PARENTING

Moments of big transition, and the ones that catch you off guard

Toddler sleeping in his new bed Toddler sitting on the edge of his new bed nap time for a toddler in his new bed A big event happened this weekend at our house: we removed the tall sides of the crib my son has slept in for the last two years (and my daughter for 2.5 years before him), replacing them with shorter, toddler-friendly ones. In truth, it was time — he’s been potty trained for more than 8 months now, which has meant countless overnight and early morning wake up calls for help getting out of bed so he could use the bathroom. And at 31 months old (or 2 years 7 months…when do you stop counting in months? I never know, ha!) he’s become a little more reliable in the way he interacts with our home and his belongings, treating them with increased care and getting into [slightly] less trouble, so I finally felt ready for the possibility of him leaving the confines of his cozy crib.

But knowing it was time somehow didn’t make the transition less emotional for me, and I’ve been caught a bit by surprise by the force and intensity of the emotions I’ve felt over the last two days. We made this exact same transition with my daughter, converting this same crib to the same toddler bed for her to use right when she turned two years old. I don’t remember being particularly struck by it at the time – perhaps I thought it was a bit sad she was no longer a tiny baby, but she happily settled into her new bed and we carried on. And on other big transition moments, like moving to a twin bed, or the beginning of kindergarten this fall (!) I’ve been momentarily wistful for the baby she was, but also happy for her and excited to see what the change would bring.

Something about taking the sides off the crib felt like the end of an era, though. We’re very nearly certain our family is complete with two children, so Saturday evening was the crib’s final night as a crib for us. I can see and feel so clearly in my mind the hundreds of times I carefully lifted sleeping babies up and over the sides before lowering them gently (and sloooooowly) to the mattress, and I can see both of them pulling up on the sides, their shining little eyes peeking over the top when someone came to greet them in the morning. Though I already knew it, I think over the weekend it hit me that my baby is no longer really a baby. It’s such a bittersweet moment!

It’s fascinating to me that this of all changes has really struck a cord and made me a bit weepy. Another moment that caught me by surprise happened when my daughter turned five years old this past spring — it felt like she was really a big kid all of a sudden, and overnight I had to accept that she was growing up and now officially no longer an older toddler (honestly that was a stretch, but the things we try to convince ourselves of as parents, right?!).

What about you? Are there changes or transitions that surprised you with their emotional intensity? Or ones that seemed as though they should be a big deal but passed without too much fanfare? I’d love to hear!

Shannon x

PS: My son just had his first night in the toddler bed and he loved it. Of course he did! He’s thrilled to have a ‘big kid bed’ and is clearly feeling proud of himself. He has all his stuffed friends and his favorite blanket and a new little clock to help him understand when it’s morning time (and when it’s not). This new phase is going to be great.


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