On Saturday night, my husband put our little boy to bed in his crib. On Sunday night, he put our big boy to bed in a big boy bed.
How the hell did that happen?
It was just under three years ago that the three of us walked into our little house on Capitol Hill for the first time as a family. C was sleeping in his car seat and we carried him in carefully and then…didn’t know where to set him down. It wouldn’t be for weeks more that I would feel comfortable setting his carrier on the floor to let him finish his car induced snooze. In those first moments as a mother without the comforting supervision of the hospital staff, I had no idea where to set my baby.
Though we traditionally call newborns helpless, my sweet boy has always had the power to enchant people around him. He is a cuddler who loved human contact and would settle into anyone’s arms and watch the world with big eyes or sleep sweetly on a grown-up’s shoulder. Once he learned about smiling he was a force to be reckoned with, flashing grins at anyone in range. He has always been easy going and adaptable to change. My mother describes his life-philosophy as “Yeah, sure, ok.” Daycare? Yeah, sure, ok. Solid food? Yeah, sure, ok. Airplane travel? Yeah, sure, ok. This acceptance of whatever new experiences we presented him has made him a joy from day one and it lets me forgive myself for the day I was too dumb to know what to do next when we brought our baby home. I may be going off half-cocked at this motherhood thing but at least C is handling it well.
C likes to hit his milestones before I’m ready. This kid walked at ten and half months which was flat out adorable when it wasn’t flat out terrifying. Did you know that little kids don’t understand that the law of gravity is absolute? Or that stone floors are not soft? Once he was mobile, there was no grace period of tottering along slowly and cutely. No, my boy took off running pretty much as soon as he attained two feet. Running was followed by shooting baskets, kicking goals, and eventually tackling his best friend at school. Last week a classmate’s father was shocked to watch C run, jump and accurately slap a handicap-access button placed just above C’s head height on a wall. He does that daily and I accept it the way I accepted certain of my college classmates jumping to touch the tops of doorways. I forget that my little athlete is a shade more coordinated than his peers.
You can’t keep a running, jumping, joyful creature caged forever in a crib. I know that. I have to let him go and get bigger and bigger. He’s well over three feet tall, closing in on forty pounds and wears enormous shoes. He’s passed “toddler” and is really and truly into his kid-hood. It’s no longer a matter of where I set him down when we come in the door; it’s now a matter of getting him to stop jumping on the couch. This boy, this big boy, is ready for his big boy bed. It’s only me who will be sad.