30 November 2011

Bedtime Story


It occurs so infrequently these days that I’m going to savor it.

Parenting is a series of failures. No, really. This is what I’ve found. It can be measured by what you get right and what you get wrong, situations you misjudge or flat-out bungle. It could be described as an evolution, a learning experience, but really, it’s a steady line of failings, occasionally interrupted by the blips of minor successes.

It’s like a post-game analysis show that never ends, that just runs 24/7 in your mind, as you lay awake at night, second-guessing your instincts and your maneuvers, questioning your fitness as a parent, and pessimistic about your ability to improve your game as time goes on.

But then, every once in a while, you seem to do something right. Something more than just keeping your child alive and free from harm. Something that makes you look at your spouse and high-five each other, or simply say, “Nailed it.”

We recently transitioned the Doozer to a big boy bed.

While many kids move out of their crib earlier (he is now 3 years, 4 months), we were lucky to be saddled with a child who never showed an aptitude for climbing out of his crib. Or an interest. We’re not sure what it was. He tried once, around 18 months maybe, and my wife yelled at him that he’d get hurt. He apparently took it to heart.

Having never been a decent sleeper, and recently having taken to singing, chatting, and calling for us repeatedly after being put down for the night, we were naturally concerned that he would take the opportunity to get up every night, to wander about and possibly come downstairs. We tried to remain hopeful that this would not happen. Lest he appear out of thin air in the living room while we watched TV, perhaps during yet another Paz de la Huerta nude scene on Boardwalk Empire (seriously, what, is she allergic to clothing?).

Dada? What is that lady doing? Ummm . . .

So far, though, thankfully, no such awkwardness has occurred. Perhaps it hasn’t yet dawned on him to try and get out of his bed at night and run around like a maniac, or disturb us while we’re trying to enjoy an adult beverage and some fine HBO programming. He’s done it in the morning. In fact, on the first morning in the new bed, he called out to us, as he is wont to do, and requested to be brought downstairs for the customary juice and Curious George.

Finally, I got up and walked into his room to retrieve him, only to discover that we were suddenly players in a French stage farce (or perhaps a production of Noises Off!), since there are two doors to the Doozer’s bedroom and while I entered one, he slipped out the other and wandered it into our bedroom, proud as a peacock, thrilled with this new dimension to his life.

It’s now been about a week and so far, it is far smoother sailing than we’d imagined it would be. Far smoother, for instance, than the Take-Away-the-Binky Debacle of Fall 2010. Though we employed the same tactics, did due diligence, talked endlessly about the impending change, got him excited for what awaited him on the other side (as he was given the opportunity to trade in his binky for a new toy—a remote-controlled train, which was pretty cool, if I do say so myself). We were ill-prepared for the epic meltdown and the long, lost weekend that followed.

By comparison, moving out of his crib into a big bed was miraculously issue-free. At least so far. (I’ve probably just completely jinxed us.) And so for the moment, we’re going to revel in this minor success. We did it at the right time, we did the proper amount of preparation, we got him prepared, nay, excited, for the move and so when it occurred, it was not traumatic—for him or us. Well, maybe for us. A little.

I mean, come on, he’s not in a crib anymore. He’s in a bed. A regular bed that a full-grown adult could sleep in. This struck me immediately upon constructing the bed and assembling all the bedding atop it. I looked at this suddenly large object in his room and realized, he might still be sleeping in this when he’s a teenager. When he’s in high school. He’s going to be in high school someday . . . he’s going to be a teenager.

This thought was almost enough to make me want to tear it down and go right back to the crib and keep him in there forever.

Oh well, the crib will be occupied soon enough, when the next addition of the family arrives, when the Doozer’s new brother, the Doozer Jr., will be spending his naps and his nights there. And the new little one will undoubtedly remind us of the first little one, the one that lived inside that crib, sleeping every night alongside a yellow ducky and some grapes. Of course the Doozer’s still got the ducky. Still got the grapes. Some things don’t change as quickly as others.

He’s still my little guy. For now. He’s just a little guy in a big bed.

A very big bed.

Good night, my sweet boy.

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