Monday, December 24, 2007

the empty nest

As I write, Daniel is taking his nap — in his own bed. For the past two days and two nights, he has been sleeping on his crib mattress, which we moved to a corner of our bedroom about three feet from our big bed. And he loves it! Not once since we made the transition has he seemed unhappy there or asked to come to our bed, and even when he's not sleeping, he likes sitting on his "big boy bed" playing with his stuffed animals and books. He even fell asleep on it today for his nap, with me lying beside him (tighter squeeze), which is really something. I thought it would be much harder to wean him from our bed.

Now, for me, it's been a little tougher. The first night, I missed him so much I felt empty inside, and a little anxious, and couldn't get to sleep. I miss feeling the warmth of his little body next to mine. I miss the way he wakes up in the morning, sits up between us and says his big, dramatic, "Hiiiii!" and then leans back down against Steve or me and cuddles for a few more minutes. But he doesn't seem to miss the cuddling too much. He knows we're close, and he seems to sleep more soundly without two bodies rolling around on either side of him. Steve has been sleeping next to him in a sleeping bag to comfort him if he wakes up and make sure he doesn't roll off the mattress, but as soon as we think he's used to the transition, I'll have my husband back, too, and I sure am looking forward to being able to cuddle up against him again.

This all was triggered by something scary that happened last week. Well ... it's true we'd been debating what to do about our "family bed" once the new baby comes, but we hadn't made any decisions. Wait and see. But last week, I happened to be napping with Daniel on the big bed, and somehow (mother's instinct, maybe) I woke up just in time to see him sliding head-first off the edge of the bed. He must have been half asleep still because he knows how to climb off the bed feet-first when he's awake — it seemed like it was happening in slow motion. I grabbed his ankle and stopped his fall, but his head was only inches from the floor when I caught him. I know lots of kids fall out of beds, but usually not head-first. If Daniel had landed on the top of his head, I don't know what kind of hurt he would have been in, or if it could have damaged his neck. We were both pretty freaked out, and he cried for a little while as I held him.

At that point, I knew something had to change — whether it was developing a better system of blocking the edge of the bed (better than just pillows) or moving him into his crib or something in between. I talked with Steve, talked with a friend whose toddler also sleeps in their room, and stayed up late a few nights researching options online. I checked out toddler beds, bolsters and bed rails, and this is what we ended up. Steve and I spent an hour or so Saturday moving a bookshelf, dusting the floor and talking up the new bed to Daniel, who, as I've said, took to the idea like a duck to water. And I think it's a good next step.


kristine said...

Interstingly enough... tonight is Graycen's first night on her mattress in our room. MOnths and months ago she reverted to sleeping in our bed again and with baby #2 coming, we knew it wasn't going to stay that way. Good luck to you guys! I know it's hard. It really seems as though it is harder on us than it is on our babes.

Delta Janie said...

Oh, How I remember those days!

Merry Christmas to you in all that cold weather. Here it was in the 80s las week. It has gotten down to freezing a couple of times, but there is still a lot of green grass to be seen.

I've enjoyed seeing pictures of Daniel on Lemondrops!

Anonymous said...

This is pleasing to read, and I'm glad the transition to his own sleeping area has begun.

You mentioned how you considered putting a safety "fence" around your bed so Daniel doesn't fall off - that would not have solved the problems of possibly rolling over on him.

Plus you've discovered that Daniel seems to emotionally like his own bed.

- Susanne

Emilie said...

Susanne, actually, rolling over on him has been the least of our worries.