It’s not like I was expecting it.
There was no pre-planning that went into it. Nothing that we were looking forward to, like with Addie. When it happened with her, everything seemed to fall so perfectly into place. At that point, Dave and I were ready to start trying for another baby; expand our family once again. In that thinking, we didn’t want Addie to feel displaced, so very early on in my pregnancy, she got the toddler bed.
The toddler bed.
It was actually a hand-me-down from a friend, and I was so excited for it that I put it in her room with her crib the day it came, gingerly cleaning each crevice and tightening each bolt. I impatiently waited for Dave to come home from work to disassemble her baby bed. I was ready for this step so we could take another step. Though she seemed (at the time) so tiny in that bed, it has since been replaced with a larger one. No doubt, though children are a mere fraction, in size, of an adult, they need much more room in bed.
But that is neither here nor there. The day we put Addie’s crib away for her, was planned.
This day was not.
I was gone all morning for a Super Saturday session, pumped and excited, my veins coursing with ideas and motivation. When I walked in the door, the girls were already tucked away and mostly asleep- Addie in her bed, Millie in her crib. I was getting work done when I looked at the clock and realized they must be awake. Right?
Dave checked the camera mounted in Millie’s room and there was our girl, chirping away, making up stories as she played with her doll. She was so content, I enjoyed watching her for a minute before heading up from the basement to scoop her up. I knew she would be excited to see me since I had been gone all morning, so as I rounded the flight of stairs to the second floor I loudly said, “Millie girl, I’m gonna get you!” I was in no rush as I heard her yell back, “MAMA HOME!!! I’M AWAKE, MAMA!”
I was halfway up when I heard Dave bounding up behind me, “GET HER!” he yelled, almost breathless. I took off up the steps, suddenly panicked.
I hit the landing at the top of the steps, bolted left and through her door to my bouncing girl. She looked at me, dumbfounded. Standing on her mattress, two feet, looking firmly planted, she beamed at me.
But my heart sank. I knew she’d just slept, for her last time, in a crib.
I didn’t get to know the night before, where Millie went to bed and had to be woken up to nurse because I was engorged, would be her last in that beautiful, dark wood crib I chose for her sister just 4½ years prior. That night, I would put my baby to bed in a… bed.
The funny thing is, Millie’s only been in the crib for 5 months and only through the night for 4, previously we were bed-sharing, opting to move her to her own bed most nights after she fell asleep, and then transitioning to putting her in there awake when being in bed was too much of a distraction to get to settle at all.
We thought… maybe for her 2nd birthday we would switch her bed. Maybe. But now she’s not in my bed at all… and she has her own. Bed. Not crib.
And I miss her.
My bed, a king size I’d been begging for, seems so empty without a baby in it. I didn’t get to see my baby in her crib for very long I know some people don’t like cribs, but for me it just signified I still had a baby. I could walk into her baby room and put her in her baby crib. But that was over now.
Both of my girls are in their beds. Tucked in, dreaming of counting monsters and “Baby Max” (a la Big Hero 6). Though most things remain the same, this difference is strikingly hard to gloss over as just a milestone.
Each piece of the crib is put away- safely waiting to be used again. We hope to have another child, but nothing in life is guaranteed. The only guarantee, is that Millie is no longer in a crib. Addie is no longer in the toddler bed, and our bed, yet again, is just ours… for the most part.
This is the part of parenthood I don’t remember reading about. The part where simple, mundane tasks of breaking down the crib and setting up a bed (albeit at 9:30pm after a long day, while crying), will break your heart. The one where you’re not ready for another baby, but you’re not-not ready to have another baby, either. This is the part that seems to happen overnight, but surely it must have been coming for some time.
We’re verging on Millie’s 2nd birthday, and she’s decided on her theme of “Hungry Pillar Eat” (a la The Very Hungry Caterpillar), and that decision, in and of itself speaks volumes of her growth and development.
She was ready.
Me? Not so much.
I guess I wasn’t prepared for this difference in parenting one child to another, and with ache in my heart also comes excitement and some desperation. If we move onto the most important thought here… how does one keep a two-year-old in bed?