I remember the car ride home after our anatomy scan with Ethan, over the moon about the little boy in my belly and overcome with excitement. We couldn't resist stopping at a store to pick up his very first outfit despite the fact my husband had to go into work and was already running late. I spent the rest of the afternoon browsing online for ideas for his nursery and dreaming up exactly how I wanted it to be. A lot of heart and soul went into that nursery. I wound up on bedrest and finished it off by my husband pushing me around the room in an office chair as I dictated the finishing touches that I wasn't able to physically get to myself. In the end it was perfect, every bit of it the tranquil, oceanic place of bliss I'd hoped it would be. In that room I rocked Ethan in his glider well into toddlerhood, until the day he asked not to be rocked anymore and instead would we lay by the side of his bed until he fell asleep. His bed. Sooner than we ever imagined we removed the crib rails and converted his crib to a toddler bed, surprised by how early he -- our timid, shy little guy -- hurled himself over the front of the crib in a desperate attempt to put off bedtime. His birth announcement sits framed on his bookcase as a reminder of the baby who once slept in this nursery for nearly three years. Three years. I've been dreading May for the sole reason that it's going to kill me to say "next month I will have a three year old."
The time had come to say goodbye to the converted crib and purchase Ethan a new bed. A bed he could grow with through all of the inevitable transformations his room would go through (if he's anything like me, who changed up my bedroom nearly every year of my childhood). Ethan decided he wanted a pirate themed bedroom and over his excitement and squeals of joy in regards to his pirate octopus and pirate ship lamp, I'm realizing how quickly the time came to change everything up. It feels like it was just yesterday that I sat there pining over every last detail of his under the sea nursery, obsessing over paint swatches and window treatments and name letters that match the decor just so. And, you know, I seem to have blinked and now I have this child telling me his plans for his pirate room and a furniture company putting together a real bed in the room that was once a nursery and now isn't. In a couple of months, we'll be planning another nursery. We'll be putting the rails back on a crib and setting up the glider perfectly so in the corner of the room. I'm struggling to get a good grip on it all.
Tonight was our standard bath, pajamas, teeth brushing, story time -- and then it was different. Then my almost three year old climbed into his brand new bed with a mixture of nerves and excitement in regards to spending his first night in it. I squeezed nine stories into tonight's bedtime routine. He squeezed in even more I can't sleep heres. I even sang Natalie Imbruglia songs. My husband laid with him until he fell asleep at just past nine o'clock, two hours from when our bedtime routine began. There were no tears, thankfully, but my heart still feels guilty. Maybe instead of the converted crib we should have moved him directly into a bed all those months ago, back when he was more flexible and less prone to over-analyzing as he is now. (The "can I still sleep in this house, mommy?" he let out this morning upon seeing his empty bedroom while the furniture delivery truck pulled up onto the driveway just about did me in.) The less rational part of me thinks we should have just bought a new crib for Baby Girl and let him sleep in his converted crib bed until college if he wanted to. Heck, he could take it to college with him, if he wanted.
But I stepped back and remembered the way he squealed with joy as he picked out the decorations for his new room, the way he asked "do you love my new bed, daddy?" as soon as my husband walked in the door from work tonight. I remembered the time he first laid in his crib at seven months old and wanted nothing at all to do with it -- and how quickly that changed. One day this will, too. One day, I will have a hard time envisioning Ethan's room as anything but a place of pirates and a shiny cherry wood bed and nightstand that lights up underneath when you tap it on the side. One day, he will be ten and asking me if we can change his room to whatever ten year old Ethan is into and I will get just as choked up remembering when it was exactly as it is now. Remembering every detail that was poured into it, just like his nursery. Just like the fan pulls we had to import from China, the changing pad covers that had to match the walls just so, the way it all had to be perfect before we brought that little eight pound, four ounce bundle of sleep-protesting joy home from the hospital on that hot day in June nearly three years ago.
This weekend I'll be up to my eyeballs in rearranging the furniture and finishing hanging the pieces of decor that have been sitting in the closet since Ethan first came up with the idea of a pirate bedroom quite a few months ago now. Slowly, but yet not slowly enough, pieces of Ethan's nursery are coming down and pieces of his room, his real bedroom, are going up. And at the same pace, if not quicker, my baby is disappearing before my eyes and, instead, my child sits up in his bed waiting for me to read him bedtime stories and sing him Natalie Imbruglia songs.