No one tells you before you have kids just how many times they will break your heart.
I learned this harsh reality before, but I just experienced it again recently.
We decided it was finally time to move our 3-year-old son, Elliott, out of his crib and into a shared room with his 6-year-old brother, Sam.
The big reason is that we felt really bad he had to yell at us through the monitor: "Mommy! Dada! I have to go potty!"
He has never attempted to climb out of his crib, so going by himself wasn’t an option. Anyway, he also started inquiring about it often. "Can I sleep in Sammy's room?"
For many reasons, it was time.
But let me tell you something: It wasn't easy.
Most importantly, that crib has been a staple in our house since we moved into it more than six years ago. It was the first "new" piece of furniture we put up in our house as we excitedly awaited the arrival of our firstborn child.
And, save for a few months before Elliott was born, it has always been in use. To see it sitting empty and then taken apart was terrible. I sat and watched my husband disassemble it as tears rolled down my cheeks. That might sound silly, but there's no certainty it will ever get used again. If I have my way, it will hold one last Coffey baby, but who knows?
Second, Elliott is really, officially a big boy now. It's hard to imagine my little Velcro baby as this independent little boy who goes to the bathroom on his own, sleeps in a big boy bed and dresses himself. It's so bittersweet to tuck him in at night outside of his crib.
We really savored the final night we put him to sleep in that crib. I sat in his chair and read him an extra book. I cradled him like a baby and planted at least a dozen kisses all over his little face and then relished lifting him up and laying him down in the crib one last time. Kevin and I both leaned over the railings and sang him his two favorite lullabies. The encounter ended with all three of us bursting into laughter because Elliott couldn't stop laughing at both of his parents peering down at him at the same time. (We never put him to bed together before; he just couldn't believe what was going on.)
I'm really thankful for that memory. It was such a sad occasion, but because of that fit of giggles, it's one I'll look back on with a smile.
It's been a tough adjustment, too. For everyone.
Elliott is really enjoying his newfound freedom. The very first night in his new bed, he was up until almost midnight. He got up to "go to the bathroom" at least five times the first few nights. A few other times, we heard the pitter patter of his little feet around the house and had to go find him and put him back to bed. We've heard Sam utter, "Elliott! Go to sleep!" a fair few times. Additionally, since moving to his new room about a week ago, he's only taken one nap. That needs to change because I am so not ready to give up naps yet, and I don’t think he is either.
Thankfully, it's getting better. There were only tears the first night. Each night he seems to get up less and less. And he absolutely loves sharing a room with his big brother.
Oh, and I've enjoyed taking over his old room and turning it into my art studio. It's hard to feel too sad when I'm surrounded by all my favorite things. It even makes it easier when I march Elliott back to bed for the fifth time.