For months now, Dominic has had the urge to start climbing the walls and crawling around as soon as we put him down to sleep on his floor bed. If we left him in the room awake, he would crawl out into the hallway fussing, until we would snap and go pick him up to try it again (over and over and over again). A huge hurdle was taking his door out of the attic and reattaching it to the hinge. For a couple weeks we've been able to rest easy that he won't be roaming the hallway after we leave his room. We still find ourselves slapping our foreheads when we step on a creaky board, awakening Dominic after 3o minutes of patting his back and returning us to square one for sleep time.
So this morning was no different for the morning nap. He had his bottle on his bed, turned onto his belly and started to crawl around on his bed (kind of like he's trying to get comfortable). I patted his back and tried to tiptoe out several times, each time stepping on a creaky board or awakening him by the door squeaking shut. Finally I was able to sneak out, close his door and make it down the hall without him waking up, and he took a decent morning nap.
This afternoon after he ate some delicious chicken soup mush (a la leftovers in a food processor), he was rubbing his eyes. I made his bottle, changed his diaper, put him on his bed with the bottle, returned his few toys to the shelf, straightened his blankets and sat with him while he finished his bottle. As soon as he finished the bottle he headed straight for his new stuffed bear by his shelf. I picked him and the bear up, and placed them both on his bed amidst the blankets. I turned and walked out of the room with him wide awake snuggling his bear.
Moments later he was fussing at his door, and before I could get up to comfort him, he was babbling away, crawling and playing in his room. I thought "clearly he is not yet tired, I misread the eye rubbing, I'll just let him play". Not thirty minutes later, his room was completely quiet. I walked down the hall to see if he'd fallen asleep on the hardwood floor or the shelf under the changing table. I peeked under the door to discover that he'd crawled back onto his bed and fallen asleep. EUREEKA!!
This is exactly what I've been waiting for. I knew that in theory he should be able to play in his room and go over to his bed when he's tired. In theory the play yard should be in its case in the top of the closet until we go on vacation to an un-baby-proofed place, but it is open and ready for action in his room. Today, though, rather than resorting to the play yard for containment when I was "positive that he was sleepy after one eye rub," I tested the theory, with certainty that Dominic was just going to miss his afternoon nap since he was so ready to play. Surprise! I was wrong, and now I'm listening to cars drive by blasting thumping latin music and the sounds of a quiet house with a sleeping baby! In theory I am taking down the play yard because of this awesome break-through, but I'll probably keep it up a few more days to test the theory a bit more.