Until recently, Tori was happy to sleep in her crib. And we were more than happy to let her stay there.
After all, a child sleeping in a crib tends to stay in her crib. She can’t get up and wander around in the middle night, sticking fingers in light sockets and waffles in DVD players.
But when I walked in her room this weekend to find her balanced precariously on the edge of her crib, seconds away from plummeting head first to the floor, I knew the time had come.
We needed to switch Tori to her “big girl bed.”
In order to make it a surprise for Tori, Brian spent his MLK holiday making the transformation (thanks to Ikea-esque parts, it was harder than you’d think).
Then, when Tori and I arrived home, he took his place as hero of the day.
“Tori,” he said. “Come see what daddy did today.”
She looked at me questioningly.
“Go ahead! It’s in your room!”
That did it. Grinning from ear to ear, she bounded up the stairs.
“Mommy! Daddy! I got a big girl bed! I’m all growed up!” she yelled, hopping up and down so fast her feet looked like a hummingbird’s wings.
This is where I expected to feel the first pang. The first slice of oh-my-goodness-my-baby’s-growing-up melancholy. But looking at her smile, I could feel nothing but happiness.
It’s two days and two sleeps later, and I still haven’t felt that twinge. In fact, I don’t feel anything but tired.
Because that big girl bed? The one she was so excited to have? Is apparently awfully hard to stay in.
Every time she wakes up (and that little monkey wakes up a lot), she pads down the hallway, looking for me.
“Mommy, I had a good dream.”
“Mommy, my teeth hurt.”
“Mommy, I can’t find my baby.”
“Mommy, I want to go to the park.”
Then mommy has to get up and escort her back to bed, tuck her in and rub her back. Then, when she looks appropriately sleepy, I can stumble back to my own bed and grab another 45 minutes of sleep before the cycle starts all over again.
It’d be easier to let her sleep with us. But then I’d never get another full night’s sleep, ever again.
So instead I’ll wear a path in the hallway until she gets used to her big girl bed—or at least gets tired enough to stay there for more than a cat nap.
In the long run, I know it’ll be worth it. I know there will come a day when she will wake herself up, take herself downstairs and turn on the TV, letting me have the occasional Saturday morning sleep-in.
But right now, I’d give anything to put that crib wall back up.