The Big Boy Bed

We've been talking about moving the Beaner out of his crib and into a bed for a while now, but this weekend we finally did it. After many discussions about whether to buy him a twin mattress and just try that out on the floor, or whether to just use the crib mattress for a little while to see how it went, on Friday or Saturday night I came up with a better idea: Why not take the relatively unused double/full size bed from the guest room and give it to the Beaner, move our still-serviceable queen up to the guest room, and get ourselves a new bed? We've been talking about getting ourselves a new bed for even longer than we've been talking about the Beaner's sleeping arrangements.

We agreed that this was a brilliant idea, and also that we should implement the plan in two phases (the latter was Al's sensible contribution). Stage 1 would be to move the double bed into the Beaner's room; if he made the transition from crib to bed smoothly, we could move on to Stage 2: shopping for a new bed for ourselves. As long as we don't host any company between Stage 1 and Stage 2—a very likely scenario, given that we rarely manage to lure guests to our home—we're all set. It was also Al's idea to leave the crib in the Beaner's room for a while, too, just in case. My husband is definitely a bet-hedger. Given that we'd have to take apart the crib to get it out of the room, any objections I had to this idea on principle were quickly overruled by the practicality of it. Plus, in the end I was able to arrange the room in such a way that the crib serves to block access to my project/framing closet—handy, since we weren't able to find an appropriate child lock for the closet doors in our first attempt.

the crib, blocking access to my project closet

Ah yes, the closet doors. I should back up a bit and mention that getting the bed into the room was just about the last step in the plan to move the Beaner from the crib to a bed; only putting the sheets and bedrails on it and setting up a little play area came after it. Before it came a host of child-proofing measures, including re-hanging the closet doors. I'd had Al take them off after watching far too many episodes of Clean Sweep in which the designer removed closet doors in favor of curtains. I was a little reluctant to admit, after installing the curtain rods and hanging the curtains myself, that I didn't really like the effect of the curtain-covered closets. Nevermind that they were absolutely impractical for keeping a toddler away from dangerous tools like the drill used for installing the curtain rods, a ridiculously large collection of frames and mats, various Exacto knives, disused calligraphy pens, heavy metal rulers, pins, boxes, bags, and bubble wrap. Oh, and the wireless router with a gazillion wires sticking out of it. (Irony!)

So anyway, task #1 on my list of childproofing measures was to re-hang the closet doors. #2 was to find a way to lock them (or at least one of them; the other could be limited to child-safe clothing and wee plastic hangers). #3 was to install a baby gate at the door. There's already a gate at the top of the stairs, but I need to keep the Beaner away from all the delicate, dangerous, and otherwise don't-mess-with-it stuff in my office, which is in the gallery space at the top of the stairs, just outside his room (which was formerly my office). For one brief moment I actually considered moving my office back into his room and putting his bed in the gallery space, but I decided it would be easier to keep him in his room than to keep him out of my office, the bathroom, and the guest room if he were out in the hall.

Al got the baby gate up first, sometime during the week, so that was checked off before the weekend. I'd also planned to clean out my project closet before hanging the doors, but then in a fit of laziness I decided that what was out of sight didn't really need to be cleaned. This brilliant plan was foiled when the closet doors ended up blocking access to the drawers of my IKEA utility cart, and I spent 30 minutes or so rearranging everything in the lower half of the closet so I could move the cart to the center of the space. By this time Al had drilled a hole through the wall to the gallery space, declared all the "manly" work done, and took the Beaner over to the Please Touch Museum so I could complete the transformation of the room from nursery to big-boy space.

After cleaning out the closets, I tackled the router-and-wires problem—and, at the same time, the rearranging of the cubbies. (Just about everything I did in this project involved killing two birds with one stone, it seems.) I unplugged everything, moved the power strip that had been in the second row of cubbies to the top row—where it will be out of reach for at least a couple months—and then started assessing what really needed to be plugged in, and where. I managed to get everything plugged into that out-of-reach power strip and put safety covers on all the regular outlets. (The power strip itself is plugged into an outlet that's behind the cubbies.) I then put a basket into the cubby with the power strip, so the Beaner couldn't see it.

the cubbies (and gate in the foreground)
The lamp is borrowed from the guest room; I wasn't able to find
one I liked at Home Depot or Bed Bath & Beyond on Sunday morning.

Next I re-routed the ethernet cables around the room and through the hole Al had drilled in the wall (they no longer cross the room, get caught in the door, or create a trip hazard at the top of the stairs). I did the same thing with a much shorter phone cable. I finally found a position for the router that allowed the ethernet cables (well, one of them, anyway) to reach their intended machines *and* the power cord to reach the power strip, but it involved scootching the dresser over to butt up against the cubbies. This turned out to be not a bad thing, as it allowed room for the HEPA filter to nestle into the corner by the heating duct (and, conveniently, keep the cables against the wall). It left nowhere for the backup box of diapers and pull-ups that we used to store between the cubbies and the dresser... until I finished the other child-proofing item on my list and cleaned out the dresser drawers (the top two of which were filled with random cables and wires from when the dresser used to be part of my office, back before I reclaimed the changing table as my project table). Now the bottom drawer of the dresser is full of diapers and pull-ups.

Finally, after dusting, Swiffering, and vacuuming, I was ready to move the bed in. I couldn't remember whether we'd decided to move just the mattress in or the mattress and boxspring, so I moved both. I used the boxspring to plan out where I wanted the bed to go—since the room is small, there was really only one position that made sense—and then I flopped the mattress down on it, stripped the existing sheets and mattress pad off it, and slipped on the vinyl mattress protector I'd procured that morning. I then re-mattress padded and re-sheeted the bed. I couldn't figure out how to install the bedrails (which had been in the guest closet since we removed them from our bed about a year ago), so I left those for Al.

Lightning McQueen chair
Those are framed subway maps (NYC, DC, and London) and transit passes above the dresser;
on top of the cubbies is a series of Paddington Bear prints;
in the corner are two Underground signs and a photo I took in London;
above the bed are two photos I took in Rochester, NY (city of my birth and my mother's childhood) and an embroidered art piece that a friend of the family's who died of breast cancer made for me. She wrote around the rim (hidden by the eyelet border): "Remember your roots: they give you wings to fly."
Between the closets (see crib photo, above) is a series of photos I took in New York.
The theme of the nursery was "oh! the places you'll go!"

When Al and the Beaner returned from the Please Touch Museum, I was sweaty, and the room was ready. I'd laid the road rug that my parents got him for Christmas on the floor, and I'd moved his Lightning McQueen chair up to the side of his bed. He was amazed—and pleased—but still a little confused. "What happened to crib?" he asked. "It's right there, in the corner," I replied. "You're going to be sleeping in this bed from now on." He walked over and patted the crib, as he had just before he and Al left for the museum, and repeated, "But...I neena crib!" "Nope," I said, "You can sleep here on the bed! And when you wake up in the morning"—here I demonstrated by lying down on the bed and then sitting up, rubbing my eyes, hopping off the end, and then leaning over the gate—"you can say, 'Mommy! I'm awake now!'" He loved this idea, and he spent the rest of the afternoon pretending to sleep on the bed, pretending to wake up, and then hopping off the bed and leaning over the gate to shout, "Mommy, I'm awake now!"

He went to sleep at a reasonable hour last night—and man, was it SO MUCH EASIER to put him to bed. This was actually what made me think of the double-bed solution in the first place: I considered what my ideal putting-to-bed scenario would look like. Part of the reason moving the Beaner from a crib to a bed became somewhat urgent of late is that he's gotten so heavy and so tall that even holding him in the chair—our brilliant solution when he became too heavy to hold while walking around the room—became impractical (and uncomfortable). Worse were the nights where I'd finally get him to sleep in the chair, only to have him wake up when I tried to transfer him to the crib. I endured many arm cramps and numbness in the process of getting him down for the night. (For what it's worth, the reason I never cut him off and just put him to bed is that I *like* the snuggle time we have together at night. The poking and head-butting and arm pain I can do without, but now that I work full-time, I value any snuggle time I can get.) Anyway, putting him down now involves the two of us lying down on his bed for a snuggle, and then me getting up when he conks out a few minutes later. Simple.

I'd warned Al that transitioning from a crib to a bed might be a traumatic step for the Beaner, and that our nights might be disrupted now that he can just get up whenever he wants. Last night was a normal one, however; the Beaner went down at about 8:30 and woke up at 6:50, crying as usual for someone to come get him despite all the practice bounding to the gate and shouting, "Mommy! I'm awake now!". I now suspect that the real night terrorism won't start until he figures out, while still half-asleep, that he can get out of the bed himself.

One other thing that happened as a result of the room-rearranging this weekend: He discovered the box with the Build-A-Bear that his cousin MG made for him in it. She gave it to him as a first birthday present, but he hadn't shown any interest in it at the time, so I set it aside in the corner, next to his crib. When I moved the crib, he spotted it and said, "what that?"... and was totally enchanted. It kinda surprised me, given the indifference with which he treated it this time last year, but I guess now is just the right time. MG had gotten both a hockey outfit and a golfing outfit for the bear; it was wearing the hockey togs when we pulled it out of the box. The Beaner had me help him get those off him, starting with the helmet ("hat off!"), and he requested that the bear don the golf attire. He didn't think the round golf shoes looked big enough for the bear's giant feet, however ("too small!"), so he asked me to put the skates back on. We worked on tying and untying the skates for several minutes, and then he requested a comb. "Fixin' his hair," he said, repeating a phrase he'd heard in a Sesame Street song.

fixin' his hair

Posted by Lori in parenthood at 9:38 PM on January 8, 2007


I love that photo of him combing the bear's fur!

IKEA has some cute lighting, at prices so low it's practically free.

Posted by: ratphooey [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2007 2:48 PM

Oh, RIGHT! Why do I always forget IKEA? Whenever I'm there I *wish* I needed more lighting, but when I need it, I don't think of them. Thanks for the tip!

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 9, 2007 2:57 PM

I think the Beaner inadvertently invented ice golf! It'll be all the rage.

Congratulations on the big project. We haven't made the move yet, but it will come soon. Best wishes for good Beaner sleep in his new bed.

Posted by: juliloquy at January 10, 2007 8:16 AM

We are going to try to get Lucy out of her crib in the next few weeks. We found a frame for a crib-sized mattress for $5 at a garage sale, so we are going to take the crib down completely and set up a little toddler-sized bed for her. We thought that might be safer (she is a very active sleeper) and less intimidating for her. Her crib can be converted into a toddler bed also, but we need to break her of the notion that it is "hers", since she is going to need to share it when her little brother arrives at the end of April.

Posted by: Kevin [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 10, 2007 8:42 AM

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