Monday, September 12, 2011

The room with too many beds.

Our ten-year-old son looks ridiculous in his bed. He's outgrown it, I think, and I'm resisting the urge to head to the attic and haul down the larger bed that I've been storing away for this moment since the day it was replaced in his room for his crib.

Ah, that crib. It was pristine white, and when my husband put it up in that room in preparation of our older son's birth, I dreamed of how our angelic child would look as he peacefully drifted into a deep slumber. What a foolish notion that turned out to be.

I honestly think that room has had more beds in the past ten years than any room I've owned. For, once that crib was erected and our newborn was brought home, we quickly learned that he would not sleep in it.

Let me just admit now that, as parents, we subscribed to the "Whatever Works" school of parenting. As parents of a child that cried probably 18-20 of the 24 hours in a day, we were thrilled to find anything that managed to lull him into the tiniest of cat naps.

His first bed was his vibrating bouncy seat in the family room.

His second bed was the bouncy seat placed on the floor of his bedroom because, if we tried to lift it into the crib, he would ALWAYS stir. And, to heck with it, I wasn't about to risk waking him. The floor it was.

The third bed was the bouncy seat in the crib, which changed into the car seat in the crib.

By the fifth try for a real bed, he made it into the crib, and he stayed past preschool age. He was far too big for it, but by that point there was a nifty crib tent on top of it which he LOVED. He would even zip himself in at night.

He looked ridiculously large sitting on top of all of his toys.

Yes, we also allowed toys in the bed. What else are you going to do when your child wakes for a 3-4 hour party in his crib at night?

Finally, we relented and moved him to a toddler bed. And, just as with the crib, he stayed in it until he was much too large. Arms and legs sprawled out on top of toys and in and around twisted sheets.

We had tried to give him a single bed before it got to that point. We took him to a top brand baby furniture store and were thrilled when he jumped on a half bunk twin bed with a tent and a slide. Determined, I shopped on line for the bed and found the very brand at a discounted price on ebay--SCORE!

We bought it immediately.

Down came the toddler bed and up came this dream bed, and he immediately started crying. Big, fat, sad tears came from his eyes. He was suddenly unsure of the slide, and the ladder was something he couldn't manipulate.

The bed scared him.

In time, I put a mattress on the floor under the lifted bunk, and he slept there without hesitation. Ugh. It broke my heart to see him there. Sigh. We made the next mistake of bringing the toddler bed BACK into his room. He took to it immediately, so now we had an ignored dream bed in the room and an oversized son reunited with his toddler bed. We were back to square one.

Eventually, I took down that bed, thinking maybe our younger son might want it. I put it in the attic, and, while our older son was at school, I erected an extra twin bed we also had. It was nothing fancy, but it did the trick.

So, then our son was sleeping in the twin bed with an abandoned toddler bed in the room. It was months before I took that down.

And, now that twin bed is too small. He sleeps atop his toys these days just as that baby once did in his crib, and as the toddler did for so long in his toddler bed. And, there are certain constants here that are not going to change: our son is a growing boy and his toys have always been a source of comfort during bouts of sleeplessness caused by gastric pain or increased anxiety. What gives me conflict is that fact that he has always enjoyed the sensory feeling of being in enclosed spaces.

When the typical and not-so-typical mix together, the water becomes muddied.

These transitions are so hard! His bed is his most comfortable spot in the house, and his language is not advanced to say, "Hey, what about my old bed?" "But, I liked the old bed!" "Well, I guess this is okay, but I'd really prefer different sheets." "Could you get me extra pillows, please?"

In transition, a mom of a nonverbal child is not able to predict the questions he will have in his head. I can't predict all of his uncertainties. Yet, as he ages, I'm not going to be able to shield him from life as I did when he was a baby.

It is hard for me to let my nonverbal child grow.

I am teetering on the edge of wanting to help him and protect him but also not wanting to hold him back in life. I sure don't want to stunt what growth he is capable of having. And, yes, perhaps this sturdy little boy can handle a bigger bed.

In the week to follow, I am setting to the task of writing him a social story of all the things we outgrow, including our beds. After a few days of reading and thinking about it, I'll switch the bed.

It seems like a million years ago that we were placing that bouncy seat on the bedroom floor and inching backwards out of the room ever-so-quietly. Perhaps before I show him this bed, I should do some ceremonial sleep dance--you know, for fortune and posterity's sake?

Please, Heaven Above, please let this bed have some magic spell that brings us better sleep than all of its predecessors combined!


  1. We've always been a 'whatever works' type family too. My daughter slept in her car seat/carrier until she was old enough to inch her way out of it. Your story of moving the bouncy seat made me smile at that memory :)

    Although Bear never had an issue with getting a new bed, it took FOREVER to transition him off a toddler sized big wheel type bike. He still refuses to learn how to ride a real bike but if his big wheel hadn't been stolen, I'm quite sure he'd still be trying to ride it now!

  2. Come get your Leibster award, lovely lady ;o)

  3. Wow! You did go through a lot of beds. We bought a crib and a bed with matching wood and never looked back. She finally stopped sleeping in it–she left for college.


  4. Glad to hear I'm not the only one to go through the bouncy chair and carseat stages!! :)