I recently shared with the class how my 21-month-old daughter has taken to sleeping on the floor. Last week, she learned to climb out of her crib, so we removed one side and added a mesh rail, but she's chosen to sleep on a pile of blankets and pillows not in her crib instead. I suppose it's not ideal, but going off of the comments on the post and other things I've read, it's certainly not all that uncommon. She's safe; she's well-rested; she's happy. And that makes me happy.
However, I had a realization last night when I was puttering around the house, picking up toys, etc., after I put her to bed. I wasn't ready for her to be in a bed (or, in her case, a floor). Babies sleep in cribs; big girls sleep in beds.
Just like the past 21 months, it happened in the blink of an eye. One night she was in a crib; the next, she wasn't. She's been asserting herself much more lately, voicing her opinions on her clothing, food, and games she wants to play, but the fact that she was still in a crib, in my eyes, kept her more of a baby. Babies sleep in cribs; big girls sleep in beds.
When my husband and I were lying in bed last night, I told him how I felt. "She's just so big now," I said, trying not to cry right before I went to sleep. But I realized in the midst of our sleepy conversation that it's one of the many ways she's going to surprise us in life -- by doing things when she's ready, not when we're ready. I was planning on keeping her in a crib until she was 3 or so, as that's what "people" said. But she had different plans. She isn't anything people say; she's her own person. And I'm sure she won't follow the exact age guidelines for other milestones either -- potty training; reading; dating, eventually. I, as her mother, need to not only accept them, but support her and let her know she's doing a wonderful, wonderful job. (You climbed out of your crib at 21 months? Go you! That's impressive as hell, little bunny!)
Milestones are hard; they're exciting, but they're hard. And they're never going to happen at the exact moment we're ready for them. The best way to handle every change, in my opinion, is to just go with it and let your child know that you're there for them; that you support them; that you're their biggest cheerleader.
And, for what it's worth, our babies will always be our babies -- whether they're sleeping in cribs or not.
How do you handle milestones?
Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber