The march of time had finally caught up with my son, Andy. At almost three years old, he was a tumbling, bumbling, rowdy little boy with the grace of a newborn giraffe. Not a day goes by where he isn’t starfished on the ground after tripping over his own feet. Despite my many, many warnings, his standard operating speed is “pedal to the floor, full speed ahead”. He can’t even go to sleep peacefully! After figuring out how to balance on the top rail of his crib and cannonball into it, my husband Jeremy and I knew it was time for some changes. Firstly, Andy was to wear a full body bubble wrap suit every day, and secondly, it was time for a big boy bed. I was surprisingly sad to see his crib go; it was the last bastion of his babyhood! Look, it even has bite marks from when he was teething! Where has my baby gone? Oh wait, there he is, somersaulting off the coffee table. Sigh.
The twin mattress we’d ordered online came in a phonebook-sized box, and it ka-sproinged outward with lethal speed when opened. After airing it out for two days, we were ready to assemble the bed.
“Guess what, Andy? You get to sleep in a racecar tonight!” I informed him.
“A wacecar?” Andy shrieked, confusion on his face. “I don’t wannna sweep in a wacecar.”
“It’ll be fun, I promise,” I replied. Jeremy and I (okay, mostly Jeremy) spent the afternoon building the bed and rearranging our son’s room. After lots of sweat and tears (mostly mine), Andy’s big boy bed was ready. “Look, buddy!” I said, as I brought him in, “what do you think?”
“Where’s my cwib?” he demanded.
“The crib’s gone,” I replied. “You’re a big boy now.”
“I not big boy. I ANDY,” came the retort, his lower lip trembling. Oh boy. We spent the next half hour coaxing, bribing, and cajoling Andy into accepting his new sleeping arrangements, and he finally came around. Or so I thought.
That night, we went through his usual bedtime routine and tucked him under his blankets. I closed the door and sighed with relief; the hard part was over, right? Of course not. It’s never over. I’m always wrong about parenting. I watched the monitor with mounting horror as Andy swung his legs over the side of the bed and strolled out of his room. What had we done to deserve this? “It’s bedtime, Andy,” I told him sternly, as I led him back to his room. “Stay in here and go to sleep.” Eleven times. ELEVEN TIMES over the next two hours, this kid hopped in and out of bed like a flea. I finally snapped and said “GET. IN. BED. NOW.” The menacing edge in my voice did the trick, as Andy slunk back under the covers and stayed there.
Just when you think you’ve solved one problem, ten more pop up in its place. Parenting is like swimming from a sinking ship towards a snake-infested island, and the waves get higher the closer you get. We’d solved Andy’s crib-diving problem, only to be faced with his “wandering around the house at night” problem. Is anything simple when you’re a parent? For now, we’ll keep a close eye on our offspring to avoid any shenanigans. If that fails, we’ll install a high tech laser beam security system to keep our kid in bed. Although, I don’t know why he’s so desperate to leave– I’d LOVE to sleep in a racecar!