Saturday, June 20, 2009

Crib Quandry

I have decided we're in a unique situation.

Yeah, I know that's not much of a surprise, but hear me out...

We're a couple months away from expecting our fourth child. FOURTH. That is still so wild to me. In any case, we find ourselves wondering what to do with this baby after a few months, in regards to it's sleeping situation.

With our first baby, Gi-gi contacted her millionaire-niece who was enjoying an old crib in her "collection." I'm not sure if it was 'on display' or not, but let's just say she was sad to see it go (Gi-gi had loaned it to the niece's daughter for her babies). The crib is actually great; it's an old hospital-nursery crib that the hospital got rid of in 1950 when Gi-gi and gramps had their first baby. I don't know how old it was at that point, but it's tall, both sides drop down, it's got great wheels, was made of steel and had a nice thick coat of white lead paint, which Gi-gi's children and grandchildren (my brother and I) practiced our teething on. Of course, being a hospital nursery crib, it's not your regular full-size by any means. But it's perfect for when they're still little. And it (barely) fits through doorways.

Much to my relative's chagrin, Gi-gi and I had it sandblasted and repainted yellow (non-lead-based, I presume). Goodbye antique value! At about 4 months of age, Big Sister moved into this crib, and at about a year or so, needed a "real" crib. Gi-gi came to the rescue again, bringing us an old wooden contraption with a fanciful animal painted on one end. Also "antique" and not likely up-to-crib-code. It was also somewhat rickety, so Hubby screwed a piece of 1x2 in the center of the rear panel, from the top rail to the bottom (again, "goodbye" value...). It had a dropping side, but the mechanism was partly ruined, so that was hit-and-miss.

We used this pair of cribs for Little Artist as well, but was offered a fairly new (had housed 2 children thus far) crib when expecting Organique. We took it, figuring it had to be in better shape than the old rickety heirloom.

Of course, I looked at all the stickers and labels I could find and googled for information on it. It had a recall issued due to a badly-engineered drop-side mechanism, but I could contact Graco, I think, for some hardware to fix the problem. So I did. Of course, this "fix" resulted in a side that was safe, but also NOT drop-able. Further research revealed some other issues (nothing terrible, just things to watch for), and the discovery that the actual manufacturer had gone completely out of business. And by completely, I mean that their email was returned and calls to their 1-800 # were met with phone-company recordings that the number was no longer in service.

So, when putting the thing together, finally, I had to bust out the baling wire and duct tape (just kidding. No duct tape, and the wire was actually electric-fencing wire), but got the thing to hold together. Yeah, I'm a safety freak. One end was missing the casters, so a book and a chunk of wood leveled it. More or less.

And this is what Organique slept in for the past year or less, until last weekend when she slept in a homemade toddler bed at Gi-gi's. It was a transition, but when Gi-gi offered to let us take it, we did, loving how our new van has stowaway seats and others that tumble forward and such. It fit; barely. Of course, Hubby nearly tore it apart removing it from the van and maneuvering it upstairs, but we were happy to be rid of the death-trap crib and replace it with the bed. Of course, getting Organique to sleep at nap- or bedtime is a ritual in law enforcement, since she can escape quite easily from this bed.

Last weekend I also learned something else... The rickety wooden crib was not originally in our family, but the family of the crazy next-door-neighbors Gi-gi had from the time she and Gramps bought their house in 1949 or so. I should say, the parents were crazy, and harassed my brother and I in the same way they'd harassed my mother many years before. The daughter of this couple is *not* crazy, apparently, and she or her son had actually asked Gi-gi about this crib (perhaps Gi-gi had it from way back?) a few years ago, when we were using it. At this point I feel quite obligated to get it back to that family (with apologies for the 1x2 screwed into it?). About as obligated as I feel not to reassemble the Total Recall crib for this upcoming baby. Of course, I still have some time before Baby #4 will be in need of such a crib, but it's on my mind.

So really: How many families expecting their fourth child within a reasonable time frame, who haven't moved cross-country or had their house burn down or anything else otherwise notable, find themselves in want of a decent, regular crib? That seems odd to me.

Too, I feel a little handicapped. First-time mothers searching for such are often overwhelmed with offers from friends and family who will 'pitch-in' to buy such a thing, or spend Saturdays garage-saling with their mother or mother-in-law. Me? Notsomuch. Garage-saling with the girls would be less than thrilling for their mother, and just the thought of so many stops for what would likely be a wild-goose-chase makes my pelvis ache.

I think they've finally got a craigslist going in our area, though, so I might try that, or perhaps make calls to area thrift stores. Any other ideas?

In the meantime, though, I look at the carcass of the last crib, and all those vertical rails just make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside... Why, I could trellis beans on that! Homemade baby-gate? Oooo, maybe hang fabric or quilts on that part! How about hem-in the turkeys? Wow, we could suspend that from the ceiling and add a few S-hooks to make a hanging pot rack!


sariah said...

How about needing a crib with baby number six? :-) We gave our last crib to Salvation Army thinking we didn't have need for it did I know I would get baby hungry again!!

EllaJac said...

Hehe, but at least you have a good excuse! An age gap definitely qualifies.

I'm rethinking the wisdom of moving the baby from a cage to a Bed From Which She Can Escape within a week of the longest day of the year. What a challenge last night (and this morning!) was!

MamaJ said...

HAHA! We have needed a swing with every child, even #4. How funny! We have had the same crib, my Mom bought it for us when #1 was on the way. But swings and strollers have come and gone with each child. We've borrowed, found at garage sales and swapped out about 7 or 8 strollers.
Both of our boys went into a regular twin size bed w/a rail at around 16-18 months. They were escaping the crib by climbing over! So, we've never even used the crib-turns-into-a-toddler-bed capability. Maybe Baby Girl will use it, but I doubt it.
I would go with Craigslist. Or maybe call the thrift stores before having to head out and search one down? If you trellis beans on the old one, please take a picture. ;-)

Rachel Le said...

I vote Craigslist. That way you can call/email and see if it's available without all the wild-goose-chasing of garage sales, and you can still make a lower offer than the listed price.