While I was busy stuffing pizza in my face on Friday evening, the
doorbell rang. It was a young lady responding to an ad we had placed
the day before on craigslist.
Within 10 minutes, money had been exchanged and our unneeded furniture
was out of our house and loaded into her car. And with that another
little chapter of our lives ended.
Our one and only baby crib was gone and we were $75 richer. And a lot more sleep deprived than we'd been a week earlier.
Early one morning last week I was checking e-mail in the office,
bleary-eyed. It was 6:30 a.m. and Eli was up. We have a rule around
these parts: no children before 7 a.m. You want to fart around in your
room or go down stairs and pour yourself a big bowl of candy? No
problem, just don't bother me about it. Unfortunately the child who is
capable of taking care of herself without adult supervision also
happens to sleep until around 9 a.m. It's the totally helpless one
that's the problem. So I usually roll out of bed when he wakes up and
use that in-between time to do my own farting around on the computer
until 7 rolls around and I get the early bird out of bed. So there I
am, minding my own business, when I hear a door open and shut. My
first inclination is to let a swear word slip out. I'm afraid that
Mike couldn't stand the fussing anymore and he's rescued the little
bugger himself. And I know he's going to be pissed to find out that
instead of keeping the kid quiet I've been nosing around facebook
for 30 minutes. I rush into the hallway, ready for semi-heartfelt
apologies, when I come screeching to a halt. There are no big people
in the hallway, just a very little boy with his lovey, looking very
And just like that we had a crib-climber. From that point on,
whenever you put the kid to bed, be it nap or bedtime, you had to brace
yourself for the moment my friend Lisa B. so lovingly named the
"Children of the Corn" moment. One minute you're eating ice cream
straight out of the carton, the next minute there's a little person all
up in your business. It's downright freaky. And annoying.
It didn't take long for Mike to develop a plan of action. This
involved dismantling the crib and storing the pieces and parts in our
bedroom. End of plan of action. For those of you who haven't been
through this process before? A crib mattress on the floor does not a
toddler fool. He knows it's a ghetto bed and he's not staying in it.
The easy-peasy bedtime routine went
from 20 minutes to 2 hours . . . on a good night. Once Eli was asleep,
he kept rolling off the bed and waking himself up. And then at the
first crack of daylight he was in our bedroom.
"Daddy? Mama? Waffle? Bagel?"
We thought we'd stay one step ahead of the boy and install one of
those clever doorknob covers. He might be up! But he won't get out!
No, he won't get out because now he sticks his finger in the cover hole
and locks the door. And then screams his bloody head off. Yes, we're
all sleeping so much better now, thank you very much.
Thankfully a good friend stepped in (probably tired of hearing me
bitch about how tired I was) and offered to lend us a toddler bed. Mike
put it together on Sunday and I'm happy to say that each nap and
bedtime seems to get a little bit better.
As I watched the crib that nestled our two babies to sleep night
after night leave the house, piece by piece, I struggled to feel what I
thought I was supposed to feel: wistfulness, a sadness for babies
growing older, a yearning for those newborn days. I felt none of those
The truth is, I'm not sad to see those days pass by. I love my
children, and I loved them dearly as babies, but here's my dirty little
secret: I'm not so good with babies. I'm really not so good with newborns.
I don't deal well with the sleep deprivation. I don't give up my
freedoms easily. I'm bitchy, whiny, easily frustrated. It's a huge
reason why our children our 5 years apart. It took me nearly that long
to brace myself for what I knew was coming. That season of your life
where you have to give a huge part of yourself up. As mothers, we all
do it. I just don't do it particularly well.
I have no delusions that with the disappearance of the crib I'm well on my way to independent children. I do know that I'm getting closer to leaving behind that season of total dependence, though. Will I miss any
of those early days of motherhood? Of course I will. If I could
bottle up the smell of my baby's downy heads and weave the feel of
their newborn skin into a blanket I'd do it in a heartbeat. I will
gladly hold and snuggle your baby so you can get the break you need and
I can remember that sweetness.
But I won't be sad about days gone by, about things packed up or
passed along to others. I have a lot of mothering left to do, and I'm
excited about today and the days ahead.