Friday, March 22, 2013

"I'm getting bigger, but not too big."

We didn't give her any warning. We knew as soon as we mentioned it, we would have to do it right away.

That's what she's like now.

We don't look forward to anything. In so far as, she never knows something exciting is coming soon. It just happens, within hours or even just minutes of when she hears about it.

It is our new policy.

Ever since the zoo.

In February, we had a mini-vacay to San Diego, to see some friends who were visiting from Arizona. In our naive excitement, we told Ella we were going to the San Diego Zoo when we planned it weeks before going.

The night before, she was crying, "I want to go to the zoo!"

"We can't go right now. We have to go to sleep first. The zoo isn't even open! The animals are sleeping! They have to sleep. We aren't allowed to see them until the morning, when it's sunny again."

Then, in the morning, "You have to drink your milk first. The animals aren't even ready for us to come over yet. They still have to eat their breakfast and brush their teeth and get ready. We still have to drive there, and it takes a long time."

So we didn't warn her.

We didn't discuss it.

Justin and I talked about it, but not with her. Ella cannot fit into a pack-n'play or hotel "crib" anymore. She does not sleep with us in our bed--she thinks we are a jungle gym and climbs all over us, poking us, seeing if her finger fits in our noses or ears or mouths, playing peek-a-boo... Ella is almost 39" tall and weighs 30 lbs. It's getting too hard for 65" me to lift her over the crib wall--her feet crash into the rail. Ella tries to climb into her crib each night, but as she hinges her leg over the rail, I pick her up, telling her, "Silly! People don't climb into their cribs!" I figure if she learns to climb in, she'll realize she can climb out, too.

Today, as she goofed around with us before letting us her lift her out of the crib after her nap, I tapped on its wall and looked as Justin.

"Are you working tomorrow night?"

"Yes. But then I have a night off and it's your parent's anniversary party, and then I work for the rest of the month."

"OK." I tapped again. "Tonight?"

"Are you sure?"

"The only reason I want to do it is that we can't go anywhere until she'll sleep in a bed."

I took Ella potty while Justin secretly got the directions off the floor of the crib to make sure we weren't missing any parts. Then, I told her we had to talk to her and brought her into her room.

"Do you think you're ready to take this wall off and sleep in a bed? Or do you want to wait and do it later?"

"Yes, wait and do it later."

We asked again.

"I'm ready now!"

"OK. But if we take it off, you have to sleep in your bed. You have to stay in bed until Mommy and Daddy come to get you." I didn't even want to mention the possibility of wandering around the house unattended.

Justin and I have to switch sides of the bed. He still has Marine Corps instincts--you can't sneak up on him while he's sleeping without having a reasonable expectation that he will instinctively try to defend himself. I should sleep on the side closer to the bedroom door.

After Ella helped us by getting the sheets from her dresser, I prepared to make the bed. We put the mattress cover and fitted sheet on together, and then I put the mattress back on the frame.

"There is no side wall. I can do it by myself," she told me as she looked straight into my eyes while holding the sheet.

I wanted to object, but couldn't figure out why, so I said, "That's true," and put down the quilt and picked up the cell phone video camera.

She was never as cute as when she said that, but eventually, the bed was made--with a tiny bit of coaching when she started to get really frustrated that the sheet wasn't straight.


maria said...

love, love love, everything about this post!! congratulations on this huge step to all of you!!

B. Wilson @ Windy {City} Wilsons said...

What a sweet girl you have. :)

I can't believe she's so tall! Wow!

Also, thanks for the tips on not telling kids things in advance. I quickly locked that away in my brain as I imagine it will come in handy (lest I hear about going to the zoo every 5 minutes...).