Benjamin is still in his crib, mostly because we haven't needed to transition him to a toddler bed because of an arriving baby yet. The other boys were both out of the crib before 18 months. But Benjamin seemed happy as a clam, and showed no signs of trying to make the great escape (although I have kept a couple of fluffy pillow on the floor beside the crib, just in case he tried something and landed with a thud on the hardwood floor.)
Yesterday, I was trapped in bed utterly nauseous and sick. I heard a commotion downstairs, followed by James marching Benjamin upstairs to his crib in punishment for hurting the other boys. I listened to James' footsteps back down the stairs, and realized they had a soft echo. That echo turned out to be Benjamin's pitter patter of feet across his bedroom floor and into my room. Next thing I knew a teary face appeared at my bedside as he whimpered "cuddle Mommy" and climbed into bed with me. At first I wondered why James would have put Benjamin in his room without putting him in the crib, until I realized he must have escaped.
Funny thing is, there was no experimenting at all. There was no waiting to see if James was coming back. There was no rattle of the crib rails. There was no thudding against the wall. There was no awkward drop onto the floor. He has never even attempted a climb out before; it was like the whole thing came completely second nature to him!
Later after nap he climbed out again, and then proudly showed my mother-in-law how he'd done it when he was asked.
Then of course came bedtime, with that long, drawn-out game of "I'm not going to stay in my bed." I wanted to be more severe, but it was just too funny. I'd hear his steps across the floor and the bedroom door open. He'd look in at me and smile and say "all done." Then I'd put him back into his crib and tell him to go to sleep. Sometimes he was out again before I'd reached the door. One time I was already downstairs, and we heard him yell from the top of the stairs "Whatcha doin' down there? Whatcha doin' down there?"
Eventually I just sat in the glider in his room, and every time his feet touched the floor I lifted him back into bed. Each time I let him get all the way out, hoping that he would tire from the effort. Soon we came to a standoff, where he started yelling at me to get out. I told him I would leave the room if he went to sleep. So he did.
Thankfully Caleb slept like a log through the whole thing. That kid falls asleep the moment his head hits the pillow - literally. For a brief time James and I thought we might have to disassemble the crib and put up the toddler bed last night, but we didn't want to wake Caleb. I don't think we had anything to worry about. But it will definitely be done today.