1. Nothing in the crib
2. The car seat faces backwards until he is two years old
3. A daily/nightly routine
When Sidekick was a little older than one, I let him sleep with Monkey (monkey head with blanket as his body). I also let him fall asleep with his favorite blanket that he calls Tag (because he loved the tag on the blanket), and then once he fell asleep I took Tag away. I would put Tag through the slats of his crib on the outside with just a little on the inside, so when he woke up in the morning, he would grab it, pull it through the slats, and quietly lay in his crib until I got him. One night, I woke up and looked at the video monitor, and he looked like this:
(I quickly realized that Sidekick was no longer grabbing the blanket in the morning. He was in fact grabbing it at some point in the middle of the night.)
Like any Mom, I woke up with a start and raced to his room fearful that I would find something awful, but thankfully, he was okay. The next few mornings I found him the same way, so I decided it was time to take Tag away. I switched it out for a smaller blanket and when we sat down to read books before bedtime, he asked for Tag and cried. It broke my heart that I was making my sweet little boy so sad. It was a difficult night, and he was very restless all night long whimpering and crying for me and Tag. (Shortly after he fell asleep, I found him like this:)
The next night, I tried a different, smaller blanket, and he was up at least three times crying for me and Tag. (Even when he was a newborn, he never woke up three times!) My heart broke for taking away my little guy's comfort. The next night I tried another little blanket with a tag, and that night was just as unsuccessful as the other nights. The next day when I picked him up from school, his teacher told me that he was putting his blanket (which is just like Tag) over his head and that he could no longer have that blanket during nap. So, that day, I was on a mission to find a small Taggie blanket for school and home and finally found one!
After I found the Taggie blanket, Grandma came in town, and I left the next day for a three day work meeting. Needless to say, Sidekick's life was turned upside-down. He didn't have his momma and he didn't have Tag. Fortunately, he rolled with the punches like he usually does and did great with Grandma for three days. I was so grateful for this, but I felt better knowing that Sidekick and I got through the worst of not having Tag before Grandma took over. When I got back in town and picked him up from school, he was so excited to see me, but he quickly got over it and ran away from me like he always does. My sweet Sidekick was the same little boy I left three days prior, and he didn't seem to hate me for taking away Tag and leaving him.
I still feel badly that I took Tag away. He loves that blanket and it was his one security thing (other than his two fingers) which he relied on. I realize that he is old enough and would probably take the blanket off himself if he all of a sudden struggled with breathing, but I just couldn't risk it. I have control of that, and as hard as it was on both of us, it would be harder and I would never forgive myself if something happened to him. Plus, with my business trip last week and my upcoming trip to Cabo that I won for work, I didn't (don't) want to worry that Tag would constantly be covering his face and neither does my mom who is/was taking care of him.
I know that there will be many more times in his life when I will upset him, piss him off, or ruin his day, but this is the first difficult thing he and I have had to endure together. Taking away his bottle was a piece of cake compared to this! I have very little control in his life, but when I can control something that is for his own good, it is my job as his Momma to protect him, make the right choices for him, and keep him safe. Every day, I have felt guilty about Tag. I know I need to get over it, but I know how much he misses it... all because of me.
RIP Tag... One day you will be resurrected when I feel like my child is not trying to commit suicide.