The Crib

It's a milestone event tonight. ZB doesn't know it yet, but she is officially moving out of the cradle next to our bed and into her crib in her own room.

It is long overdue, too. Other moms on the BabyCenter board that I follow started transferring to cribs at about two months, but I told myself that she was waaaay too young to be all the way across the hall. She felt secure having us so close, and besides, I liked to wake up throughout the night to check on her.

I probably should have moved her at three months when she started getting too big for the cradle. She likes to flail around when she sleeps, and she was banging her little arms against the sides. So I should have moved her then, but she was still waking up several times a night to eat, and it's just so much easier to pick her up and put her in the big bed next to me to nurse than to get up and go across the hall to her room.

I should have moved her when she cut out most of her night feedings and started sleeping in 6 or 8 hour stretches a few weeks ago. There was no reason for her to still be crammed in that little tiny cradle, and it wasn't like she needed me to be right there. But we were going to Chicago for the 4th of July weekend, and I told myself that it would confuse her to move her to the crib and then take her to a strange bed in Chicago and then come back to try the crib thing again. It wouldn't hurt to wait until after the 4th, right?

And so then we came back from Chicago and I stuffed her back in her little shoebox cradle next to the bed, and curled up to watch her and just listen to her breathe, like I do every night. Only this time, she was like, "Look Mom. We need to talk about this cradle thing. I'm a big girl now, and I need a big girl crib in my own room. I've been patient while you adjust to the idea of me sleeping across the hall instead of a foot and a half away, but enough is enough. Besides...Dad snores like a chainsaw". And to make sure that I got the point, she proceeded to keep me up all night with her kicking and flailing.

So here we are. Earlier today I moved her white noise machine and oscillating fan and movement monitor into her nursery. Then I put her mattress pad protector and fresh sheets in the crib. I moved her cradle from next to my side of the bed to the corner so that we could put it in the attic later.

Then I cried.

It's silly, I know. It isn't like she's moving across the country or leaving for college or anything. She's 15 feet away for Pete's sake. But still. 15 feet seems really really big when you're only 23 inches long. (Or to be honest, when you're 5' 8" and your heart is only 23" long and 15' away). But I kept telling myself that she NEEDED this, and she's sleep better with the quiet and the extra room and I was not so selfish as to deny my child something she needed just so I could lay in my bed and watch her little chest rise and fall while she slept. Putting it like that made me feel better.


So here she is, drinking her evening bottle and getting drowsy. She's falling asleep in Tony's arms while he feeds her, and now he's carrying her up to her room and putting her in the crib. He's turning on the monitor and the white noise, giving her a kiss and turning off the light.

Here I am standing at the door of her room, straining to see her little form sleeping peacefully in the darkness. Listening to the sound of her tiny baby snores though the monitor instead of in person, and watching the little green light blink on the motion monitor that registers her breathing (I deliberately placed the monitor so that I can see that green light blink while I lie in my bed...that little green light is my sanity, and the reason that I'm not in there sleeping on the floor with one hand wedged through the crib bars right now).

And here she is at 6am, safely through the night and wanting her breakfast. I went to get her and she smiled when she saw me, no feelings of abandonment or isolation like I had imagined. No years of therapy needed for either of us. She had some milk and even though I wanted to snuggle with her in our bed, I took her back to the crib when she fell asleep again. Might as well equate sleeping time with crib time. We'll both appreciate that in the long run. (I did, however, get my snuggle time at 8am when she woke up for the day. It was a celebratory snuggle because all three of us had a good night's sleep for once).

So here we are...a big girl who sleeps in her big girl crib, a mommy who learned to let go just a teeny little bit, and a Daddy who still snores like a chainsaw, but with only half an audience now.

Quite the milestone indeed.