Sunday, March 15, 2009

A small bed for Liam, a giant leap for me.

A few days after (sort of) converting Liam's crib into a (not quite) big boy bed, I realized the job I had done was not only lazy and half-assed, but also a little dangerous. The side I lowered was more-or-less attached to the rest of the crib but not exactly in a that's the way it's supposed to be kind of way. I was getting Liam up one morning when I noticed that, while the top was still attached, the bottom was jutting out several inches, no where near flush with the mattress. Warning labels with hand drawn babies wedged head first between a crib rail and a mattress flashed before my eyes and I realized that, ready or not, the side had to come off.

Liam was surprisingly fine with the transition. He is not typically the kind of kid who just goes with it when things around him change so I was expecting at least a little hesitation. OK, I was expecting full blown insecurity and regression. A temper tantrum would not have shocked me.

But no. Instead he's like Oh, a bed? No problem. Sure I've slept in a crib all my life but now I'll just change and sleep in a bed. A bed that I can climb or fall out of any time I want, even if it's really early in the morning and you haven't had your coffee yet or it's late at night and you're trying to have fun without me.

It totally freaked me out.

Perhaps the one feeling insecure and on the verge of a tantrum was me, not him. I can certainly attest to wanting to regress on occasion. Like to a simpler time when my baby was an adorable accessory who would babble or sleep while I did whatever I wanted instead of this person who, while amazing, needs to be taught and stimulated and conversed with and parented every moment of every day. Having an infant is physically exhausting, yes; but having a child is mentally and emotionally exhausting. It's wonderful, of course, but it takes a hell of a lot of work.

Gone are the days of letting him hang out in his crib, talking and singing to himself in the mornings while I shower or savor a few more minutes of alone time before the day begins. No longer will we be able to rely on our bedtime approach of set it and forget it when entertaining friends. I mean, if he can hear us having fun and can get out of bed to join us, why wouldn't he?


It's just... I don't know if I'm ready for a big boy bed yet. Maybe I just need a little more time to get used to this sudden loss of control and privacy surge of independence. But, no. It's happening. It's happened. He is in a big boy bed now (well, sort of...I am obviously not following the toddler bed conversion manual but rather making things up as I go along). He's growing up. He will only get bigger and more independent (yet simultaneously more challenging) from here on out.

As much as my selfish side wants to mourn the end of the crib era, Liam is much too adorable for me to wallow. He is so proud of himself and his ability to sleep in a big boy bed. He's even more proud of the fact that he can get out of his big boy bed and play in his room or wander around the house looking for us. We have tried setting some ground rules in an attempt to cling on to the last shreds of easy parenting but we've been swept up in a wave of pride and excitement, watching our little boy grow up before or eyes.

Each time I hear him open his bedroom door and come pitter-pattering down the hall, I assume I will walk him back to his bed and firmly remind his that he is supposed to stay there until I come get him (This is a joke, right? Do real kids actually do this?). But he is so happy that he found me all by himself and so excited to recount every last detail of his big boy bed adventure I don't have the heart to say, Yeah, yeah, you're very independent now, but you're SUPPOSED to stay in your bed. His wide-eyed, breathless explanations leave me choked up and full of joy. How could I possibly want to trade all that for a little alone time?


Even this morning when a tiny knock, knock, knock on my bedroom door woke me up, I was nothing but thrilled to see his smiling face. Yes, I had been at the bar with my friends until 2:30 in the morning. Yes, I could have used a little more shut eye (and a fountain Coke and uh, less beers the night before). Yes, I have asked him to stay in his bed until I come get him. But it's the unexpected elements that make parenting such a thrill.

I think it's time to just face the facts and embrace my roll. The grace period is over; I'm a full blown parent now.


Courtney said...

Love this post! So sweet!

Anna said...

oh, my friend, welcome to my world...although, owen getting out of bed on his own has its perks--sometimes he lets the dogs out for us in the mornings!

Anonymous said...

yes, it's a joke. Real kids do NOT wait in bed for you to decide you're good and ready to deal.