Yep, my kid still sleeps in a closet: our post-crib sleeping solution

Tavi's new bed
Those of you who have read Offbeat Families for a while may recall that, since my family of three shares a one-bedroom home, our son's bedroom is a converted walk-in closet. It's worked out really well for us, but my son Octavian is now a very large 19-months-old (seriously: dude is bigger than some of his three-year-old friends. He won a genetic lottery) and his second-hand crib was on the small side of things to begin with. It's become increasingly clear that it is time for our son to graduate to his next bedding situation.

The closet nursery before shot
Inspired in part by Alice Lasertron's Montessori bedroom, we started considering a floor mattress for Tavi. It makes sense given the size of the closet/room: we could fit a very small child's bed into the closet, but it would take up the entire space. Complicating matters further, a back corner of the room is taken up by a 1'x1' enclosed pipe, so a bed wouldn't be able to fit against the wall. A mat on the floor also means there's nothing for him to fall out of — if he rolls off the mat, it's a 2" slide to the rug on the floor.

Even with all these reasons for why a floor-bed made perfect sense, I felt myself fighting the idea a bit. My son… on the floor? But, shouldn't he have something special-er? Something less "here's a pile of pillows; 'night kid"? He's my precious baby beans! NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER ON THE FLOOR!

I even took a cursory glance at some toddler beds, but it just made no sense. It was basically my own misguided issues of pride and weirdness getting in the way of clear logic. A bed on the floor absolutely makes the most sense for our space and my son's age. Special-er concerns be-damned!

So, our solution? Well, it was pretty straightforward: we bought some crap at Ikea and dumped it on the floor.

Tavi's new bed

Ikea crap we purchased:

As you can see, there's absolutely NO unifying theme. We're still using the rainbow stars and skulls bedding from Rockerbye Baby, and now we've got a lot of green, and there are animals, and shark and whale posters on the wall. But jumbled aesthetics aside, the true test of the space is whether Tavi likes it.

Tavi's new bed

I was ready for a rough transition. Tavi goes to bed pretty easily, but would that still be the case if there was no cage to hold him in when I laid him down? Would he be pounding on the closet door, screaming to be let out? The first night, I took him in after his bath for pre-bedtime stories.

"Lay down!" he instructed, flopping down on the mattress. We read stories, and then I snuggled down next to him on the mat. (Major bonus of mattress on the floor: I can lay down and snuggle with him!) When it became clear that my presence was being more of a distraction than a reassurance, I gave him a kiss and slipped out the closet door.

Tavi's new bed
The Twilight Turtle, doing its thang
It definitely took Tavi longer to fall asleep. For 20 minutes or so, I could hear him in the closet, chatting quietly to himself, "Lay down … blanky … nana bear … leaf … lay down …" but there was no crying, and certainly no pounding on the door. Eventually the chatting petered out, and when I peeked in on him, he was splayed out on the mattress, wrapped around the Krokodil.

In the morning, instead of waking up with a scream and demands to get out of his crib, I heard one squawk and went in to find him sitting up, happy, looking at some books from his book box. It was sort of amazing. The nights and morning since then have been filled with more of the same, making it clear that dude is super happy with the new arrangement. He's even been sleeping in a bit later! Who knows if it has anything to do with the bed, but this morning he slept in until 8:15! Amazing.

As for me? I love that I can lay down and snuggle with him in his own little space, under the leaf and surrounded by sharks and rainbows and stars and monkeys.

Tavi's new bed

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