In my head, there is a galloping horseman calling out a new milestone with a breathless desperation:
The big girl bed is coming! The big girl bed is coming!
Emily is about to turn four. And she is finally transitioning from a toddler bed to a real, twin-sized bed. It’s official. The bed has been ordered by doting grandparents. There is a date for it to be delivered in a couple weeks.
Over eight years ago, when I was pregnant with my son, Jack, my husband and I went on a mission to buy a crib. I had dutifully researched what brands of baby furniture were the best, and we alighted upon a pricey, oak model that was meant to transition from crib to toddler bed, and then from toddler bed to full sized real-bed. We used it for about four years with Jack before transitioning him into a big-boy bed when we were expecting Emily.
Turns out it is too complicated to actually fashion the thing into a full-sized bed. So, my hopes and dreams of spending so much money on a product that could be used from birth to age 18 did not come to fruition.
Which is okay.
Really, it is okay.
Because we got over eight years out of this piece of baby furniture, and both the kids got/are getting lovely big-kid beds with storage space, drawers, and book shelves attached.
It does, however, give me pause, as many things in motherhood do.
I remember how my husband set up the crib in preparation for the babies, during both of my pregnancies. I stretched clean sheets over the little mattress, inhaling the waft of Dreft and patting my belly with a content sigh. I remember how tiny both of my babies looked in that crib as newborns, barely taking up a couple square feet in it.
Both children thought they were particularly clever (as did their parents) when they figured out how to pull themselves up and stand against the slats of the crib. I remember listening delightedly to Jack, singing in his crib when he woke in the mornings. I remember tossing Jack into the crib for time outs when he was a toddler, and how he always wanted a big pile of books in with him at night, so when he woke in the morning, he could read.
While Jack never even attempted to climb out of the crib, Emily figured it out early at about 18 months old. She would surprise us by climbing out and toddling out with a huge grin on her face. Because she was such a tenacious monkey, we had to convert the crib to toddler-bed-mode earlier with her, so she wouldn’t hurt herself climbing out of it.
Remembering all these moments is bittersweet. It is fun to watch my kids grow and learn, but it is also kind of sad. When Jack got his big-kid bed, the crib didn’t go anywhere because we were setting it back up for Emily. But now, with Emily getting her new bed, the crib/toddler bed will get dismantled and put away in the basement.
Emily knows she is getting a new bed. She seems happy and okay about it. I’m taking my cue from her, and not allowing the poignancy of motherhood to infect her joy and confidence.
Much as we try to slow that galloping harbinger of developmental milestones, he flies on and on. Most of the time, parenthood is a much faster ride than we are comfortable with, and while we might lose our breath (or have it taken away) momentarily, we have no other choice than to keep up.
What milestones were particularly bittersweet for you?