Sunday, May 02, 2010

Big girl bed

We are hitting milestone after milestone around here. After months of soaked pull-ups and asking Ava if she wanted to go on the potty (the answer was usually no), Ava was potty trained in early April at age 2 1/2. One day, she simply said yes, she did want to go on the potty. And we let her wear big girl panties, which was a big treat that we'd been hinting at and building up to: "When you can tell us that you have to go, you can wear big girl panties! And when you can wear big girl panties, you can go to play school like Caillou."

She had a couple accidents where we were a little too far from the bathroom, but we had a change of clothes and just cleaned it up and moved on. She seemed genuinely surprised that it had happened. I guess what they say about today's diapers being too absorbent to help kids understand what being wet means is true. We'd even tried the cool alert ones that are supposed to feel cold when wet. After the second accident, she was pretty upset and in the following days repeatedly said, "I'm not going to pee or poop in my big girl panties." And she hasn't.

This past week, she also moved to her own bed. She started life in our King size bed. How cozy is she, right there? That was the week before her brother arrived. And that little snow angel pose, along with her apparent effort to do the YMCA dance in her sleep, was part of what put an end to the family bed.
A couple weeks after her brother came home, we acknowledged that four in the bed, even a King size, wasn't working. So Ava moved to the play yard at the foot of our bed, since we never got around to buying a crib.

But it was time for an upgrade. I checked Craigslist, but couldn't find a quality bed in our area that we liked. Seriously: why would people try to sell a flimsy toddler bed for $75 when a quick online search shows it's available new for half that? I also checked some online parents forums about toddler vs. twin bed. Most suggested just going for the twin, especially if the kid is on the bigger side, because toddler beds are the same mattress size as a crib, so they'll be outgrowing it within a couple years or so. Plus, toddler beds usually have a weight limit of about 50 pounds. Conversely, twin beds can support an adult, making them much more useful for parents to lay in bed with their child for story time (our favorite) and for use as a guest bed, if needed. And obviously, they'll be able to use it for many more years.
So, I asked my folks if they still had my sturdy, childhood twin bed. That's like asking a hoarder if they have that receipt from 1998. It was right in their attic where we put it when I got a full size bed in high school more than 20 years ago.

Initially, J. looked a bit askance at it. "It's brown," he said with a slight lip curl. Yes, it's also a heavy, metal number that was probably 10 years old already when I got it in the early 1970s. "But it's sturdy, free and I like it better than the one you found," I responded. "I didn't find one," he said. "Right," I smiled.

I'll admit though that I worried that durable brown paint might have lead. I got a test kit from the hardware store though and it checked out safe as can be.

So we got a new mattress set and Ava picked her own bed-in-a-bed, which surprisingly matched the bed, and she helped me dress up her very own big girl bed. She seemed especially delighted when I told her about sleeping in the very same bed when I was her age. "When I was a baby?" she asked, incredulously. No, even before that, I explained. When you're two and a half, "a long time ago" is anytime when you were a baby. Her mental clock only seems to go back that far.

There she is, moments after we finished, loving her new spot. Sigh. They grow up so fast. She'll be telling me how lame it is and how she needs a ride to the mall in no time.

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