Sunday, December 4, 2011

Big boy bed

Parenting is a balancing act. As parents, we constantly strive and struggle to find the right balance in raising our children. Too strict or too lenient? Helicopter mom or free range mom? Tiger mom or pushover? Push too hard or not enough? Our parenting philosophies are pretty simple. We stick to raising our own kids and let you raise yours. And we prefer the gradual approach to certain tasks. For the most part, our approach has paid off. With our firstborn, we gradually moved from bassinet in our room to bassinet in the nursery to crib. Worked like a charm. Sara never knew she had been evicted from the master bedroom. Potty training started when she got interested. When she wanted to try, we let her. We didn't stare at the calendar and panic. We didn't freak out when some of her friends were diaper-free. Hey, in the potty battle, they are holding all the cards. I prefer not to negotiate from a place of weakness. I also don't negotiate with terrorists who use pee and poop as WMD. As a result, potty training was not a nightmare and was successfully completed before she entered law school. Aside from her falling into the toilet at my dad's house and one badly timed game of hide-and-seek, we have no major meltdowns or problems. She moved into her new room and big girl bed before the arrival of her baby brother. We put rails on it, told her to stay put and call for us when she woke up. It actually worked. It also marks the first and last time she obeyed a command on the first try. So, we decide to have baby number two....

I wouldn't say we were cocky about our parenting skills but we felt better equipped. We knew what to get work up about (major medical issues) and what to let slide (anything else). I am a huge fan of the expression "it's just a phase". My kids will probably be going through a phase for the next 18 years. I even tried to passed off a whiny 6 year old's attitude on teething because I discovered that they do, in fact, get 6 year molars. (No one bought it)

Christian weighed in at 10.5lbs at birth (a fact my OB/GYN announced as he was running for the door). Smart move, considering that I am NOT the most stoic of women. Put a large growing fetus inside me, take away my caffeine and I can get downright nasty. He has the stories to prove it. So, our bouncing baby boy has been called many, many things but little isn't one we hear often. Until last night when we tossed him into a bed the size of Montana and told him to fend for himself.

So, second time around, we used the same approach- go slow and try to relax. We remained firm about naps. For all our sakes. My kids are great sleepers. Sara napped until she was 5. Follow their bedtime routines and my kids go to sleep without a peep. Hearing stories about kids climbing out of cribs and breaking bones terrified me. So, when Christian announced he wanted a big boy bed, I rushed out and bought one. Paul was out of town so it sat in the hallway for a week. Once it got moved int his room, he quickly lost interest in it. Maybe we called his bluff. He likes his crib, blanket, and 'neigh-neigh'. What he lacks in animal-naming creativity, he makes up for in cuteness when he snuggles that poor equine to death. This weekend, we took the plunge. We set up his bed, rails, beloved horse and blankets. Nap time arrives. We snuggle, read books then look at each other dumbly. Now what? He is supposed to sleep where? On that enormous sprawling bed with no wooden slats to provide either one us with any sense of security and comfort? Who are we kidding here? I tuck him in, kiss him and look at him. Big boy? Are you kidding me? He looks tinier than a newborn in that bed. THAT is no big boy bed. That is a toddler shrinking device.

Tonight as we got ready for bed, I checked on him one last time. Then, I promptly returned to our room and told Paul that the full sized bed & box springs sitting on the floor with extended rails is too big and dangerous for my little boy and we need to move him back to the crib. My husband's cold hearted response? "Good night, honey". Do you people see what I have to put up with? He's probably enlisting the poor kid in the army tomorrow. At least those cots are more size-appropriate than the Elvis-sized thing my baby is sleeping in right now.

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