OUR CURIOUS PIGGY: THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A BACKUP
We just call him monkey.
We bought Anders a monkey security blanket when he was 4 months. We used it when we sleep trained him and there hasn’t been a day where he’s not slept or napped with it. He cuddles it in his arms and under his chest as he prepares to fall asleep. When awake, he chews on monkey (his head or arms mostly) while he happily plays with his other toys or when he’s cruising around.
Monkey is his favourite friend. That’s why we have 2- one for sleep and one for play. Little did we know that having a backup monkey was life-saving. A few months back when he started to pull himself up on the crib, he would accidentally drop it and would cry because he couldn’t go to sleep without it. So he goes to sleep with his 2 monkeys.
I almost cried when my husband sadly lost one monkey on the plane on our trip to China recently. Thank goodness we had a backup or I couldn’t have imagined how we would have had to deal with it- new place, new people, new time zone and no monkey. It would have been a disaster.
Two nights ago when we put Anders down for bed, he stood up and dropped his monkey. He cried as he popped his head over the crib to see where monkey went. Since he only had one monkey left, we went in to pick it back up for him. As soon as we left, less than 30 seconds later, he dropped it again.
Pick up. Drop. We didn’t think too much of it.
Pick up. Drop. Up the stairs we go to his room.
Pick up. Drop. Up the stairs again. Husband’s turn.
We decided we would park ourselves in front of his door. This went on for at least 15 times. This time around, we knew he was doing it intentionally. We could see him on the monitor reaching out his arm and dropping monkey. Then he would cry. We couldn’t help but laugh and laugh at the beginning- this was becoming a game to him.
We tried to talk and reason with 11 month old Anders (imagine that!). Monkey is tired, he needs to sleep. You are tired, you need to sleep in order to have energy to play tomorrow. We would have a conversation about why he shouldn’t be doing this- monkey feels hurt being dropped etc etc.
It wasn’t working. We needed to try something else.
We decided that we should just go in and avoid any eye contact and conversation. We would pick monkey up, put it back in his crib and leave. We did this for another 10 times until he finally laid down and fell asleep.
I came to realize a few things.
Anders is probably trying to get our attention. Getting a reaction out of us and seeing us pick up monkey A LOT of times in a row is FUN for him! (he loves doing this in his high chair with his sippy cup too). He is also learning that when something is dropped, it still exists somewhere. I think most importantly, he is finding out that he has his own desires, thoughts and actions. He is starting to understand that he is his own person and separate from mama or dada. This is my first glimpse of my baby growing up as an individual. It almost feels surreal. I am trying to take it all in.
We are still dealing with this monkey business both at nap and sleep times, but the number of drops has gotten less and less now. My husband has since gone out and bought 3 more monkeys so Anders goes to sleep with all of them.
Hopefully, no more monkeys jumping out of the bed soon.