He officially outgrew his crib back in September. It wasn’t like we didn’t expect it, but we sort of didn’t want it to happen either. Of all the milestones and firsts that we reveled in and celebrated, this was our least favorite because it meant he was really growing up. Prior to that, my wife had even kept him in the co-sleeper next to our bed for an extra month, just so he could be closer to us at night. Our little boy is not so little, and while it’s fantastic from a developmental standpoint, it’s a bummer all the same. My wife tells him all the time, “Ryan, please stay this size forever.” To which he once replied, “I can’t, I big boy now.” Yes, we know, if we’re like this now, we’ll be complete blubbering basket cases on his first day of school.
Big boy needed a bed, but which one? We knew we were going to have another child by this point, so our favored option, converting his crib into a toddler bed, was out. Finally, we decided on a swap. He got our old full-sized bed, the crib went into our room, and we got the new queen bed we’d put off since he was born. One problem we never had when he was in his crib in his own room: he can’t and won’t sleep alone. Now that he has all this space, the last thing he wants to be is alone in it. One of us needs to be in bed with him at night-night and nap time, otherwise he can’t fall asleep. One of us needs to suffer while he thrashes in the no-longer-limiting confines of his bed, when he might rotate his body so that his feet are on the pillow, then rotate again so that he’ll wake up in the correct position. Or he’ll rotate and either use my head or my wife’s chest as a foot rest. The other purpose is to check to make sure we’re still there. If he rotates and doesn’t find his foot rest, then he’ll wake up and try to find out where we are. For a couple that aspires to sleep in their new bed together, this has been daunting.
His bed is tucked into a corner of his room, and the two open sides are hemmed in by these storage cases full of clothes clothes and a bed guard, because with all that tossing and (literally) turning, we’d hate if he fell off the bed. The bed guard has become a game, or at the very least an obstacle for him to get around. I’ve caught him trying to pull it out from under the mattress, scratch at the netting to see if he can dig a larger hole, and forcefully kick it from inside to make it open.
Blankets, even the precious blankie that my wife has already stitched back to life three or four times, can be optional. He’ll kick off both his blankie and his comforter just about every night, and the other duty (besides as a foot rest) for whoever sleeps with him is to constantly put the blankets back on him. Or he’ll decide in mid-slumber that he doesn’t have enough blankets, and roll himself into a little cocoon with just part of his face showing. Or, if we’re lucky, we’ll strike a happy medium where he at least has the comforter over his legs, and he’s spooning against his blankie.
His moods, which can change directions like the wind, dictate whom he’ll allow to sleep next to him. One day, he won’t let me even in his bedroom at night-night time. The next, he’ll tell his mother to “don’t lie down on my bed,” and while patting the pillow next to him, he’ll say “Appa, you lie down here!” In this manner schizophrenic manner, I was allowed by His Highness to lie down with him at naptime a few days ago; then again, he didn’t have much choice, since my wife was out at the time. We had two comforters and his blankie, and three good sized pillows. After a few iPad storybooks, the kind that read for you to your kid in upper crust English accents, he was out, and I dozed off not long after turning off the iPad. All was good in our slumbering world. In less than ten minutes, I woke up freezing. Somehow, in that short span, he’d managed to get his blankie balled up under and around his head like a pillow, one comforter over his legs, and the other for his torso.
I crept out of his bed figuring that, as long as I’m going to have a nap, might as well do it in my own bed. Besides, he was doing that cute baby-snoring thing, he was totally out. I’d no sooner gotten into my bed when I heard from the next room, “Appa, come here!” As a former soldier, I know an order when I hear one. Yes, my demanding but beautiful wanjanim (Korean for little prince). Be right there. Let me put on some long johns first, though.