Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
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Crib Notes

All tuckered our after Violet's birthday party.

I sit here listening to Henry shout out answers to Diego's questions and try to repeat key phrases en EspaƱol. The cuteness factor is off the charts. Leaves puppies, baby monkeys and even human babies in the dust. Newborn babies aren't that great, anyway. In fact, be honest. If you have a kid you were slightly taken aback at how much your tiny, fist-waving newborn thing resembled a crotchety, old, man upset about how long you've had the door of the ice box open while you look for something to eat.

But toddlers. GOD. Aren't these little assholes just about the most heart-wrenchingly cute things on the planet, even when they're being assholes? Sometimes especially when they're being assholes.

Everyone knows miniature things are always adorable and, after months of looking like balding senior citizens, toddlers finally look like people except in miniature which is, you know, adorable. And the talking and dancing and joyful, curiosity-filled outlook on life is just beyond compare.

Listening to my almost 2-year-old rock with his boy Diego is totally worth him waking me up at six in the morning on a Sunday. Thank God for cartoons, man, or else I would never sleep in. Even if that extra hour is filled with an ungodly amount of Hola, Amigos! And yes, I consider that precious hour of time between lifting Henry into my bed and when he tires of Diego and demands "ope-mill" (oatmeal) sleeping in.

A couple weeks ago Henry climbed out of his crib on is own. A clear signal that Hey! I defy you to contain me in this tiny prison! So I took down the front rail of his crib. It's one of those jobs that converts into a toddler bed and then a regular bed.

"You opened my bed!" He said, his little face beaming in amazement as I removed the rail. As if I held the key to the universe and not just a silly little allen wrench. He then proceeded to jump from the bed to the floor and back again like a mad man until he, in a rather poetic nod to little monkeys, fell off and bumped his head. Yet even a ding to the noggin couldn't dim his enthusiasm for his 'open bed.'

Moving a kid from a crib to a tiny bed is a huge milestone yet I did it casually, downplaying it, because I just couldn't allow myself to indulge in the significance. What if Henry is my last baby? Then my crib days over. Never again will I enter a room to behold the sweet, sleepy face of one of my children as they loiter casually against the crib bars - like some kind of tiny construction worker on a smoke break - waiting for mama. Chin resting on rail, hand clutching a favorite blankie close to chest.

Oh, I may have the joy with grandbabies but never again will I lay my little sweetheart, Henry Benry, into a crib. He's officially a big boy, now. Kind of. He would rather bite your finger off than let you take his binky. Which, instead of being a very public display of my failure at mothering, now brings me some measure of comfort. He can't totally be a big boy if he's still sporting a bink. Sure he clutches it between his teeth and talks around it in much the same way a chain smoker employs his ever-present cigarette, but still. Binky equals baby which suits me just fine for now.

Reader Comments (7)

Monica, you're a great writer. And a great mom. Many's the time I've wished that you and Mr Monica had had your babies before I had mine, and I admit I am a leeeeetle bit jealous of the growing band of younger parents out there who have your remarkable light shining out from that happy Pennsylvania porch to guide them along the winding roads of family life.

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Murff

I Love the picture of their profiles !!!!!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUtah L

I agree with Mr. Murff and couldn't have said it better myself!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

I know what you mean about 2 year olds being the best and the worst. Nobody can make me smile like my boy, even when he's throwing a tantrum. I wish I could get a good picture of his 'mad' face because it KILLS me with cuteness. About the binky -- I remember being surprised when I went to Israel last year that TONS of kids that looked to be at least 3 or 4, if not older, were still using them. I love the look of security in their eyes when they are sucking on a binky. I had to get rid of my son's at around one so he could start preschool, but now (at 2) he's started the whole-hand-in-the-mouth bit, and I am wishing we still had that binky...

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I have an 8 yr old daughter and 5 year old son and Im having no more kids. I too got sad when my son went from his cot to the big bed, knowing this will my last time of having a baby in a cot. My son is off to school next week, he starts Kindergarten (Australia time). This is my last baby at home and Im pretty sad about that. I loved having him home with me, my little buddy. They grow up far too quick!

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

Oh geez you made my morning. Here I am laughing and almost crying, reliving the days of when my guys were in a crib. Yup, it may be the end of something, but trust me on this since my boys are in the teen years now, they are soooo cool and sweet right now and you will still see glimpses of that little man. Of course, there's a different sleepless night now when they will keep me up all night waiting for them to be home, but that's another story all together. Thanks for that trip down memory land and here's a hug for making my morning so sweet.

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheila@Chinaberry

Hi! I found your blog over a year ago when I was pregnant and read through most of it, rather stalkerishly. Turns out we had the same OB, Dr. J is the best!! He delivered my little guy in 2011 and now I'm just rediscovering your blog. My son would never sleep in his crib so I can't relate to that part, but you couldn't be more spot on about toddlers vs. babies. I thought I'd miss the baby days, because everyone said I would, but I love life with my little asshole about a million percent more than caring for a crying, sleepy, alien.

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