Big Girl Beds are for Babies


Three is a pretty perfect number.  It is the only number that is the sum of the numbers beneath it.  It’s a spectacular number according to mathematicians.  But ask a parent – you’d be hard-pressed to find a parent that says that they just love three.

But I do.  When you’re three you’re not a baby and you’re not a kid.  You can say hilarious things and roll your eyes and laugh at a joke, a real joke, but you can also crawl into your mother’s lap and fall asleep.  You believe in the power of mama’s arms around you and you are still my baby.  But you pee in a toilet and for the most part you do not leak bodily fluids on my shirt.

I think three is wonderful.

Most of the time.

Lucy Quinn

On Tuesday my baby is three.  This baby – the one that was born about five minutes ago.

My Lucy Quinn is a big personality and her birthday reflects that.  We have been celebrating for days.  She had cake and candles with family.  She had her first haircut.  She slept in her big girl bed for the first time.

Em got kicked out of my bed into a “big girl” bed and I learned a lesson. I slept in a twin bed with a tornado of elbows and tiny cold feet for years and I won’t make the same mistake again.  Lucy’s big girl bed is big – a queen.  She thinks she is hot stuff to have a big girl bed and told everyone that would listen that “my mom and I are moving into my own room!”  I smiled and said “No, baby, just Lucy is moving into your room” but she was right.

We snuggled.  She fell asleep.  I slipped out of bed and came downstairs. I spent five or six hours tossing and turning in my bed and checking and double-checking the baby monitor before I went upstairs and got in bed with her.  I made a brief pit stop in the chair in her room where I sat and watched her sleep and bawled about how big she is getting.  And then I admitted defeat and I climbed in next to her.

Tonight I am going to try… I am going to try and leave her be. But she is still so small, guys.  I can’t figure out if she needs me or I need her but I know that I don’t believe in arbitrarily changing things because it “is time.”  And yet somehow I decided that I was too tired, we were too tired to stay in my bed together anymore.  Nursing all night and waking one another.  So, I started telling her “When you are three you can sleep in your bed, right?”  And she got all kinds of neat stuff for her bedroom over Christmas.  And she helped me put glow in the dark stars on her ceiling yesterday.  And then all of a sudden she was in her bed and we were reading a book and we were turning off the light and she was asleep and I was the one that was crying.

She’s not three yet.  I have two more days.  I just want my baby back.


And that is when she hollered “Mom!” just as I had shown her.  “Lu, all you have to do is say “Mom!” into the monitor and I can hear you.  See?  You’re not alone,” I explained.  She was listening. She had tears in her eyes but she wasn’t crying, exactly, when I entered her room last night.  I had just finished the sentence above about wanting my baby back when she cried out.  “Mom!” I wish it had been a “Mama” or a “Mommmmmmy!” but I am not picky.

This moving into her own bed will be a process for us both.  Em slept with me until she was nearly four.  And by then I had a boyfriend that quickly became a fiancée and we slept like you do when you’re newly in love, all wrapped up in one another.  And then while I was pregnant I went back to sleeping with Fisher because for reasons I don’t quite understand I can’t get enough of that boy when I am pregnant. And then I had Lucy.  I have slept tangled up in someone for as long as I can remember now.  While I am prone to fantasize about what it might feel like to stretch my legs out and fall asleep without anyone touching me (particularly late at night when I am desperate for sleep and pinned between a snoring dog and a sleeping kid) I am afraid.  I am afraid I will be lonely. I am nervous.  I am nervous like one might be before a first date.  MQD and I haven’t slept alone in a bed since we were married.  I came home from our honeymoon pregnant.

I am trying to tune out all of the advice.  I should night wean her.  I should have had her in her own bed all along.  I should just let her cry for a little bit.  I am trying to remember the advice that I give so many new moms – It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks but you and the baby and your partner. You guys are the only people that get a vote.  Our current sleeping arrangements aren’t working.  So, we are trying something new. And just like with a little kid I need to process that just because we are crying a little (or a lot, in my case) doesn’t mean that it isn’t the right thing to do.  Change is hard.  It’s only been two days.

Bear with me while I blather on about this for the next few weeks.  When she is brushing her teeth and setting an alarm clock for school I won’t remember this time if I don’t write it all down.   The days are long and the years are short and all that jazz…. it happens so fast.  And the promise of a full night’s sleep looms large.  We will make it.

Sappy birthday letter to my Lucy Q is coming…. if you’ve not been around long you can catch up starting here….

10 responses to “Big Girl Beds are for Babies

  1. I can totally relate with you. I have a 3-year-old who now sleeps in her twin bed with her daddy, while I sleep with our 9 month old in the full size bed–all in the same room.

    • I am a huge fan of pile all of the beds in one room! So glad that is working for you, I wish we had the room! :) Way to make it work and make sure everyone gets the sleep that they need.

  2. I feel for you! My ‘little man’ is turning 16 years old this year. I could have sworn he was only 3 just last year…no matter how slowly you blink, it happens.

  3. I’m so with you. And reading the comment above? Them moving out of the house for college? I am already envisioning the tears rolling down my face. I’ve already prepared them… and the oldest is only 7. On the other hand, you deserve to sleep. She will learn how to sleep. And it will be a letting go like everything else, but it will mean you’ve taught her something new, something she will carry with her forever. She will be able to sleep in a bed secure in her own awesomeness because you’ve taught her that. And how cool is that life skill? Good luck. And thanks for writing it down for the rest of us to remember those times, too.

  4. I think you are a fantastic mother. You thought I was, and I can’t hold a candle to you. And you’re right — no one gets a vote except you and Mike and Lucy (Fisher is staying, and that’s that). But all of us who love you will continue to tell you what we think–free advice is, after all, worth exactly what you pay for it. I love you, Kel.

  5. Katie just announced a month ago that she doesn’t want me to snuggle in her bed any more when she goes to bed…she is being so strong and brave about it and SO determined. While I am SO proud of how she identified something important to her and she is sticking with it I am SO SO SO sad..I beg, I plead, I try to creep in..but she is so firm. I try not to go on the downward spiral that my first “baby” will leave for college in just 4 yrs!

  6. Hey, Max is now 5 years and 9 months. (This is what he keeps telling everyone. Because he is very precise and claims he is not “almost six.”) He is a cuddler. While the big sister went from a crib in the nursery to a full size bed in her big girl room/ex-guest room that she got shunted to when I was pregnant with Max, Max went from the crib to the twin-that-would-turn bunk bed. And though he barely took up a quarter of that twin size and we would frequently fall asleep tucking the kids in, ignoring the fact we had our own bed, eventually, we did start falling asleep (sometimes even with the spouse) in our own beds. But on a daily basis, a little boy would crawl into bed sometime between 3:00 and 5:00. So… he made it most of the night. And eventually, I started saying, “you have to sleep in your own bed the WHOLE night.” (I think it was when I think he broke my nose with the back of his head. Sleeping in close proximity can hurt and boy has strong bones.)

    And at this point, while big sister crawled into my bed the other night, I don’t quite recall when the boy last crawled in bed with me. And for a while, it seemed like it was such a problem and inconvenience. I almost miss it.

    But, we have a recliner in the living room. And apparently both children fell asleep on me last night. (I don’t recall much, as I apparently was also asleep.)

    • Sleep and kids is so tricky… it kills me. Em used to just climb into my bed at night and that was perfect but Lucy is upstairs and we are down so I have to keep a gate at her door so she doesn’t fall down the steps!

  7. For good or bad it’s all on you and the decisions you have made and will make. We’ve all been there (or somewhere) before. Good luck.

    I got nuthin’…

    BTW my baby is (1st born) is moving out of the house in 2 weeks. And that’s a good thing.

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