Cribs May Contribute to Weird, Anti-Social Behavior

A few weeks ago we fell victim to a rookie mistake in parental judgment. I chalk it up to fatigue but maybe deep down inside, I was subconsciously pulling off the proverbial band aid and letting go of my last baby’s babyness. (No, that is not a word but deal with it, huh?)

Kate had begun climbing out of her crib so, exhibiting our seemingly endless supply of parental wisdom, we decided that it was time to set up her big girl bed. Our thought process on this one was simple…at least if she falls out of her bed the drop isn’t as far as a fall from the top of the crib. I know, we’re a couple of geniuses.

Mostly, I felt the urge to purge the crib from our house once and for all. Though its not technically purged, it has been vanquished to the attic for the remainder of its life.

It served us well, that inherited crib. One of my dearest friends passed that Jenny Lind onto us when Gwen was just a bun in the oven. Before either of our girls was even a glint in my eye, her two beautiful girls slept in it. Let’s pause for a moment and reflect upon the sheer number of babies who began their sleeping careers that crib.

Alas, there comes a time when no prison cell  crib can hold one of our babies. Gwen was a pro at scaling the sides of the crib by 16 months and decided that she would sleep in nothing but a “big girl bed” by the time she was 18 months old.

Kate, being the youngest, enjoyed the longest run in her baby prison. She made it to the ripe old age of 24 and 1/2 months. I’ve got her beat. I’m willing to bet that I slept in a crib longer than anyone that reads this post. Care to wager? I slept in a crib until I was about 7 years old. Weird, huh?

I had a bed. A nice twin sized bed that matched my sister’s. We even shared a bedroom… until my parents sold our house, moved us all to upstate New York and into our tiny summer house. That is where I was forced to re-enter the crib. I was in Kindergarten. The summer house was a pit stop while my parents renovated our farm house, so the crib was my “crib” for a couple of years. But I digress….

Since Kate had begun scaling the prison crib walls, I felt that she was emitting a cry for help. After my own unfortunate and lengthy crib-dwelling years, I wanted to get her into a bed before she ended up all weird and anti-social, like me.

We pulled the bed out of the attic and set it up right next to Gwen’s. If we were first time parents that night would have been tragic but this is our third go at helping a little kid transition into a big kid bed.

Sometime around 11:00 p.m., a time now defined as our new “wee hours” (as in 11:00 p.m. is the new 3:00 a.m.), we heard a dull thud followed by some muffled crying. Don’t worry the floor is covered in cushy, plush carpeting, and we didn’t start laughing until after we determined that she was alright. Sure, she was technically wedged between the bed and the dresser a little but she suffered no injuries. At most she probably experienced the sensation of falling followed by that weird, where the hell am I? state of confusion. Kind of like that time in college when you went on a bender and woke up in someone’s apartment with the Pillsbury Dough Boy costume hanging from the ceiling…what? Oh, that didn’t happen to you?

The next day I picked up some bed rails. She hasn’t fallen out again, but did initially have some trouble understanding that she is supposed to sleep on the bed, not next to it.

Have you seen it?
Katie over at Chicken Noodle Gravy just dished about No. 7! In all seriousness, I am incredibly flattered by the feature that Katie wrote. Head over and check it out and while you’re there take some time to explore Katie’s blog – she’s a wonderful writer. Chicken Noodle Gravy is one of my absolute FAVORITES!! Thank you so much, Katie! I’m floating somewhere up around cloud 9 right now…

A Note to Self

Today when I woke up I decided to take the bull by the horns. I made an announcement to myself while we were brushing our teeth. I said, “Self, fall is coming and this year we’re going to love it!” Self raised a cynical eyebrow at me in the mirror. Her expression said,”Yeah. Good luck with that.” I ignored Self and silently told her she was being an asshole. Off we went to busy ourselves with our day and I gave Self the cold shoulder for the rest of the morning.

Later, as I stood waiting for Joe’s school bus to come over the rise of our quiet country road, I was lost in thought. I stood listening to the breeze as it rode through the lush green leaves in gusty waves. In fact, it was the lush green leaves that I was marveling at when…THUNK! An acorn fell from heights unknown and bounced off the crown of my head. I swear that tree was reminding me that I shouldn’t get accustomed to the greenery because those leaves will soon be falling. Did fall actually just send me a warning message in the form of thug acorn? Seriously?

It was right about then that Self piped up again and said, “I told you so. This fall will be no different.” I stood in the driveway rubbing the bump that was growing on my head and told Self to shut up. I laughed at the irony of that rogue acorn and began thinking about how my psyche is completely ruled by the four seasons. Fall should be terrific. It’s a season bursting with color and crisp, cool air that requires fabulous sweaters and tall leather boots. My hair stops being frizzy and my skin doesn’t break out in the fall. I can start whipping up all of those delicious cold weather soups and stews, pairing them with warm, crusty garlic bread. We can have roaring fires in the kitchen fireplace and make s’mores. We’ll be able to turn out the lights and sit in front of the crackling fire with bellies full of chocolate and marshmallow, listening to the wind howling outside. We’ll hear the rain coming down sideways against the windows and feel the biting, damp air as it winds its way under the door jams to chill our bones. The trees will become skeletons, shaking their barren branches at us mockingly. Oh wait…, I think I got sidetracked. I’m supposed to be thinking positively.

Fall. It also brings about the yearly celebration of my birth. Yay. This year I will be celebrating my 40th year of life. I love birthdays, just not mine. I don’t really mind the getting older part; it’s just that up to October 15th, fall is bucolic. The leaves are putting on their yearly show of color; the days are still sunny and pleasant. Yet, each year on the dawn of October 15th, the sky suddenly looks like someone dipped a brush in the dreariest of grey paint and brushed it right over the sun. I look around at the leaves and realize that the few that remain are desperately clinging to the trees and looking rather dead. The ground is wet and rotting leaves lay stuck to the driveway. It’s like someone took an eraser and wiped all of the color from the world. The only colors that seem to remain are orange and black.

I love Halloween. I seriously love Halloween, but as a kid my birthday parties notoriously had a Halloween theme. Once…, just once I wanted a pink party. I coveted a party so obnoxiously pink that it would make grown women puke. What did I get? Orange and black. Witch hats and bats. Spiders and apple bobbing. I’m writing this and it all sounds so fun now. What the hell was my problem?

I have pictures of me and my 9 year old friends enjoying a Halloween themed birthday party inside my big old farmhouse. In the background of those photographs the windows frame a grey, rainy sky. I don’t recall it bothering me at the time. I remember racing from the living room and into the center hall with balloons, sitting on them and laughing like little maniacs as they popped under our bottoms. We must have been so obnoxiously screechy and giddy, a group of 9 year old girls racing thru the house on that blustery day. How I loved those friends and I missed them so in the years that followed.
Those were incredibly happy times. I lived in a perfect little town, nestled at the edge of New York and Vermont. Fall was beautiful there with our horses and apple orchards. Sleepovers and innocence ruled. There were Saturdays when the school’s gym was opened up for roller skating parties and we all went together, happily skating the afternoon away in our Fair Isle sweaters and ribboned barrettes. Round and round we rolled with Hall and Oates, Donna Summer and The Village People. We were just beginning to notice the boys and the boy I “loved” was named Kyle Hunter. I’m not sure we ever spoke more than three sentences to one another.
Halloween was spent trick or treating in “town”, which was a tiny little village where everyone knew everyone. We walked up and down the road in our costumes, carrying our UNICEF milk cartons and pillow cases to collect donations and candy. I remember daring my neighbor to ring the bell of the old woman who lived in the grey house on the corner. She was rarely seen and in our minds, she was an old mean, hermit lady. Ringing her bell required hours of preparation. One needed to build up vast amounts of courage and I only did it once that I can recall.

Those fall days were incredibly beautiful. I don’t think birthdays and back to school became so difficult and gloomy until after I moved away. Maybe I left my innocence and happiness behind in that little town, along with my best girl friends. In my high school and college years I occasionally ran across some of those old friends. I was so jealous that they all got to stay there in that place. I wanted nothing more to be there with them, where everyone knew one another. I imagined them going thru their teenage years together as a kind of extended family. I was so angry, sad and jealous that I would pretend I didn’t know them if I happened to see them.

Anyway, this is the fall that I am taking control. There’s no way that I’ll let that negative old Self hijack the bus and drive us to Bummerville. In fact, I think I might just plan a party for the kids. Complete with witch hats, bats, spider rings and apple bobbing. And as I watch those little people having the time of their lives, I’ll think of my old friends and smile.