We’ve all seen that meme that says: “I’m Just Winging It, My eyeliner and my life”… and in a nutshell that’s how I feel about motherhood. If being a mamma has taught me anything in my 2.5+ year term, it’s that I’m truly winging it and hoping for the best. Case and point: My son has refused to eat any acceptable breakfast food for breakfast for the last week, only hamburger helper and spaghettio-s. Am I ruining his life? I’m sure a handful of you reading this think yes, and pre-mom me would have definitely judged along. But if he knows exactly what he wants and refuses to eat anything else, who am I to starve him because it’s not something that Village Inn serves?
This brings me to the big topic we’re facing right now… the transition to the big kid bed. Now again, after that first paragraph, none of you still reading should be surprised that I didn’t read every book and article ever written about the transition from a crib to a big kid bed. I actually didn’t even read one (GASP) and in true to form mamahood fashion, it happened totally by accident. So as someone who is currently in the trenches of this big transition, I have a few pieces of advice.
However it Happens, Make A Big Deal About It
When I was pregnant we got handed down a 10ish year old crib that had the mechanism for one side to come down to more easily put your baby in and out of it. The latch on this side was broken when we received it and no longer went up and down, but babies are expensive, so we accepted the hand me down, put that side against the wall and never thought twice about it.
Fast forward 2.5 years and when I was re-making my sons bed, I noticed that side had come a little loose so I scooted the crib out from the wall to refasten it and the entire side fell off. My son was watching and thought this was obviously hysterical, but hopped right into his bed (sans the crib side) and was SO excited. Mind you this was about 10 minutes before nap time so we rolled with it. We acted like this was a big surprise we had planned and he was absolutely thrilled. We sat him down and told him how all of his very favorite heroes (currently the garbage man and the police lady at our church) sleep in big kid beds just like him!
Laying Down with them isn’t going to ruin their life
I’m going be honest: my son nailed that first nap going to sleep super easy and really did awesome in his new bed for about a week. It had to be too good to be true, right? Wasn’t I doomed because I hadn’t read 75 books about it? My answer is kind of.
My little guy started asking me to lay down with him before naps shortly after that week mark. And you know what? I did it. Turns out by about 2 pm mamma could use a mini nap also. For real though, he wanted me to lay down and snuggle him and while trying to get cozy with a squirmy, HUGE toddler on a crib mattress isn’t ideal, getting to snuggle my guy close and wake up a few minutes later to the sound of his sweet breaths is something I’ll take any day of the week. It brings me back to those quiet moments close together when he was a teeny little baby that now, as an energetic toddler, I find myself missing like no other.
And again, I know some of you reading disagree with what I’m about to say, (hell, even some of my friends do), but laying down for 15 or 30 minutes beside my son so he can fall asleep isn’t going to scar him for his adult life. He sleeps, I get to snuggle, and he knows that I’m there for him. Even my 6’8” husband gets coerced when he’s in town to lay down with our guy sometimes now that the railing is off and you know what? We all love it.
Roll With It
This one is shocking coming from me, right? We’ve been in club “big kid bed” for about a month now and it’s been a learning curve for all of us. Sometimes he falls asleep in .2 seconds, and sometimes it takes him 45 minutes. He just started learning that he can actually get OUT of his bed (dun dun dun) when he drops something, and last night I didn’t see him on the monitor so I ran into his room and he was fast asleep….. on the floor right next to his crib.
My point here is that some days in the big kid bed are going to be great and some are going to be harder, just like with anything in parenting and toddlerhood – thinking anything differently puts you at an unfair expectation. Being able to roll with the punches and the ups and downs of every naptime and bedtime is all you can do.
If it seems like a big change for us as parents, imagine what a big deal it must be to our kiddos!
And if you need me I’ll be over here watching the monitor and crying into my mom wine about how fast time is flying by and how our little guy is already big enough to run into our room every morning from his big kid bed.