(I need one preferably with a red wig and that fits into my clothes, but I’ll get to that later….)
Part of the reason I had three kids in three years was that they were good babies. They all ate, and more importantly, slept. (My mother-in-law says a sleep is better than a feed and I believe that.) I’ve always been a bit reticent in revealing how well my children have slept since other parents tend to think I’m either lying or smug. Or both. I probably would. But please, don’t think for a second that I don’t know how lucky I am (hence the not telling people). Although I have had my battles, bedtime has never been one of them.
Big Liam, my third and (did I ever mention before?) FINAL child has decided this week to give me a challenge. He’s just turned nineteen months old: normally the age when one thinks the worst is over. But then the unthinkable happened: he’s started climbing out of his cot.
He may as well have started smoking cigarettes behind his changing table, I’m so not prepared for this.
What do I do? Surely I am capable of outsmarting a one year old. I try yelling first. (My natural instinct. What can I say? I’m an unapologetic yeller.) I try brandishing a wooden spoon coupled with the Evil Eye. Menacing, brought a few tears, but ineffective. Next I tried the no-reaction, no-eye-contact method. This I determined to be the best of the worst. From Liam’s perspective, since this was all a great game with him being able to get mummy into a fantastic flap, the no-reaction method had some minimal but non-lasting effect. The first night, he eventually fell asleep from boredom. A bit of a roadrunner-coyote ending.
The next night after re-cotting him some dozen or so times, there is finally silence. Later when I go in to check on him I panic: he isn’t in his cot. To my horror, I find him passed out like an old homeless guy after one too many bourbons, sprawled out on a pile of clothes he had removed from his bureau.
Next I try the mum circuit and ask around. I get a lot of pure shock coupled with ‘time for a bed’ type responses. One friend in the same situation did a little extra childproofing and put some doorknob locks on. Since Liam’s room has his brother (whose hair he loves to pull) and a sliding door, neither is an option.
As a last resort, I consult a parenting book. (Note: the only reason I keep these in the house is purely for medicinal information: basic first aid, symptoms of horrible childhood diseases, etc.) I browse the index: ‘Cot climbing, see pg xx.’ I’m momentarily uplifted that this is even a topic covered! The book advises, ‘Remove all offensive items from the room and put mattress on the floor. Lock door.’ Now that’s practical. Isn’t this the same advice given to people detoxing from heroin addiction?
I read on anyway. Then, on the next page of the book, I saw it: a picture of a nylon piece of material that attaches to the top of a cot to create a tent-like effect, hermetically sealing fugitive babe into the cot for 12 hours. Perfect!
I’d never seen or even heard of such a thing before. (Still doesn’t beat the design of those 50s cage-cots with the swinging door and detachable feeding tray.) I don’t even know what this thing is called: I just know that I need one. Now. How is this item not on every baby registry in existence? Better yet, why don’t they just come as a standard feature with the purchase of every cot? This makes me start to wonder if this is not but a bit of a unicorn in the baby product industry: an urban legend. But I start googling anyway.
Turns out I’m right. This item has long gone the way of the lawn dart: recalled, and no longer in existence. No doubt because of inappropriate use by a few dim-witted meatheads. But throw in a couple of multi-million dollar lawsuits by aforementioned meatheads, and, well, you’re out of business. Figures. Whatever it’s proper name is (or was) the offending item is now only available on the Ukrainian black market from a guy named Vlad who accepts payment only in Asian porn or U.S. dollars.
It occurs to me that I have another option, one that has been proven to work: The ghost chair. That requires one to park a chair outside the offender’s bedroom door and wait for him to fall asleep each night, before slipping away silently and leaving the chair outside the door. Family legend has it that my brother-in-law had to do something like this. Now I’ve never clarified the particulars of this, but I believe he had to leave his pants (?) outside his daughter’s bedroom door so she would be fooled into thinking he was still there. Same concept and it worked.
Hence, my need for a mannequin. Preferably with a red wig. Replacing my actual presence with a mannequin in the chair would free up a lot of time at a crucial time of the day. Now if only I could track one down.
One friend did suggest that I contact the Red Cross for a CPR dummy, but they’re always clad in those unattractive tracksuits – he’d know it wasn’t me.
There is only one remaining option: a blow up doll. Only problem with the blow up doll is they don’t ever want to sit down (except maybe on your face), not to mention that creepy look of “constant surprise” they’ve perfected.
A small price to pay for a good night’s sleep, I suppose. I wonder do they make a Lucille Ball version?