Infant rules have expiry clauses, right?

I remember when Audrey was an infant, I was very very strict in following the ‘nothing in the crib but the baby and a blanket’ rule. We didn’t have those crib bumpers and we used a swaddling sack or sleep sack with her, to avoid her blanket covering her head by mistake. It was a matter of safety and doing what ‘they’ recommended. Some recommendations I think are exaggerated (like the warnings against co-sleeping, which I think can be safe with some basic precautions)  but this one seemed like good common sense to me.

Well, until she was old enough to get her little legs stuck in the crib slates, at which time I realized why bumpers were probably invented. We got those breathable mess things instead- let air through, but not little limbs. I hate middle of the night screaming due to limb stuck-age.

The only other things we ever had in her crib was a little ‘lovey’ (I know, I hate the term too, but I don’t know what else to call it) which was small and met the standards for still being safe.

Again, this was when Audrey was an infant.

We had a beautiful sheep skin sleep mat, which we didn’t use because the poster on the wall at the nurses office said it was dangerous. (Though, I am sure there are parents somewhere who have had generations sleep on the same type of mat, but admittedly, they probably co-sleep and are better able then to monitor that baby is safe.) Anyway, the point is, we followed the “rules.”

But somewhere between, Audrey’s first birthday and now, approaching Audrey’s second birthday, let’s just say that her crib has become a little less pristine. There is an expiry clause on that “there should be nothing in the crib” thing, right?

Because now, everything ends up in the crib and I seem powerless to fight it. There are multiple blankets, designated as “my blanket. MY blanket”. There is that sheep skin mat we feared before. There are books. There are stuffed animals. There was even a brush for one nap. “Audrey brush hair?” Sure kid, knock yourself out. I am sure her tooth brush is next.

Please tell me I am not alone!

It’s okay to let go, right? (rhetorical question. It has already happened.)

I think there are a lot of ‘rules’ like this in parenting. Things you aren’t suppose to do. Toys they shouldn’t play with. Foods they shouldn’t eat. Good common sense safety stuff.

The thing I think is interesting is that no one seems to say anything about when these ‘rules’ end. Obviously some don’t end (like putting a child in an age appropriate child seat). But others. Others end. Eventually a child can have nuts. Or eat an apple that isn’t cut up into little tiny pieces. Or be left alone in the tub. (Cause my Mom was never there in the bathroom with me when I took a bath when I was eight years old, for example). But when? When does these end? And how do you know?

My theory… it just happens. You just let go. Eventually. Not all at once.

Or you see some other kid of similar age doing just fine scarfing down a whole apple.

How do you know when is the right time to let go of those ‘rules’?


6 responses to “Infant rules have expiry clauses, right?

  1. Sophie February 19, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I asked a nurse once at what age a baby could have stuffed toys in his crib and she said a year old. So there are “ages” at which the rules end, for sure. Like nuts and chips. They say 4 years old. But we gave up on some rules earlier than we should, too. Like raw carrots. It’s supposed to be 4 as well, but what do you do when it’s the only veggie that your two and a half year old will eat? I tell you what we did: we watched him carefully and made sure he sat down to eat, and we kinda know what to do if he chokes… All rules have to end, but it’s true that it’s easier to find the rule than find when it ends!

  2. Lorry February 19, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Bean’s bed, shortly before her 2nd birthday.
    You’re not alone. lol

    I’ve wondered this too. It’s especially interesting in a mixed-culture household since there are two sets of “rules.” I was all “nothing in the crib”, but shoot, at the hospital nurses kept putting a duvet in Bean’s bassinet. It’s simply not a rule here. But there is a rule about putting babies outside for naps. Bean outgrew that rule when construction above our flat meant junk kept falling on our balcony, but apparently some people put their two- and three-year-olds outside in prams to nap.

    I think for me, it’s mostly been a case of the rule just not working anymore (like stuff falling on the balcony), or the see-a-kid-of-similar-age method.

  3. Cheryl February 19, 2011 at 10:00 am

    You know when the rules change because you know your kid. You know better than “they” do what she is ready for.
    I agree that we have to let go of those “rules” sometimes. And don’t worry, if I took a picture of B’s bed, it would look the same! He has trains, toys, pillows, etc and sleeps just fine 🙂

  4. Ironic Mom February 19, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Yes, rules change, thankfully. We were vigilant with sterilizing soothers and everything until we found William, age 9 months, sucking on the stroller wheel in a airport in Thailand. I see infant rules a bit like New Year’s Resolutions: you keep them for a while, then gradually they get tossed out the window.

  5. clara February 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Oh yeah. They expire. I think that’s why there should be multiple caregivers for every child. For example, say one parent doesn’t know “the rule” about whole apples, so watches the kid eat a whole apple and then the next time the kid goes to eat a whole apple, comforts the first parent while he freaks about the kid! Is eating! A whole! Apple! (Not that it’s ever happened to me. Ahem.)

    I draw the line at tiny chokeable items and strings but everything else in the crib is fine. Starting about 18 months old, aka when the child has learned how to argue. Coincidence? Hm.

    Out of curiosity, what’s wrong with the sheepskin? The worst thing that happened to ours is I stored it in the closet between kid1 and kid2 and the moths destroyed it. (FYI.)

  6. Jocelyn February 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    In my mind rules will continuely evolve and change – just wait until A gets to be a pre schooler. I think the best rule of thumb is using your instinct and intuition.

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