Moonlight Madness

One of the many things we call Maddux is Mad-Mad — not only because it’s an obvious and easy nickname, but also because she is completely insane. Don’t get us wrong; we love our crazy little daughter and we mean her no disrespect in saying that she’s nuts. But she’s bonkers, and it goes beyond even what one would expect from a little girl of almost 2.

Current “expert opinion” on the crib-to-big-kid-bed transition is that once kids are climbing out of the crib, they should be moved into a bed so as to save their wee skulls from possible concussions. However, I’m increasingly convinced that this advice has been influenced to no small degree by the children’s furniture industry. Maddi clambers about on furniture both low and high with the ease and agility of a mountain goat. And the few times she’s fallen — such as the time she went racing across the sofa to be kneecapped by the arm and tumbled out of sight, head over heels, over the edge — Maddi has barely been fazed.

Had we thought the matter through thoroughly, we would have realized that a) Maddi has no problem navigating the perils of tall furniture and would remain perfectly safe in her crib and b) giving our daughter a big-girl bed would be like turning over the asylum to the inmates.

Maddi was very excited by the prospect of her big-girl bed and had no fears or reservations concerning the transition. Knowing her as we do, this should have been our first indication that our wee girl would use her newfound freedom for evil and not for good. But, naive parents that we were, we figured what could she possibly do in her newly babyproofed room?

Cue maniacal laughter

After picking out an adorable toddler bed for our adorable toddler, we spent two days organizing and babyproofing Maddi’s room. Medicines and ointments were stowed away; furniture items were tethered to the walls; childproof locks and knobs went onto doors and closets and special childproof outlets replaced the old hardware; the room was bare but for her bed, her outgrown crib, her dresser and selected toys. In short, we thought we had it covered. But pride cometh before a fall, and we were in for quite the surprise.

Maddi managed to pull everything out of every drawer in her dresser, as we had expected. What we had not expected was that, from the headboard of her toddler bed, she would manage to climb atop her dresser-slash-change-table and, inserting her fingers into minuscule cracks in the vinyl changing pad, begin eviscerating said foam pad. (Among sundry other unforseen acts of terrrorism perpetrated in that blackest of weeks.)

Then there was the issue of naptime. Her first full day in the new room, Maddi romped about for an hour or so and was eventually discovered slumbering in the space underneath her old crib, where she had apparently succumbed to the sandman mid-play. The next day, she napped in her big-girl bed. We were delighted — completely unaware that this was the last nap she would ever take in her big-girl room. For the next several days, naptime was ushered in by the sounds of revelry and mysterious banging and thumping noises from Maddi’s quarters. And the noises didn’t stop. When Maddi grew tired of playing, she would bang on the wall and scream blue murder for hours on end. We removed her toys in hopes that she would sleep better, but our darling princess merely turned to the heating intake grate, the spring door stop and her dresser drawers (and their supply of diapers) for entertainment.

Now if Maddi was not the type of child who needed naps, we wouldn’t have minded her naptime frolics. But while a well-rested Maddi, if a little spirited, is an absolute delight to be around, an ill-rested Maddi lives up to the nickname Mad-Mad, whether you define “mad” as angry or crazy. We had planned on giving the new bed a two-week trial period, but after six days of hitting, scratching, deliberate use of crayons on furniture, spitting, biting, tantruming and other insanity, we decided that it would be to the benefit of everyone to move her back into the crib, where she would theoretically begin napping again.

While the kids and I were at the gym, Chris — blinking back tears — dismantled the beloved toddler bed and moved everything back as it had been before our fateful decision to move Maddi from the crib. We’re still working on getting her to stop vaulting out of the crib 20 times an afternoon, but she’s been operating at only 20 percent insanity instead of full-tilt crazy as she had been during “Dawn of the Bed.”

And here’s a picture of our little sweetheart assessing her new big-girl bed, before everything went horribly wrong:


And 15 minutes later, when we came in to lock her childproof light switch in the off position:

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