For the first 3 months after he was born, Donovan slept in a moses basket by our bed. After that, he moved to his own room, on his own little Montessori-style floor bed (I talk here about my reasons why). We childproofed the room and set up a baby gate across the doorway, and it all worked out really well for about 4 months. Then we moved back to the US, where for a good 6 weeks our stuff was crossing the ocean and we were in temporary abodes and thus D had to make do with a pack-n-play as his sleeping quarters. At the same time he was learning to crawl and then to pull himself up to standing, so that by the time we finally were in our house, and he in his floor bed again, he was way too interested in practicing his new moves to even think about taking a nap. It would have been comical if it hadn't been so frustrating at the time-- I'd put him down for a nap, and he'd be drawn like a magnet to his shelves or any other furniture in his room to practice pulling up, instead of sleep. We'd try this a few times, and finally, defeated, I'd stick him in the pack-n-play again and he'd go right to sleep. You could almost hear him say, "Aaah thanks, Mom, now that I don't have access to the other stuff I can FINALLY get some sleep!"
So I said good-bye to the floor bed and we got him a crib. But I've always still had the thought in the back of my mind of trying to transition him back again at some point. It's been on my mind a bit more lately, as I see him starting to make movements like he wants to climb his way out of the crib (a big fear of mine, and one big motivator for trying to avoid the crib to begin with). I also look at him and think, he looks nothing like a baby anymore, so why does he have to sleep in a baby's bed?
Then we got Nev, and I kept seeing her going into D's room while we played in there and she could so easily climb up onto his furniture and then jump into his crib, and it was unclear she knew how to get out. The door to D's room doesn't shut all the way (it won't latch closed, something about the door frame), and the slats on the child safety gate still blocking the doorway are wide enough for her to pass through, so I can't keep her out of the room. My fear is that she'd go in there while he's sleeping, jump into the crib, then not know how to get out and freak out at D.
So, since I'd already been thinking of trying this anyway, I decided to go ahead and lower one side rail of D's crib (his is a kind that converts to a toddler bed, so you can take one side down really easily while still keeping the other 3-- one side and the foot and head of the crib-- in place and secure). When I showed D his new bed set-up he immediately loved it, thinking it was really really cool that he could climb in and out of bed on his own.
My worry was what this would do to his sleep now, since he could get up out of bed without help. Putting him down for naps and bedtime for the past year (since we "Ferberized" him at 6 months) has been ridiculously easy-- we literally just go through a short bedtime routine and then lay him down, and 90% of the time he goes right to sleep w/out a peep. Since Friday night it's required a bit more invovlement than that, though not as bad as I'd feared. He'll stay in bed if Zach or I are sitting next to him, and eventually fall asleep-- sometimes only 15 minutes later, other times as much as 45 minutes later. Most of the time it's gone ok, though Saturday night took a really long time (it might have been 1.5hrs, though we also switched strategies a couple times don't know if that helped things any) and this morning he didn't take a morning nap at all. He also is having trouble staying on his bed overnight, as in we'll check on him before we go to bed and he'll be either half-off or entirely on the floor next to the bed (which is very low, so not much of a "fall" and he sleeps right through it).
So I'm still unsure about this move, though I guess we're sticking to it for now. I'm hoping he eventually moves to not needing us to sit with him although I don't know how realistic that is, without some intervention. I don't know what he does with Zach but with me he insists on holding my chin, which I think is what he's chosen as his "lovey." I wonder if I should try to encourage taking on a separate object and if that would help things or not, like maybe if he has a real lovey he won't need us as comfort anymore? I looked in my sleep books and neither mentioned anything about transitioning a kid to a bed, which seems odd to me.
I will say, it's pretty darn cute to hear him walk up to his door after a nap, open it up, and stand by the gate and call out to us. =P