Wally Ben shows a lot of “big boy” traits these days—he climbs into his car seat on his own. He wants to “help” with everything—including minor tasks, like “helping” me get dressed for a work out…”Mommy, now take these socks off. Now take belly off.” Uh…not always helpful.

Our big boy also (we discovered accidentally tonight) can finish the lyrics for most popular radio songs—Wally 4 was singing “You see me driving round town with the girl I love, and I’m like…” and Wally 5 in the other room says, “Get You.” We tested him, and were surprised to hear him finish, “Got them moves like…” “Jagga”, “I’m on the edge, of…” “Gory”… and “Party rockers in the…” “House night.” I think we’ll be switching to K-Love.

So we thought, with a new baby on the way who will surely steal his crib, it was time to make the transition to big boy bed. I always had thought we’d switch him when he started climbing out of the crib on his own, but although he is physically capable, he never showed an interest. In the morning and after naps, he’d lay in his crib, yelling, “Mom. Mooom. Mommy. Moomma. Moooooooom,” until I showed up to lift him out.

So now, with WV at 2 years old, I found the perfect toddler bed, we picked it up, and the day was here without any real transition strategy other than to assemble the bed and see what happens. Bed assembly wasn’t a wimpy task—it came from Wal-Mart, which meant both inexpensive, and that it somehow fit into the equivalent of a cereal box. Hundreds of pieces, and as many pages of instruction for how to puzzle those small pieces into a headboard, sideboards, and everything else that makes up a bed.

Wally assembled while Wally “helped” by looking on, wearing a hard hat, and eating Cheerios. (I’ll let you figure out which Wally was which.) A few hours later, Wally Ben put in the last screw, husband Wally tightened it (still wearing his hard hat), and we had a toddler bed.

Wally Ben loved it. He climbed in and out of bed and laid in it the next hour, pulling up and pushing down the blanket and rolling around, and when I told him it was time for lunch, he refused, saying, “More sleeping!” I finally convinced him, saying his real nap was after lunch, and he caved.

When it came time for his real nap, he freaked out a little during his last book, saying, “Downstairs!” wanting to escape. Wally 4 came in and sang him the same bedtime song he’s been singing to him for a few years, reassuring him while his heavy eyes opened and closed. The nap was a solid 2.5 hours.

Then bedtime came. Same freak out, same way of calming him down. He slept until 4AM, when I woke up to him crying, “Mommy!!!!” I followed his calls and found him sitting in the middle of his room crying.

Not much will break a mom’s heart more than seeing your little one growing up and sleeping in a big boy bed, but also so vulnerable that he can’t find his way back after accidentally climbing or falling out. I scooped him up, let him know it was okay, and told him if he falls out he can just climb right back in his new big boy bed. After covering him up, I asked if he was okay, and he squeaked out a pathetic little, “yeah.”

I tried to leave, but he cried for me to stay, which I gladly did. I sat next to his bed and watched him drift off. The whole time I thought about the strange mix of how big he’s gotten, and how important of a job it is to be needed by someone so small.

When he woke up in the morning, he laid in his bed yelling, “Mom. Mooom. Mommy. Moomma. Moooooooom.” Only when I came to his room did he climb out of bed. Eventually I’ll teach him that he can wake up, climb out, and play in his room on his own. But for now, I think I’ll continue to enjoy my own personal, sweet, big boy alarm clock.

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