Pass the tissues, please. I know I make a big deal of every “first” (first movie! first wagon ride! first popsicle!) and make milestones out of nothing, but I promise this one is legit. My tiny peanut of a baby (who I swear I gave birth to yesterday) is actually a big, independent 2-year-old that has officially moved out of his crib.
I have agonized about this particular milestone for at least six months, mostly because I knew it was something that was going to happen out of necessity and convenience (short story: little brother needs the crib) and not necessarily because he was showing obvious signs of being ready. He climbed out once several months ago, and while it hasn’t happened since, I knew the days (or months) left in the crib were numbered anyway. I went back and forth–toddler bed or twin bed? mattress or bed frame? before the baby comes or after? My husband learned to ignore me as I second-guessed and changed my mind over and over again.
We ultimately decided to wait until after Graham was born, as it allowed Cullen more time to adjust and bought us some extra good crib sleep. That was the hardest part and the thing that made me wait the longest–Cullen was a rockstar sleeper (note the use of the past tense). He slept from 7:30 PM to 7:30 AM every night, and took consistent three- and sometimes even four-hour afternoon naps, every day. These are the things dreams are made of, no?
And then, all at once, the nap disappeared and I had a wild toddler flinging stuffed animals, singing songs, and doing just about anything other than sleeping from 12 to 3 every afternoon. This lasted almost two weeks, and at the same time, baby brother had not only already arrived–he was already eight weeks old! I was itching for the empty space in his room to finally have a crib so that he had a place to kick his legs and “play” in there. And Cullen’s amazing naps–the main thing I was holding on to, tightly–had all but disappeared. After that, I felt like I had nothing to lose.
So, after months and months of over-thinking and agonizing, I impulsively decided on Sunday afternoon that today was the day. After Cullen’s afternoon nap–which he ironically did take–the whole family loaded into the car and caravanned to the mattress store just an hour after I tearily declared to my husband (thank you, hormones) Graham needs a crib! And we need to stop procrastinating and actually do this! And do it we did. Hilarious that I had Amazon-ed and Google-d my heart out for so long, and when it came down to it I decided on a whim that we would get a twin mattress and and put it on the floor and that was that.
We went to the store, let Cullen help us pick one out, talked up the “big boy bed” and made it a huge deal, and set up free next-day delivery. After that, we went to Target and let him pick his own sheets–which of course he loved. A few people asked me if I was nervous, how we were going to do it, how we were preparing him, etc. And what it really came down to ultimately was that I felt like I knew my kid, and I knew what would (and what would not) work for him.
Of course the actual decision to do it came out of the blue, but the concept was old news. I had been talking about big boy beds for a while. He knew what it meant. He also had a few friends make the jump recently, so I had him check out their beds and talked about them a lot when we visited their houses. It was definitely a topic of conversation in our house in the weeks prior. I know Cullen loves making choices and having (the appearance of) control. So picking the sheets was a huge win for him, and he was pumped about his yellow and orange selections.
The day the bed came, the mattress hung out upstairs in the hallway until dad could come home and take apart the crib. Cullen had fun flopping on it and checking it out all day long. Once dad was home, we all headed to Cullen’s room to move the crib out and set the mattress up in its place, and he seemed to take to it pretty instantly. He loved flopping down on it, and I was amazed at how big a twin bed seemed for such a little guy. It was close to bedtime by the time we were all done, so there wasn’t much time to overthink or obsess over the next steps. We explained to him over and over again that he needed to stay in the bed until mom and dad came into his room in the morning, and he seemed to understand that (since he’d repeat it back to us). We all curled up in the bed together and read books, and then it was lights out and goodnight kisses.
Casey and I huddled outside his room with the video monitor watching intently, having no idea how it would go. The first night he sat up and down for a while and rolled around a bit, but never called out or got out of the bed, and slept all night through with no issues. He stayed put in the morning just like he said he would, and got lots of hugs and praise when we all woke up. Knock on wood, nighttime has been a breeze so far with zero wakeups or escapes (currently on night four!) and he seems to fall asleep easily.
Naps have been a bit more challenging, as I expected. You have to love that toddlers are so literal–I told him that he was not allowed to get out of bed until I came back in, but I missed the huge oversight that his toy/bookshelf is in reach of his bed. So instead of getting out of bed, he just brought the party straight to him. I have come in twice to find basically everything he owns piled into the bed with him–hilarious, but unacceptable. He has, eventually, napped–but they are much shorter. Still, each day gets a bit better and he still seems excited and not at all nervous about the new bed. I’m pretty hopeful this transition will continue to be smooth.
Still, I look at how little he looks on that giant mattress and I can’t really believe it. It really truly feels like yesterday that I brought him home from the hospital and put him down in the crib all swaddled up like a burrito, and couldn’t believe how enormous it looked around his tiny peanut body. And then the baby became the one that looked enormous, and just like that he became the tiny peanut again.
I was scrolling back through old photos to try to find the first picture I ever took of him in the crib, and ended up being sucked down the rabbit hole of memory lane–tearing up at all the old photos of him in his crib, and finding it hard to believe how much one little person can change in two years. If you are a sap like me, help yourself to a retrospective of Cullen’s journey into and out of his crib…