Four and a half years ago we moved into this home, our first real house, and I can still remember spending an entire afternoon putting together the crib, changing table, and dresser that would furnish our newly baby-blue painted, safari-themed nursery. Bending over my 6-month pregnant belly to pound nails into their appropriate holes and finagle screws into their exact location was well worth the final result of what I thought to be the perfect nursery.
Although there was still three months time before our precious first born would make his or her (not knowing if our baby was going to be a him or her was not by our choice, but instead our first born's reluctance to give our sonagrapher a good enough peek) entrance into the world, he or she had a concrete place in our new house, a room of his or her own. And, I remember thinking how real the whole baby-on-the-way thing finally seemed (as if the back pain, swelling, ginormous stomach, and alien abdominal movements weren't enough physical evidence for me) now that I could picture where exactly he or she would sleep, where I would change his or her diapers, where I would rock him or her to sleep, and where I would store his or her green and yellow wardrobe.
When our first born's due date came and went, I recall waddling into his or her new room, sitting on the glider, taking in the calming pastel giraffes and zebras, smelling the scent of newborn diapers mingled together with the aroma of Dreft and Vaseline, gently rubbing my tummy, and wandering what in the world could be keeping our little baby from delaying his or her delivery so long when he or she had such a beautiful nursery to come home to.
And even though I was convinced I would be pregnant forever, a mere 5 days later we brought Allie back to her first home and her very first room where she would spend approximately 18 months of her life. And, after those 18 months, even though our growing toddler was finally big enough for a big girl bed, the crib stood firmly in its place, awaiting Zach's arrival 4 months later.
Now, two years after I first laid my son into that very same crib, it has become obvious that Zach is definitely old enough for a big boy bed. With no expected arrival of a new baby in the near future, the crib that has been the centerpiece of our perfect nursery for as long as we have called this house our home needed to go.
I actually didn't realize I had it in me to be this sentimental over a piece of baby furniture, but there was just something so surreal about taking apart the crib and putting it in the basement storage area with all of the rest of the baby paraphernalia.
That crib was the one piece of furniture that seemed to declare to all who entered our home that not only were we new parents who had no idea what we were doing while functioning in a sleep deprived stupor, but it also provided the strongest visual statement as to why our shelves had gone undusted or why the bathroom wasn't as sparkling as it used to be.
For me, I guess the crib stood as a sort of symbol depicting the change in our family, from husband and wife to mom and dad with baby. And, in a way, that crib was also a reminder of just how much my life changed when I became a mom...of just how much more difficult and complicated life becomes with the introduction of a new human being into the world that you are responsible for...but how I wouldn't ever change a thing, knowing what I know now about true selflessness and contentment, happiness, joy, and love. That crib served as a daily reminder to me that the best and most rewarding things in life often begin as the most difficult and most painful.
While I'm definitely excited to see our little boy growing into a big boy, it is also strange to think that a lot of those "baby days" with him are behind us. But, as we say goodbye to this one stage of life, we eagerly anticipate the next, knowing that there are still exciting moments and happy memories waiting to be made.
Since we weren't exactly sure what type of bedroom set we wanted to purchase for Zach, we ended up deciding on a toddler bed for now, figuring that would give us a couple more years to make up our minds. We also rearranged the existing furniture in his room, taking out the changing table and the glider in addition to the crib, and purchasing a new toy storage unit so that he has more floor space to actually play. Also, I wasn't quite ready to part with the jungle safari theme, so this seemed a good option to stretch our wall decor just a little bit longer.
Zach, our go-with-the-flow, mellow, easily-adaptable-to-change little boy, was more than excited about his new room. He couldn't wait for a chance to finally have a big boy bed of his own and was ecstatic that it would also be adorned with Lightening McQueen sheets and comforter.
After the bed was assembled, both Zach and Allie were happy to give me a hand with the sheets:
Here is the new toy storage unit we got for his room that has definitely been a lot more functional than my make-shift organization efforts. I also purchased some plastic drawers for the closet to help with clothes storage, but I didn't take pictures of those.
Even though Zach is not usually one to pose for pictures, he was incredibly eager to pose next to his new bed. Look at his grin! I don't think I've seen him this excited about anything before (well, other than dinnertime, Lightening McQueen, or Thomas the Tank Engine).
Saturday evening I wasn't that concerned about him sleeping in his bed. We had skipped naps that day and I knew he would be completely exhausted. And, sure enough, approximately 7 minutes after his head hit the pillow, he was completely out for the entire night. He was so proud the next morning and when we asked him if he wanted his crib back he loudly declared, "NO! Zach has a big boy bed now! With Lightening McQueen!"
I knew the real test would come the next day during nap time. Zach has not been sleeping well at all for naps the past few months, spending most of nap time jumping in his crib, kicking the wall, throwing all his stuffed animals out, so I thought for sure he would be up and down for the duration of nap time. Also, I remembered how awful the crib to bed transition had been with Allie and how she was up and down at least ten times a night, if not more, and I fully braced myself for the same type of behavior with Zach.
Oh how different our two children are.
I know it has only been less than a week, but we have had no issues whatsoever with Zach getting up at night or at nap time. Not only that, but he has been falling asleep much quicker and staying asleep longer now that he is in a bed as opposed to the crib. I'm still not positive that we are in the clear yet, but so far, I'm thankful for the incredibly easy transition.
Even though the crib is now tucked away in the basement and I'm still feeling a little bit of nostalgia over its somewhat sudden disappearance, when I peek into his room and see Zach all cuddled up underneath his covers of his big boy bed, still sucking his thumb, I know that I can relax because I'm pretty sure Zach isn't quite done being the baby just yet.