Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Little Boy, Big Bed

Just like every typical evening, I snuggled with the boys on the bottom bed as we read our bedtime story. Jacob's long and lanky arm was wrapped around my abdomen and Ryan's chubby fingers pointed excitedly at the illustrations as I flipped the pages of our book. Tonight's book was an ABC book about construction vehicles. As usual, Ryan prematurely tried to turn every page before I had finished reading all the text. And, as usual, this infuriated Jacob who demanded that every single word be read aloud, even though he knows them all by heart.

As Ryan would try to skip ahead, Jacob would snap the page back down. This made Ryan giggle as Jacob's fury doubled. I started to read in double-time in an effort to appease both parties. Just TRY saying "articulated dump truck" three times fast.

After we read stories, Jacob snuck up to his top bunk. Ryan snuggled with his blanky and settled into the pillow on the bottom bunk. He looked so comfortable. "Ryan, time for night-night. Time to go in your crib."

"Naaaaw." ("No") Ryan whined as he slammed his head back onto the pillow in protest.

I picked Ryan up and started to carry him to his crib when he furiously began pointing back at the bottom bunk. And so Ryan graduated to a new phase in his life in typical growing-pain fashion: with me hesitantly agreeing to let him due Big Boy things as his stubbornness and his eagerness to embrace the life of the Big Boy prevailed.

I worried that he might tumble out of bed in the middle of the night so I put some large pillows down on the floor beside him. I wondered if he would abuse his new freedom and lack of jail bars by slipping from bed the moment I walked out the door. But, brushing these concerns aside, I reluctantly let them go and let Ryan lead me through this whole parenting thing.

There are probably a lot of good parenting books out there (I haven't read any so I don't know) but, you know what? I can't imagine that anyone could be a better teacher than my own children. Because each child is different and he or she gives us little cues about their readiness and ability to do new things and/or their needs for a little more comfort and guidance.

Maybe it's a second child syndrome but from birth Ryan has been pushing forward and leading the effort to help me "let go" of him a little bit at a time. I'd personally prefer that he stay my tiny, chubby, fat-footed munchkin his entire life. But he's telling me just the opposite. He's ready to be a big boy, dang it! and he won't have any of this mushy smothering stuff. He wants to experience the world and try new things and figure things out on his own, thank-you-very-much. So, I let him.

Yesterday he was eating a slice of pizza at the park. He dropped it into the bark. I was about to wipe the bark off when he took a bite of the bark-covered pizza and happily continued to play. He was happy because he was feeding himself. And that bark just added some extra texture, after all. Ryan is so happy-go-lucky (most of the time) and so content to do things on his own, that I let him. It doesn't mean that it is always EASY but luckily Ryan gives me the confidence to know that it is RIGHT.

So yeah. He might fall off out of bed in the middle of the night. If that happens, there will be pillows to catch him. But I have to let go and let my children grow at the pace that they are comfortable with. This doesn't mean I can't appease my broken-mommy heart by purchasing some used bedrails off of Craigslist. I mean, I'm still a MOM after all. And he's my BABY.

My tiny baby in a big boy bed.

Those stickers are Jacob's recent contribution to enhancing the d√©cor of the room, much to my horror. My dad would have killed me if I put stickers on furniture, even if it was MY furniture. But Jacob was so proud of his artwork that I decided it could stay...for a little while...as proof that I let my children be children...and budding artists. 


  1. Love this post; I completely agree about the children being the teachers. I have never picked up a parenting book, and they're all so contradictory, I feel like it would be one huge headache. Also-tell Jacob that I love his new contributions to the bunk bed. :) It looks great.

  2. I know it's hard to see them grow up (in my case, I can't heft my kid into her loft bed any longer) but man, they look sweet. :)

  3. They are all so elegant and beautiful. Thank you!!Oak Bunk Beds