{I Wasn’t Ready} When Transitions Are Forced

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It started with a crash and a shrill cry early Sunday morning. My husband flew out of our room and into my son’s nursery and confirmed what he suspected: 18-month-old William had climbed out of the crib and crash-landed. I rushed in after him and scooped up my sweet boy who was crying hard and looking totally shell-shocked. I could already see a big bump forming on his forehead.

He soon calmed down, but after some hemming and hawing, we decided to take him to Urgent Care that day to make sure he didn’t have a concussion and because one of his arms seemed to be bothering him. The doctor on duty saw no signs of concussion and thought his arm was probably okay because he was moving it normally, and coincidentally, we already had a checkup scheduled for the next day, told us to follow up with our regular doctor. Long story short, that doctor ordered x-rays, and we found out that our son’s arm was fractured. So a cute little baby cast was put on his arm for three to four weeks, and all doctors involved agreed that it was no longer safe to leave him in his crib now that we knew he could climb out.

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My husband and I talked about it on the way home from the doctor. We were feeling fairly traumatized by the whole experience of our 18-month-old son breaking his arm, and now we were going to have to transition him into a toddler bed? Wasn’t he too young?

We went back and forth and weighed the pros and cons. Everything we had read recommended moving to a toddler bed around age 24 months – a full 6 months away. Of course, that was flexible, but it still felt too early. But we knew it had rails and William wouldn’t fall out, and even if he managed to, he would be much closer to the ground than if he fell from his crib again. We could lower the crib mattress a little more, but only about 2 more inches, which didn’t feel like enough to make a difference. We both agreed that we could never forgive ourselves if we left him in the crib and he fell out again, and we knew his injury could have been much worse. A big pro, though not reason enough on its own to move him, was that we are expecting another baby in December and we wouldn’t have to buy another crib. It would at least be a perk of the transition.

We decided we needed to give it a try. William’s crib converted to a toddler bed fairly easily and he was thrilled as soon as it was ready. He was very excited that he could climb in and out of it himself (we made sure he knew how so he could get down safely instead of trying to climb over the rails). That night, we put him to bed in the usual way, except in his “new” bed, and we went to bed on edge, listening for problems in his room across the hall…

He did great! He did wake up a couple of times because the poor thing was having trouble sleeping with his big bulky cast, but when he did wake up and cry, he stayed in his bed and waited for us. So we’re happy with how it has gone, but of course we’re not thrilled with how the transition came about. We in no way thought he would be ready to sleep in a toddler bed this early, and I know it’s earlier than most kids do it. But we felt we had no choice, given the situation, so we are holding our breath and hoping that this continues to be a success.

Sometimes I feel like William was given to me to teach me, among many other lessons, that sometimes you just have to roll with things, and this is just another example. This is not an experience I ever care to repeat, but here we are, and we’re making the best of things. Ah, parenthood.

Have you had to make a transition that occurred earlier than you planned? What was your experience?

Emma is mommy to one-year-old William and wife to Bill. She was born and bred in Baton Rouge, attending Episcopal High School, the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU and the LSU Law Center. Married since 2010, she is loving her new life as a mother. She is an attorney but has limited her practice for now so she can stay home with William full-time, and she feels so fortunate to be able to do that. She is learning as she goes, rejoicing in every milestone and happy moment as well as working her way through the challenges that come with parenting. When she gets a chance, she loves reading, writing, and watching movies. She and Bill are both lucky enough to have their families close by and love spending time with them. She looks forward to seeing her little boy grow and eventually expanding her family. Motherhood has been the most fulfilling role of her life.

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