Saturday, March 24, 2012

Big Boy Bed


About two weeks ago, Ben was home with Will for the afternoon while Mama was at work. Ben heard Will wake up. He was talking happily to himself and then all of a sudden... THUMP!

Yep, that's right. My 19 month old fell out of his crib.

Ben said it was the most awful sound he's ever heard, not to mention the crying that followed. Poor, Will! According to Ben, it looked like he had the wind knocked out of him. But it was nearly a four foot fall, so we shouldn't be surprised.

Needless to say, this freaked the hell out of Ben and I. He could have been seriously hurt! Not to mention, we weren't really expecting to have the "big boy bed" transition quite yet. I honestly thought we had until well after Will turned two.

No such luck. The same day as the great crib accident of 2012, Ben removed the side of Will's crib and installed the toddler bed converter (shown above). No real preparation for Mama, Daddy or Will. Just a decision to put safety first. Because, let's be honest. If he did it once, odds are he will do it again.

Thankfully, the transition has been smooth for the most part. Overnights were no problem from day one. Mostly because it's dark in his room at night, and I think he forgets he can get out. That and he's genuinely exhausted after being a busy toddler all day.

Naps have been a little more challenging, but he's getting it. The first day, it took 90 minutes to get him to fall asleep because he kept getting out and testing his new boundaries (and Mama's patience).

That day, we made the decision to remove all toys from his room, except books and stuffed animals. Ben and I both decided that we don't care if he plays quietly in his room before taking a nap, but we need him to understand that he sleeps in his bed (not on the floor). So we employ some version of Ferberizing, where we go in every 5-10 minutes, remind him that it's time to sleep and put him back in bed. We let him keep whatever he's playing with, but he needs to do it in bed.

Since that first day, naps have gotten much easier. There are definitely some days where I have to go in there three or more times to return him to his bed, but he generally doesn't complain about it. He even climbs in his bed and tells us when he's sleepy now (which is super cute, by the way).

So if you're nearing the point where you're going to convert your crib or get a toddler bed, here are our tips:

1) Remove most toys from the room. We elected to leave quiet toys in there, but his train table had to go. There was no way he was going to stay in bed with that kind of distraction.

2) Keep things as familiar as possible. We have a convertible crib, so despite taking off the crib wall, everything else stayed exactly the same. I think having his mattress, bedding and stuffed animals as they were before really helped with the transition.

3) Keep calm. That first nap was really, really trying. I had to do everything in my power to stay cool, even when he scampered out of bed immediately after I put him down. We didn't want him to see his bed as a punishment or something being forced on him, but we also wanted to establish clear boundaries and bedtime behavior. Patience and consistency was so important (but really, isn't it always in parenthood?).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

18 Months Old

Adorable even with the black eye
Dear Will,

This is again several weeks late (at this writing you are already 19 months old), but I wanted to be sure to record your milestones and achievements at 18 months. As always, we are so proud of you, and amazed and bewildered at the pace you continue to learn and growth. You are such a bright, silly, sweet and affectionate child. You love to give kisses and hugs, especially to your immediate family members. You light up whenever your aunts, uncles or grandparents come to visit. I love that you are already aware of all the people in your life that love and adore you.

We continue to stay busy with our weekly music class and library story time. You've been a bit clingy in group classes as of late, insisting that I hold you and hesitant to play with the other kids. But we have fun, you and I, snuggling, sharing kisses and singing together. Although you're hesitant to leave Mama's lap, I know you enjoy observing and taking it all in.

For as long as I can remember, we have been reading "Goodnight Moon" before bed. In the last month though, you've decided that you'd like to pick your own book before bedtime. So now it's baby's choice. Common requests this month include "House in the Night", "Click Clack Moo" and "Bear Wants More".

You received not one, but two black eyes this month. One from running into Nana's couch (as a result, she now completely changes the furniture arrangement whenever we visit). The other from Stella's tail. So you were looking pretty rough for a while there. Luckily, I think you gained some major street cred.

You continue to love bath time, especially the bubbles. You've even taken to eating bubbles as of late, mostly so that Daddy or I pull your hand away from your mouth and say "yucky!" You laugh and laugh! Then grab another handful of bubbles, shoot a sly eye up at us and do it all over again. This game would go on for hours if we let it! Luckily, you also like to play with your toy boat, dumping out the water and pushing it under water until all the air bubbles up out of it.

You have decided in the last month that you can't possibly be asked to wear a bib. The horror! You throw your head back and wail whenever you see Daddy or I approach your highchair with one. As a result, we've had quite a few messy shirts in the laundry this month.

You continue to talk up a storm (hard to believe you didn't really utter your first words until you were over a year old). New words this month include blackberries, please, thank you, get, stand up and okay. You're also putting a ton of words together now to make mini-sentences (Mama help, read book, Dada bye-bye, Stella bark, etc).

Honestly, I'm unable to track most of your new words because you pretty much say everything all the time. You literally mimic every word out of our mouths and pick up new stuff that I don't even remember saying. You're so perceptive and in-tune with the world around you. Half the time you see stuff I hadn't even noticed (school buses, birds, dogs, trucks, etc). It's so amazing to see the world through your eyes.

At a weekend getaway with friends this month, it occurred to Daddy and I that you don't really say "no". Whenever you don't want something or don't want to do something, you say "all done". This was particularly funny within the context of our Wisconsin Dells getaway, as you walked around the hotel suite saying "all done, all done, all done, all done" because you wanted to go home. You ended up having a good time playing with the other kids, but I think it was a touch overwhelming for you at first. Ten adults and five kids in one three bedroom suite is a lot for a little boy who spends most of his time one-on-one with mom or grandma.

We taught you how old you are this month, so when we ask "how old is Will?" you hold up your right pointer finger. Sometimes you get this shy, mischievous look on your face before you do it, like you're trying to pretend you don't remember how to. So cute!

Hard to believe, you are already a year and half. It honestly feels like we just brought you home from the hospital. I'm so thankful to have these letters to write all your milestones down. Because you know what? Everyone is right when they say this goes so darn fast. You continue to be my whole world, the light of my life, and the single greatest joy I have ever known. I love you, baby boy.



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Puddles and Mud and Rocks, Oh My!

Getting messy in the great outdoors

Today, with the beautiful spring weather, I got my first taste of what it will be like to parent a little boy. It's going to be SO FUN (and messy).

What you can see: my baby's muddy, puddle-soaked pants and boundless energy.

What you can't see: the pile of rocks and other outdoor treasures that created this muddy mess.

His curiosity and sense of adventure are just amazing. I love baby boys!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We Crafty

And be "we" I mean Ben and my mother-in-law.

Check out the awesome growth chart they co-created for Will...

I got the idea from Pinterest, but left the execution to the experts. Ben sanded and stained the board, and my mother-in-law painted the numbers (each number equals one foot). It's hanging by our back door, just off the laundry room/mud room. I absolutely love it.

We marked Will's height from 12 months already, and will mark his present height after we visit the doctor on Friday. I can just imagine him in a few years, standing stick straight with his chin slightly elevated, hoping desperately that he's just a little bit taller than last time. I have very distinct memories of doing the exact same thing at my Grandma's house, where she measured my sister and I on the door trim in her kitchen.

So in sum: love. There's nothing more wonderful than to watch your child grow. Unless you're reminiscing about how cute and cuddly and tiny they used be.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The 15 Second Update

I have two jobs now. Because I'm crazy. More on that later.

My legal class is kicking my butt. Lawyer friends, I salute you.

My kid is so great. He's so funny and full of energy. And he's talking up a storm. Yesterday he announced to Ben at the grocery store "we need applesauce." It's so wild to hear him converse in context.

Four of my friends had babies in February. Kind of makes me want another baby. But I really, REALLY need to finish my master's degree first.

I am obsessed with Starbuck's new blonde roast. Delicious.

That's all for now...