I could die.

Getting a picture of it was another story. Today Baby Bug had FOUR poopy blow outs. I was so afraid she’d squirt orange guava poop all over her new costume, that is probably dry clean only…. But I couldn’t wait to tell you about it. I had to take a picture even at risk of ruining it. I also had trouble with my lighting and it’s so long it’s hard to fit everything in the frame, but you get the idea. It’s lovely.

I love my little guppie.