Monday, February 7, 2011

Big Girl Beds and Life Changes

As I was cleaning up my youngest daughter’s room this weekend, I made an executive decision to move her into the toddler bed that has been sitting unused in her room for going on 8-9 months. She loves her crib. She really loves her crib. The problem is that we bought the crib when we lived in a tiny two-bedroom house. Since the crib would be in our bedroom, we decided to go with the mini-crib. After all, my oldest spent so little time in her crib and had moved to her toddler bed shortly after turning one. Well, we learned the hard way that no two children are alike. Luckily, my littlest is tiny. She is about the size now at 2 and ½ years that my older daughter was at 1 (she has a genetic syndrome that causes her to be small). So, we’ve let her stay in her crib as long as she has wanted. I’d probably still let her stay in the crib now if she wasn’t now exceeding the weight guidelines for the crib. Plus, we’ll be moving in the next few months. I have no interest in carting the toddler bed and crib with me to our new smaller house.

As you can probably imagine, it was a bit of a traumatic event for her. She managed to nap in there the first day. When it came time to go to bed for the night, she freaked out. I took her back to bed 4 or 5 times. By the last time, she was shaking. She did not want to go into her toddler bed. We had already moved the crib out of her room so that wasn’t an option anymore. I ended up holding her until she fell asleep and putting her in the crib later. It seems a bit comical to me. After all, going from the confinement of a crib to the freedom of one’s own bed should be exciting right? Except that she has known only the crib since she was a newborn. The bars that seem prison-like to me are comforting to her. She was so frightened of the change to her “big girl bed” that it caused her to shake like a leaf. I am reminded a bit of myself. Just like her, I abhor change. The unknown to me is far scarier than exciting. Even though I as the all-knowing parent (snicker) know that she will be happier in her big girl bed after she gets over the initial fear. She’ll have the freedom to come and go. She’ll be more independent. She doesn’t yet know that though. It’s like my situation. Quitting my job and staying home with the kids feels a lot like moving into a big girl bed. Compared to the familiar comfort of my “prison bars”, it seems frightening. I’m just not sure if I’ll like it. Once my crib is gone, it’s gone. There is no going back. I have a little more empathy for my little girl right now as she goes through one of the childhood rites of passage. I hope one day, just like her, I’ll be happy that I made the change too.

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