Another car and it’s not for Captain

I’ve got a bad case of Spring fever and I’m ready with my bathing suit. The plastic kiddy pool is coming out of the basement any day now.

We continue to accumulate more and more kid gear. We head to the swing-set store. Baby Bop claps her hands and exclaims,

“Special treat!”

Yes, indeed. And the sticker shock is for real. But faced with not getting a swing set, we’re ready to pony up. What’s life without a slide, a swing, a fireman’s pole, an add-on ice cream stand, a telescope and a steering wheel? We decide we don’t need the steering wheel. The swing set is stationary.

And while we’re shopping for gear, what about a toddler bed? I’m tempted because the 6 months of beauty rest I had are never far from my mind. Baby Bop hasn’t slept in her crib in 3 months and maybe a “big girl” bed would be just exciting enough to do the trick.

I browse the toddler bed selection. There’s a standard looking bed for a reasonable price, but the race-car bed is where my heart is. Who wouldn’t be excited to sleep in a race-car bed? New they’re over $300. What’s that about? A plastic car. And it’s not even a full car, it’s got a big hole in the middle of it for the crib mattress.

I can’t fathom spending that without knowing if it’ll make Baby Bop sleep. I’d spend it immediately if I knew she would. Maybe she’ll love the swing set so much she’ll sleep out there.

Even though we’re already buying that, I’d add the optional playhouse with flower box windows just for her sleeping pleasure.

I browse Craigslist. There’s a $40 plastic car bed in great condition 20 minutes away. DONE.

I try to put Baby Bop to sleep in the crib one last time before we dismantle it. She does her panic scream where she stops breathing and her mouth is open in a silent wail. This is as bad as it gets. Captain gets his tool box. Goodbye crib. For now.

Baby Bop is thrilled with her new car bed. Not so thrilled that she wants to sleep there all night, but thrilled enough that she’ll start out there.

Captain and I alternate the rest of the time sleeping with her on her mats on the floor. She would prefer we slept with her in her car bed.

Awhile ago a friend of mine mentioned getting into her son’s toddler bed with him like it wasn’t a big deal. I couldn’t fathom this. Surely I’d never do that. First of all, how could I even fit?

Well I do. And so does Captain. With our head on the plastic “trunk” and our feet hanging down over the headlights, it’s more comfortable than it sounds. Not comfortable enough to sleep there all night, but good for a little rest.

Another friend shares about her 4-year-old sleeping with her. She says,

“I don’t mind. Someday he won’t want to sleep with me.”

I hear that. So I’m enjoying my Baby Bop snuggles in our new toddler-size car bed and simultaneously hoping for another miracle.

Captain says,

“Seems like when she’s 5 we’ll be able to reason with her.”

Neither of us has spent much time with a 5-year-old, but the little that I do know, doesn’t make me think everything will be reasonable.

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So far no number of friends in the bed can get Mommy and Daddy off the hook, but I’m willing to add more

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Dear house, your photos look great, do you want to meet up? I’ll come to you. I’m still seeing other houses, but I’d love to see where this goes

The house hunt is on. It’s been on in theory since we knew we were pregnant, but it got on in earnest a couple of months ago when Baby Bop made it clear she’s not going to stay in one place for long.

I could be fooling myself, but I have a dream that we’ll all sleep better with more than one bedroom. Baby Bop would argue that she sleeps great, but she’s a bed hog. She sleeps on her back with her arms splayed out like she’s the letter “T.” A 9-month-old baby takes up most of our queen-size bed.

House hunting is like online dating. It’s a drag. The photos, or lack of, are very deceiving. If there are no photos of any bathrooms, assume the worst. If there’s no mention of a great neighborhood, it’s probably on a highway. If it says, “it has potential,” it’s probably a tear-down.

So no matter how good a house looks online, you have to meet in person ASAP. No point daydreaming about where I’m going to sit outside with my coffee and attempt to blog, while Baby Bop plays in a pile of dirt. I have fond memories of playing outside and Captain has fond memories of playing in piles of dirt.

The good thing about online dating is that after meeting three times, you’re free to walk away and it does not require the biggest financial investment of your life. If it does, you’re being scammed.

It’s all a little scary, a little exciting and a little overdue. I’m ready to move my stuff out of my mom’s garage, living room, kitchen, basement, attic and hallways. Don’t forget about my in-law’s basement and attic. Thanks everybody.

And I’ve got my eye on a new king-size bed. Baby Bop, the queen is all yours.

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The fun fact about cribs you wish you knew when you were a baby

Sleep. Elusive sleep.

All I’ve heard my whole life is what a great sleepy baby I was. I slept through the night almost immediately and took two two-hour naps. My mom fed me, put me in my crib and walked away.

When Captain was a baby, he had a very hard time sleeping and remembers his parents bouncing him. He remembers being bounced. I’m repeating that, because it scares me.

In the beginning I had a lot of hope. Every night I thought to myself,

“Tonight’s my night! I got the naps right, the temperature right, the clothing right, the feeding right, the je ne sais quoi right.”

It didn’t matter.

Talk to anyone with a baby older than your baby and they’ll tell you,

“It gets better.”

This is true. But it’s not a straight uphill trajectory to Better Land. Or at least not with Baby Bop. We’re at 7 months now. It’s the best. Month 3 and Month 5 were the worst.

Month 3 was when she stopped breastfeeding during daylight hours and screamed if she could see anything. Anything. There had to be pitch blackness, motion and even better if her limbs were restrained. So her life in the sling began.

Then Month 5. She stopped sleeping for the four-hour chunk of time she’d been giving me her whole life and decided to wake up every hour. After a few weeks of sleep deprivation torture. I tell Captain,

“I’m not going to make it. I need you to sleep on the couch, so I can have Baby Bop in bed with me for the whole night.”

And that sounds really calm when I read it here, but it wasn’t.

After one night of that, I thought to myself,

“Wow, we were up every hour, but I feel rested.” Not having to stand up and get Baby Bop out of her crib, to put my boob in her mouth, was a miracle. I ask Captain,

“Will you sleep on the couch one more night?”

So two months of Captain sleeping on the couch later, I feel great! I ask Captain,

“What do you want for Valentine’s Day?”

“I want to sleep with you in the bed.”

Mmm. Sounds nice. So we’re working on getting Baby Bop back in her crib. I’m employing all sorts of methods, tricks, advice, witchcraft. Whatever works. And then I read this in one of my many parenting books:

“If diapers and pajamas don’t foil them… some baby girls adopt a version of rocking which rhythmically rubs their vulva against the crib mattress or bars.”

If Baby Bop knew this, she’d like her crib a whole lot better.

So while I leave the book near Baby Bop in case she wants to read it, we work on making our bed safe for an increasingly mobile girl. It was either put our mattress on the floor and lose precious storage space or put rails on the side of the bed. We put up rails.

I tell Captain,

“I like the rails! They make the bed feel really cozy.”

“You’re all set for the nursing home.”

Guess I should stop rubbing in the fact that I’m enjoying sleeping in the bed. But don’t feel too bad for Captain. It’s a memory foam couch and it cost a lot more than our bed.

The other night I startle awake to Captain standing next to the bed. I ask him,

“What’s going on?”

“I’m trying to see where everybody is.”

No one is in the crib and everybody, Baby Bop and I, are in the bed. This crib thing isn’t happening overnight.

Last night, with Baby Bop asleep in the bed, I collapse on the couch to enjoy my couple hours of baby free time. I start with my favorite activity, scrolling through photos of Baby Bop. Captain admires the photos and declares,

“I want to wake her up and play with her.”

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Bed rails!

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Baby Bop’s Valentine’s Day present for Captain: Chocolate poop