I remember the day my partner and I transferred our daughter into the toddler bed. We did it earlier than most parents, thanks to a herniated disc in my lower back that made it difficult for me to lift her out of the crib. So we converted her crib into a full-size bed and never looked back. Sure, I had some conflicted feelings about my baby growing up, and I had the same thoughts every mom has when her kid finally sleeps in the “big kid” bed, but I was mostly excited. Oh, and somewhat nervous.
When our daughter was born my partner and I didn’t have very much. We lived in a tiny apartment and didn’t have much money for furniture or decorations, especially since we saved everything we could for a new addition to our family. Everything in my daughter’s nursery was given to us. I'm talking all of the furniture, except her crib and mattress, was used, and her crib was a gift from my grandmother. We made do with what we had, but the nursery was the furthest it could be from the cover of Pottery Barn magazine. So a few years later, when we had just a little more money to spend, I was excited to redecorate her room and get her some new furniture. Plus, she was getting way too big for the crib and she was ready.
When the mattress was delivered and my partner and I finished putting everything together, our daughter jumped right into bed. That night, we read her stories while cuddling in her "big kid" bed and it was pretty awesome. I hear horror stories about kids not being able to sleep in their beds and how "big kid" beds become "party time" for the kids, but that wasn't our experience at all. For us, the transition wasn't at all difficult and one we all embraced. That doesn't mean I didn't have some thoughts, though, including the following:
"Please Stay In Your Own Bed"
We never co-slept but I was still nervous that my daughter was now able to just climb into our bed in the middle of the night. You see, I love my sleep and I don't love toddler limbs puncturing my lungs and violently kicking my kidneys, so I prefer to sleep alone (unfortunately, my husband claimed half of the bed, so he can stay, I guess). So while I was excited for my kid's brand new freedom, I was slowly realizing the reality of that new freedom.
"Please Don't Fall Out Of The Bed"
It's a long way down from the mattress to the floor and I didn't want to hear the dreaded thud. I was thinking about concussions, broken bones, and fractured skulls. Because, you know, those can totally realistically happen in a mother's mind.
"Where Did My Baby Go?"
So, like, that's it? My baby is all grown up? No more baby snuggles? The end of the crib signifies the end of the cute baby stage and the beginning of "I don't know what this person is going to be like" kid stage.
"I Guess Now We Have To Lock Our Door"
Well, from now on my partner and I must lock our door when we want to do adult things in our adult bed because at any moment our non-adult can just run in and want to hang out. No more open door policy around here. If we want to play, we must lock up.
"What Will This Kid Do With All Of That Freedom?"
So now that my child is no longer restricted by the crib, what will she do with her new freedom? How will I ever be able to sleep soundly at night again knowing this kid can just come and go as she wishes? Now she can get into the most dangerous situations, like play with knives downstairs if she really wanted to, right?
Well, I solved that potential problem with a gate by her door. Made for a much more peaceful night.
"Please Don't Poop In The Middle Of The Night"
Since the "big kid" bed happened before this "big kid" could wipe her own butt, I prayed she didn't decide to poop in the middle of the night and try to wipe herself. That would be bad for everyone involved. I imagined poop hand prints everywhere.
"Yay For Cute Sheets & New Furniture"
Nurseries are serene and beautiful. They are sweet and smell like baby wipes with a slight underlying hint of a soiled diaper (I don't care how "great" a diaper pail is, they all smell). Nurseries are the epitome of innocence, of change, and of new beginnings. After a few years, however, we were ready for new furniture and for normal bedding. If you transfer your kid to a "big kid" bed, you may also redecorate and that is usually kind of exciting and fun.
While there is some underlying sadness of fleeting babyhood, there is also some sense of accomplishment and moving into the new stage in our lives. In many ways it feels great that you and your child are moving into this new milestone. Your kid is super excited and you feel relieved you have somewhat successfully gotten through the first couple of years of raising a human being.