The Big Kid Bed

Is there anything that makes a baby’s arrival seem more “real” than setting up the nursery? Washing and hanging or folding all the teeny little onesies, agonizing over the perfect pastel shade to paint the walls, carefully arranging stuffed animals and lining up books– and the pièce de résistance, assembling the crib in all its glory.

Grow With Me

Choosing that crib felt like a rite of passage during my pregnancy. I knew I wanted a “grow with me” crib that would transition to a toddler bed complete with a little half-rail to keep a kiddo from rolling out of bed at night. The back railing of the crib is designed to be used as a headboard for a queen mattress when the time is right.

In his three years of using the crib, my son never once even attempted to climb out– he was perfectly content to be contained and never dreamed of escaping– but we finally converted the crib to a toddler bed with the start of potty training. I wanted him to be able to get out of bed and go to the bathroom if needed. We made a big deal of what an awesome new “big boy bed” he had, and within a couple short months, he was already asking for the toddler rail to be removed. (I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched him roll out of bed that first night via nursery camera, after which he climbed right back in.)

We Need a Bigger Bed

This kid’s an active sleeper who tosses and turns a lot in the night, and it became clear that he really just needed a bigger bed than the crib mattress. I had anticipated using the back of the crib as a headboard, the way it was designed to be used, for a queen-size mattress. Because most of his toys live in his room right now, though, there just wasn’t a good configuration with his other furniture to fit a queen bed. We settled for a twin– it’s not huge, but definitely bigger than his crib mattress, and hopefully big enough. 

Watching the crib come apart and be moved to the closet for storage made me feel like we had just put it together for my sweet baby, who looked so tiny in it surrounded by all those wooden slats. My three year old, who had looked so huge sleeping on that crib mattress, now looked tiny again on his new twin mattress, proudly reclining on his brand new truck bedding.

Not a Nursery Anymore

And now we’re peeling off the precious star decals that adorned his nursery and replacing them with pictures of trucks and trains; we’re moving his baby board books to his little brother’s room; we’re putting away the crib sheets with stars and moons and tugging truck-printed sheets onto the new bed; and suddenly, his nursery isn’t a nursery anymore. The big kid bed has sparked the transformation to a whole big kid room, and the moment has caught me by surprise, like so many little things do as my son continues to grow. My baby’s not a baby anymore.

But as we adjust our new bedtime routine, he wants some things the same: he still wants to snuggle; he wants me in that big kid bed with him to hold him close while we read his bedtime story; he still wants me to rub his back and count to ten the way we do every night. He confides that he wants to keep one of the stars from his original nursery decor. I promise him we’ll find a special spot for it and wish him sweet dreams as I close the door on my not-so-big big kid in his big kid bed.

Erica Tran
Erica lives in Kenner with her husband Michael and her three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost toys and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. There's not a lot of free time between working, reading and writing, and chasing her kids, but in those moments she's usually sprawled on the sofa in casual denial about just how messy her house is.


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