The next fifteen years flashed before me. I stood in the doorway looking at Penelope, feeling heartsick and unprepared. Jenn prepared Penelope’s room like every other night. I didn’t help; I didn’t want to move. I wanted things to stay exactly as they were for as long as possible. I asked myself how it was that transitioning from a crib to a bed would alter my perspective so radically, as if my daughter were going from toddler to teenager because of a single piece of furniture.
Jenn and I waited for “the right time”. Last year my grandfather offered to buy a bed for Penelope. We thanked him for such a gracious offer but had to decline at the moment. “Just tell me when you’re ready” he said. We filed the offer away, in no rush to move from confinement to freedom. As Penelope’s space in the crib shrank Jenn and I brought up the bed question. Then we started sharing our concerns about the change.
“Do you think she’s ready?”
“Do you think she’ll try to open the front door?”
“Do you think she’ll just get up and play all night?”
We weighed strategies, tossing out ideas to make the transition as easy as possible. Once we considered moving all of her toys to another room. I’ve heard of other families doing this to keep their children focused on sleeping. It never sat right with me. Probably because I didn’t want to move everything out of her room. Where would we put it? But ultimately we left everything where it was to reduce the disruption and make the transition seamless. We argued over the merits of door alarms, adding a locking handle to the living room door, and added locks for the front door. Our concern for Penelope making a break for it in the middle of the night reached paranoia pitch.
One evening last month I looked down at Penelope in her crib, a child in baby sleeping arrangements and I knew it was time. All the questions would have to take a back seat to the act of getting a bed.
Now that it’s over I think the exercise had more to do with Jenn and I and less to do with Penelope. Like Paul Simon said in “The Dangling Conversation”
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost.
Only it’s not bookmarkers, it’s beds. Penelope is growing up so fast. Or we are getting old faster.
There was another first. Sunday afternoon. Picture Show at Merchants. Monsters University. With the exception of one bathroom break Penelope made it through the entire movie. It was a near perfect choice. Penelope loves Mike Wazowski, the lovable cyclops voiced by Billy Crystal. All week we prepared Penelope, telling her it would be loud and dark in the theater. If at any point she wanted to leave we’d walk out. I was skeptical, unconvinced any movie, with the exception of My Neighbor Totoro, would hold her attention for an hour and a half. Jenn disagreed. I’m so thankful to be wrong.
I think Carrie starts next week…