Last year about this time, one of my biggest worries was getting Lily set up in a “big girl” bedroom before our new baby arrived in April. We hit road block after road block getting this seemingly simple task accomplished. My plan was to move the guest room to the basement, move Lily into the old guest room, and then do a few tweaks to the nursery. However, our septic system backed up into the basement (twice), putting a massive wrinkle into step one of my plan. Because I couldn’t move the guest room until the basement was fixed, I spent way too much time contemplating what type of furniture to buy for Lily’s new room. The bed choice was especially challenging for me.
Because of my frugal-leaning tendencies, I am not generally a fan of toddler beds. Why should I spend money on a bed that will only last a couple years? Going into the decision, I was biased toward finding a bed that would grow with Lily throughout her childhood.
At first, I thought a trundle bed was a perfect solution. She could sleep on the trundle at first, and then as she got taller, could sleep in the main bed. It would also give us extra space for out of town guests and sleepovers. Theoretically, it made sense. Practically, the idea fell flat as soon as I saw a trundle bed in person. In order to fit a trundle underneath, the beds are TALL. Lily is small for her age, and will likely never get above 5 feet. Throw paralyzed feet and reduced strength into the mix, and we dropped that idea like a hot poker.
We shopped. And shopped. And shopped.
Eventually, we found ourselves in Ikea and saw what I believed to be the perfect bed: a day bed with a high back and sides, and open in the front. It also converts to a king sized bed without adding height like a typical trundle, AND has storage underneath. I thought the high sides were great for now (give her some security after moving out of the crib), and for later (give her something to hold on to when getting into and out of bed).
I went back and forth between buying her the Ikea day bed and delaying a bed choice by simply putting a mattress on the floor. For the long term, the Ikea bed felt like the best choice. It also felt a heck of a lot more special than a mattress on the ground.
We bought the bed.
She takes pride in the fact that she has a big girl bed. Her stuffed animals line the sides like her own personal squishy army, and she uses the tall back to pull herself up so she can look at the Doc McStuffins characters on the wall above the bed. In some ways, you could say the purchase was a success.
However, it’s now a year later, and seeds of doubt increasingly pepper my thoughts because I took my eye off the ball. I forgot about giving her the greatest gift of all: Independence.
You can’t hit a home run if the bat is too heavy for you to hold, and Lily can’t achieve independence when we put unnecessary obstacles in her way. I bought her a bed that essentially traps her in a dependent role. CRAP.
I’ve spent the last few weeks wracking my brain for a solution. Steps? A ramp? A slide to make it fun? How do others do it? I posed this question to my good friend who is an Occupational Therapist, and you know what she said? People simply put the mattress on the floor to maximize independence. Why didn’t I ask her this question a year ago?!?
I wish I could go back in time. “Focus on independence!” I’d tell myself. Put that mattress on the floor and find a way to make it feel special!
Instead, I went back to Ikea and bought a step stool. On the positive side, she got into bed on her own last night. The negative: she can’t do it without her braces and shoes on, and she does not wear them to bed. Sigh. At least the step stool will be helpful in the bathroom.
I still don’t know what our next step will be. Right now I have a lot of ideas and no clear answers. I could put the mattress on the floor and erect a fort above it so it feels special, but what do I do with this darn bed? I could build a decorative ramp that matches the style of her bed and has a dollhouse built into the underside. That would be cool, but where am I going to get the tools and skills to do something like that?
Maybe I should pause and ask myself why my ideas are never simple or easy to execute…
All I know is that I’m done beating myself up over missing the mark. I wallowed in my misstep on Sunday and it didn’t do me any good, so now I’m simply going to choose to accept my mistake and move on. Dream big! Focus on overcoming the challenge at hand. Maybe it will turn out to be a fun adventure.