The Crib Conundrum

For you longer-term readers, you might remember how… detailed I was when it came to planning Elisabeth’s nursery.  I read and re-read and then read again all the books, blogs, reviews, and what have you to determine the safest yet still aesthetically pleasing products out there.  Oh yeah, I didn’t want to break the bank either.  This especially held true when it came to nursery furniture.  Knowing we would be moving outside the United States a few short months after Elisabeth’s birth – and knowing that oftentimes furniture does not survive the long ocean voyage in tact – Damon and I opted to buy an inexpensive (but of course still highly rated) crib. We specifically said, “Let’s not spend a lot of money on a crib in case it breaks in the move.”   It was nothing fancy, just a Graco crib from Target.  But I loved this crib, and so I tricked myself into believing it would be just fine.

By the time our house was available to move into (around three weeks after arriving in Japan), I was so ready to get the baby into her real, solid crib with a real, solid mattress.  It had been two months in and out of hotel cribs and her pack n play.  I don’t know exactly how, but I’m sure sleeping in a pack n play for so long must be damaging.  So move in day arrived, and what was the one thing that was broken in the entire shipment?

You guessed it, the crib.  Well, okay, not the one thing.  A drinking glass broke.  And our television “disappeared”, but who cares about a television.  TVs are replaceable.

“So what?” You say. “Cribs are replaceable, too.”

Au contraire, my friend.  Not when you have a FPO address, they aren’t!  After the shock wore off, I immediately set about ordering a new crib.  Elisabeth could survive a few more days in that blasted pack n play, I supposed.  I went to Target’s website.  They wouldn’t ship the crib to a FPO address.  WTF!?  Why not!?  Don’t they realize my daughter’s spinal alignment is at stake!?  Not to mention the risk of SIDS from sleeping on an improper mattress!  Gah!

I calmed down and reassured myself that this was only one retailer.  So I went to Amazon.  Amazon is the god of online retail shopping.  Surely Amazon wouldn’t let me down.  But, oh!  They wouldn’t ship the crib either.  

I was shaken; my entire retail world was rocked.  Oh Amazon why have you forsaken me?  How would I ever recover from this blow?  I took a few deep breaths, cursed the packers for inadequately packing my crib, and forged on through the online retail wilds.  To Babies R Us.  And Buy Buy Baby.  And every obscure baby site I could find.  And it was all in vain.

Ah, but wait!  Forget about the whole crib!  The manufacture can send the replacement part! I had a brief glimmer of hope as I sent off an email begging them to send me the replacement part.  I could hardly sleep waiting for their reply.  It came the next morning, and it was no good.  They could not send the replacement part to a FPO address.  Noooooo!  

I asked every mom I could find on base where she got her crib.  Most had brought them from the states; apparently they all had competent movers.  “Why don’t you try the Exchange?” several suggested.  I had tried the Exchange (and the Exchange on another base as well!), and yes, they did sell cribs.  Two cribs, to be exact.  Both in a cherry finish.  I could absolutely not buy a brown crib.  All the other nursery furniture is white!  What kind of craziness is that, buying a brown crib for a white nursery? Nonsense!

But don’t Japanese people have babies?  Where do they buy their cribs?  No one seemed to know.  Oh wait – try Ikea!  Yes, friends, there is an Ikea here.  So to Ikea we went.  An lo and behold, Ikea sold cribs.  White cribs.  I was overjoyed.  The crib wasn’t pretty, but it was functional and the color worked.  Elisabeth would sleep peacefully once again.  Later that day as we (uh, as Damon) was building the crib he casually mentioned, “We probably should have measured it before we left the store.”

“No, no.  Cribs are all a standard size,” I replied hastily, not wanting to consider that I might be wrong.

No shocker here, I was wrong.  Our highly rated, safe, organic soy or whatever ridiculous mattress we had bought FROM AMAZON did not fit.  Apparently the Japanese (or Swedes?) have mini babies who don’t sleep on standard twin mattresses; they sleep on “cots”, as Ikea calls them.  Damon tried stuffing our big American mattress in, but it was hopeless.  And besides, there was no way I was going to let the baby sleep on a smooshed up mattress in a cot.

It was time to throw in the towel.  We were working against the clock – Damon was leaving for deployment in a matter of days, and there was no way I was building a crib – white or otherwise – by myself.  So I went to the Exchange and bought the brown crib and cried a little inside.  At least Elisabeth doesn’t know she’s sleeping in a room with – I can barely write the words!- mismatched furniture.

This all went down about a month ago.  And really, we’re talking about a crib here!  Why am I writing about it now?  Or at all?  Well, for one thing, it’s been about that long since I’ve last blogged.  But mainly because yesterday while waiting in line to enter the pool on base, the woman in front of me turned around and introduced herself.  “Hi, I think you live behind me.”

“Oh, hi!” I replied.  “I’ve seen you around.  Nice to meet you!”

“You too,” she said.  “Are you still looking for a white crib?”

Um, what?  Someone I’d never met knew of my crib saga?  Should I be concerned that I’ve only lived here 2 months and I already have a reputation as the crazy crib lady?  Probably.  Time to tone down the obsessiveness.

Speaking of cribs, this photo is the crib at the Westin Kyoto where I stayed recently with my mom.  (It appeared to be standard size.  There goes my theory about mini babies.)  We termed it the “Death Crib”.  Every time I put Elisabeth in it, she would get stuck between the slats.  This led to three very long nights of co-sleeping.  Never.  Again.

Being the good mom I am, I took a picture of her trapped before helping her.

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