The big-girl bed

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A mom in our neighbourhood once gave me a piece of advice.
“Keep Layla in her crib as long as you can,” she said.
We did. Up until about two weeks ago. She’s two-and-a-half years old.
Don’t get me wrong, I was giddy as hell to buy her a little duvet and decorative pillows, but my smiles were camouflaging my fear of the inevitable storm of yet another toddler transition.
We all know every big step forward in growing kids up is, well…”interesting.” I just didn’t know what kind of storm we were about to endure. A Category 1: some whimpering, and crawling into our bed in the middle of the night? Or a Category 5: toddler tornado of epic excitement, and all night door slamming? Turns out, it was a bit of both.
We prepared for the big-girl bed at least four months in advance. I was still trying to get Jack to sleep on his own, and I couldn’t cope with both, so I prolonged the bed move indefinitely. Every so often we mentioned to Layla that the bed was coming, and that she wouldn’t be able to take her soothers into the new bed. Telling her that turned out to be the highlight of our parenting careers thus far, because it worked. You would think we actually knew what we were doing.
The week we surprised Layla with her new bed, we were also planning Jack’s first birthday. Although it was a small party with just family, the excitement filled the air. A perfect storm. Here’s how the first two nights went:

Night One: “I just want to touch him.”

Picture the aftermath of a toddler washing down several hundred Pixy Stix with a couple dozen Red Bulls, and it might be on par with the level of enthusiasm Layla had over her new bed the first night.
As she sprang in and out of it like a sprightly prairie dog, Shawn and I donned phony pageantry smiles. What have we done?! – our teeth grinding. We were happy to make her happy, but no idea what we were in for.
There were several trips up the stairs, giggles, toys being tossed, dress-up parades, yelling and eventually tears (mostly ours). But the final straw was when we could hear the “click” of  Jack’s bedroom door opening through the baby monitor. Once I reached the top of the stairs, all I could make out through Jack’s screaming was Layla saying, “I just wanted to touch him.”
Hours of sleep for parents: Zzzzzz, uh sorry, what was the question?
Hours of sleep for Layla: six with two wake-up calls in the middle of the night.
Night Two: A little late-night leg shaving
A friend dropped by in the midst of our stair climbing, which continued on for the entire two-hour visit.
During one trip, I caught Layla coming out of our bedroom ensuite with our toothpaste. I soon discovered the rest of her booty under her duvet – my eyeshadow, eyeliner and leg razor. Shocked and puzzled as to how she could even have reached my razor, I inadvertently scared her and spent the next part of the evening consoling her.
The rest of the week was a blur, and we’ve made less trips up the stairs since. So what can I expect next? Probably the Paranormal Activity reenactment nights, where Layla creepily sidles up to my bed while I’m sleeping. Yikes!
If you haven’t made the big bed jump yet, here’s a piece of advice:
Keep them in their crib as long as you can.

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