Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Big boy bed

Just a few months after his second birthday, Josh climbed out of his crib and fell on his head. It was naptime. I was rushing around getting ready for a rare girls' night out with my oldest and dearest friends when I heard the tell-tale thud. I couldn't climb the stairs fast enough, and I couldn't have been happier to hear the screams that shortly followed as I envisioned his lifeless body in the middle of his floor. 

That night, we took the door off his crib and turned it into the advertised 2-in-1 crib/toddler bed we purchased. But maddeningly, this particular manufacturer does not make a compatible bedrail, so Josh proceeded to fall out of bed — often. That first night, I was up with him every 45 minutes, trying to figure out how to keep him off the floor. I finally perfected the envelope technique with the sheets, which greatly reduced the incidents. But every now and again, he would come untucked in the middle of the night and roll onto the pillowed floor. There was no way to completely eliminate it. 

Just after Christmas, Josh started to ask me when he could get a big bed. He had already spotted the twin bed in my office and decided he was ready. For days, he begged for a big boy bed, doing a little dance and raising his voice to a sing-songy whine. When I finally realized that the twin bed had a boxspring and I could therefore purchase a bedrail for it, I expedited the move. 

The first night of the new year was Josh's last night in his crib/toddler bed. When Eric got home from work tonight, he got busy disassembling the crib, moving the twin bed and frame, and putting together the new bedrail (bless his heart). It took much longer than either of us thought it would. And as we proceeded, we kept cautiously checking in with Josh. 

We'd ask, "Are you sure you want to sleep in the big bed from now on?" 
"Yeah! Big boy bed," he would reply. 
"You're not going to want your crib back once you see it's gone?" we prodded.
"No. I want a big boy bed," he reassured, still doing the dance.

And so we toiled until finally the twin bed was made up with airplane sheets and neatly pushed into the corner, and the bedrail was securely attached. An hour past bedtime, Josh finally got to hop in. He was delighted. He jumped on it, practiced pulling the sheets over his head, inspected the rail, and shouted, "I have a big boy bed!" over and over. We couldn't help but get caught up in this milestone. 

Exhausted, Eric retired to our bedroom. I turned down the lights and lay down beside Josh on his new bed (which I couldn't do easily with the crib). I rubbed his back and gave him some snuggles as he settled in. He was quiet for a long time, breathing evenly and looking so cute nestled into his cozy sheets. Just as I was about to get up and go to my own room, he put his arm around my neck, pulled me in close, and quietly said, "Now you can sleep with me the whole night." 

And there it was: The real reason he wanted that big boy bed. Now he had enough room for Mommy to sleep right next to him. Maybe my big boy isn't so big after all. 

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