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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I’ll take my cuddles well-rested

I like my job. Most of the time. For the first 11 months I thought I’d made a mistake.

Before Baby Bop was born I wanted to stay home with her. Then around the 5 month mark I was so exhausted, delirious, and not sure how to solve it, that I declared,

“Maybe I’d be better off working.”

I don’t know how that was going to get me more sleep, but I’d long lost touch with the rational part of my brain.

Several months into my sleep deprived fog, I tell my therapist,

“I thought I’d like this more.”

“How many times do you get woken up a night?”

“Three to four.”

“When’s the last time you had a full night’s sleep?”

“Before Baby Bop was born.”

“So that’s really hard.”

“Yeah.”

We chat some more. She asks,

“You love your husband right?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Do you want to spend 24/7 with him?”

“No way!”

“So then why would you want to spend 24/7 with Baby Bop?”

“You’re right. I don’t.”

I felt better having figured that out, but spending all night with Baby Bop wasn’t changing until we moved.

Now all of sudden with nighttime and naps, she’s sleeping 15 hours a day without me. And while I have to stay close enough to keep the video monitor in range, I’ve got a good 700 foot radius of freedom.

Not only does the 700 feet of space make me like my job, I like Baby Bop more. I just miss adult conversations. There’s only so many times I can talk about piggy toes before I wonder if I’m losing my mind.  And piggy toes are the one body part Baby Bop can identify, so they must be a frequent topic of conversation.

In Boston, when I went out in public, I avoided eye contact and hoped no one talked to me. I had zero energy for random people. Now going to the grocery store is a social event. Old ladies are a big fan of Baby Bop and we like some of them.

For the first time I feel strong waves of nostalgia. Remember when she was so small? Remember when she screamed all the time? Ah.

My nostalgia is a luxury of being well-rested. When I was in my sleep-deprived stupor, people said,

“Cherish the cuddles, it goes by so fast!”

Screw you. You come cherish the cuddles at 3am and I’ll get some sleep.

A daytime cuddle is where it’s at.

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