From Nursery To Big Girl Room :: And All That Goes With It

From Nursery To Big Girl Room :: And All That Goes With It

For the first time in seven years, we (my husband) took down the crib. Completely disassembled it and put it away in the attic – just in case.

And while I anticipated tears over it, I was surprised when I didn’t cry at the sight of its parts stacked and leaning against the wall. My husband showed some emotion over it, but I was okay, and I was feeling like maybe I had it in me to tackle the rest of the nursery and turn it into our youngest’s “big girl” room.

I made it through setting up her twin bed and nightstand. Her excitement had me excited, with her little “is dat my big-guhl bed?! Is dats for meee?! Oh I so excited! Tank too, Daddy! Tank too, Momma!”

We had picked out a “girly” dinosaur-themed bedspread for our dinosaur-obsessed, nearly three-year-old, and she was giggling with glee at the sight of her room coming together.

But the moment she clambered up and sat in the middle of her new bed, throwing her little hands in the air with victory, with the biggest smile across her face — I felt it.

I felt the longing, the aching for a smaller version of her to come back. She still has her baby ringlets that have never been cut, her plump baby face, and sweet baby voice. But as my five-year-old and six-and-a-half-year-old have shown me — it won’t be long before she outgrows those, too.

I swallowed my emotion and did a little victory dance with her to shake it off. That was a close one, but I caught myself, and I was okay. Now it was time to clean out her closet.

Pink baby blankets and little knit booties.

This is the part I least looked forward to. I had put this off for so long, but there was no going back at this point. The closet’s shelves were filled with breast pump parts, bottles, pacifiers, infant car-seat inserts, and of course, tons of too-small clothes. Luckily I have a storage system for clothes once the girls outgrow their sizes, so I didn’t have to sort through tiny onesies and the like (my heart would have shattered), as they were already packed away in their bins and labeled.

But it was time to put those bins in the attic, next to the crib. And the baby swing sitting in the corner, and the Boppy, and the Bumbo seat, and the highchair, and the hundreds of muslin blankets and bibs and burp rags and…

Suddenly, that wave of emotion came swelling right back up and spilling out without warning. My face grew red and hot and I choked back a sob while holding a tiny, knitted, pink and green newborn hat worn by each of my daughters. My husband took one look at me and said, “No, no don’t start that now. I can hardly keep it together myself and seeing you cry is going to make me cry!”

We could hear our daughters screeching and giggling down the hall, chasing and teasing each other. He walked across the room, wrapped me up close to his chest, and we both stood there for a long time, quietly crying together in the closet of what used to be our nursery.

“I-I, I’m not crying because I want another baby, I promise. I’m not changing my mind … I just…”

“…you just want our babies to stay babies. I know, love. Me too.” He kissed the top of my head and helped me finish sorting through what to keep, what to donate, and what to toss, with me sobbing through most of it.

The whole process only took one afternoon, but it was the longest afternoon we’ve had in a long time. At this moment, our family of five feels complete. It has felt that way for sometime, actually, and hasn’t budged. Upgrading our youngest’s room and cleaning out closets doesn’t mean that door is shut; but it does mean our babies aren’t babies anymore.

We knew this, of course, but lived in denial until our littlest figured out how to climb out of her crib and we had no choice but to face it.

It really all does go by so, so quickly. So many monumental moments have come and gone already, and being a part of them all has created the best seven years of my life. The old biddies love to remind us: “You’ll miss this one day,” and most days, that phrase drives me up the wall.

But standing here in this closet, sorting through boxes of baby items, leaning into my partner the same way I leaned into him during labor, spying one or two grays in his beard … I realize, they’re right.

I’m going to miss the hell out of the sound of their feet pounding on the wood floor in the morning, running into my room at seven a.m. for cuddles in our bed. I’m going to miss her chubby face, toddler toes and baby voice. I’m going to miss the endless giggles and shrieks that leave my eardrums ringing every single day. I’m going to miss the play dough crumbs on the floor and the crayon on the walls.

One day, I’m going to miss this brand new dinosaur bed set. I’m going to cry over the memory of my little girl with her ringlets bouncing, her fists in the air with excitement, her smile a mile-wide in the middle of a twin bed that nearly swallows her up.

I already miss her, just the way she is now.

The nursery is no longer a nursery. It’s a big-girl room with big-girl furniture and soon it will be painted and wallpapered over, forever erasing the original decor we fussed over during my pregnancies. It’s time — but oh my heart, is it bittersweet.

In seven years, I’ll want back what I have now.

So even though we no longer have a “nursery,” I’m going to soak up every bit of baby we have left in our sweet girls big girl room from now on — because as we all know, babies don’t keep.

Cailin Allain
Cailin was born in Metairie, but moved to Slidell at five years old and never left! She is now raising her three daughters, Genevieve (Evie, 5, highly intelligent, brutally honest, hysterical), Josephine (Jo, 4, intuitive, brilliant, fiery), and Bernadette (Bettye, 2, smarty pants, no sense of fear, doesn’t believe in rules), with her husband, Andy (her favorite human), in Olde Towne Slidell. Cailin received her bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Political Science from LSU, and her J.D./D.C.L from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at LSU Law. She has her own practice, Law Office of Cailin K. Allain, LLC, and is currently navigating the ins and outs of expanding her business while working from home. When she’s not working, raising babies, or dancing in the kitchen with her husband, you can find her curled up in bed with a good book/comfort movie, some chocolate, and hot tea. On the weekends, Cailin enjoys going to concerts and comedy shows with her husband and any one (or all!) of her six siblings, and hanging out with her in-laws in Bay St. Louis.


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