The Home Depot employee seemed to have found exactly what I wanted, but he kept on scouring the shelves. Then I realized he was trying to find a bag cheaper than the $5 one he had in his hands.
Without even thinking, I said, “Look, right about now I’d pay $1,000 for four screws.”
Raising children definitely has some pretty insane moments. Most of the time it’s a thrilling ride, watching your child develop, hit milestones and achieve things for the first time. But just when you think you’ve got things under control, inevitably something will change and it’ll take a while for you to get things settled down again.
In an effort to peel back the curtain on parenting for friends without kids or those contemplating having kids, here’s the back story on why I found myself in a Home Depot on a Saturday night, one hour before my son’s bedtime, desperate to race home to try get him to sleep. My parent friends will almost certainly be able to relate.
Harrison figured out how to climb out of his crib at 18 months. We switched the crib around so the high bar on the back was facing the front. This had stopped his sister from climbing out for an extra 8 months when she had first escaped at the same age. However, we sensed he might not be deterred for quite so long.
Sure enough, I got a call at work on a Thursday when he was 22 months old. Jennifer’s first words were, “We’re screwed.” Harrison had climbed out during his nap.
It was far too early to be contemplating converting the crib to a toddler bed, but we knew we’d have to do it and soon. Because he hadn’t napped that day, we figured he’d go down easily, which would give us a day to think through how we’d manage the transition. We weren’t able to use covers on the door handles to stop him getting out as we’d done to manage his sister. They didn’t fit most handles in our new house and he’d already figured out how to crack them open on those they did fit.
Sure enough, Jennifer managed to put him down pretty easily that night. While she did that I researched alternative solutions to keep him in his room. We went to bed a few hours later and just before we turned out the light we heard a small thump upstairs. Moments later I thought I heard a pitter patter of little feet and I sprang out of bed. When I arrived at the bottom of the staircase, I looked up and there was Harrison peering down at me as his tiny legs awkwardly made his way down the large steps. He had a huge grin on his face, clearly proud of what he’d just accomplished.
I scooped him up and took him back to his room. Because he’d already had some sleep, it took over half an hour to get him into a deep slumber, which included one failed attempt by me to sneak out of his room after 15 minutes. By now it was approaching midnight and Jennifer and I were both exhausted, but hopeful that would be the last interruption before morning.
Those hopes were dashed a little after 4am when his monitor lit up as he clambered over the top of the crib and opened his door. Jennifer attempted to get him back to sleep, but nothing in our parenting bag of tricks was working. We had to resort to the old fallback of a car ride, so we bundled him up and Jennifer hit the road around 4.45am.
Before she headed out, we had huddled like a Mission Impossible team to agree on the strategy if he fell asleep. At 5.10am, I received the text and sprang into action. I prepped Harrison’s room, opened the front door so Jennifer didn’t have to struggle with door knobs or keys, and dashed downstairs to manage the dog, who would inevitably bark and wake our son if he heard them coming inside. Somehow Jennifer pulled it off and got Harrison into his crib without waking him. We were still exhausted when we were woken a couple of hours later by our daughter.
Nap was a write-off again on Friday and Jennifer was understandably desperate for a break. We hadn’t had a chance to discuss the different options I had found online to prevent Harrison from leaving his room and there was no point discussing it. I ordered everything and paid for next day shipping. That evening we found ourselves in the kitchen, eyes glazed, staring at each other and Jennifer said what we were both thinking, “This isn’t sustainable.”
Harrison was very tired by the end of the day and I got him to sleep pretty easily. Perhaps because of this, he didn’t wake before midnight. Sadly, he woke again shortly after 4am. We each took turns trying to settle him back to sleep, but to no avail. After 5am, I bundled him up and hit the road heading north on Interstate 5. If he did drift off, the plan was for me to keep driving, as I’d never had much success getting him out of the car and back into bed. Besides, Jennifer desperately needed some more rest.
He was wide awake after I’d driven about 20 miles, so I turned around. Much to my surprise, just before we arrived home, he seemed to be drifting off. I took a detour and did a loop around Green Lake. After one circuit he was still awake, but after a second he was almost out. Rather than head back to the freeway, I decided to drive through Ballard and take a more scenic drive. He fell asleep before I got there so I started following the coast and at a certain point decided to pull in to a marina parking lot; I figured maybe I could get a nap in too. I put the car in park, reclined my seat and after a while I drifted off.
Less than half an hour later the sun started rising and I knew I’d need to get moving again to keep him asleep any longer. Before I arrived home, he woke, so we headed inside for breakfast with the rest of the family.
Later that day, the things I’d ordered online arrived. I tested something that looked promising – the Door Monkey Door Lock – and a little after 5pm we started the process of converting Harrison’s crib to a toddler bed. We were rather proud of ourselves, as it seemed we had done a good job storing all the parts we needed. After we’d disassembled one side of the crib and were putting the necessary pieces in place, we discovered we were missing four screws that were essential. I leapt into the car and that’s how I find myself in the Home Depot at around 6pm.
After I thanked the employee and paid for the screws I needed, I sped home. They worked perfectly and we let Harrison check out his new bed, which he loved – the photo above was taken moments after we’d converted his crib. Jennifer had little difficulty getting him to sleep. Although he woke in the middle of the night, his attempt to get out of his room was thwarted by the Door Monkey. He protested a little, but eventually clambered back into bed and fell asleep on his own.
Over the next few nights, we had to settle him down a couple of times, but things got back on an even keel very quickly. We caught up on lost sleep and braced ourselves in the knowledge that we’d need to adjust again when one or both kids hit a new milestone in the not too distant future.