Yesterday we reached what feels like the last milestone into little boyhood. We took the crib down. Last night, for the first time, Mog slept all night in his new "big boy" bed.
Long gone are the bottles, the pacifiers, and the diapers. Gone is the crib. Gone is the baby, and in his place is this amazing little boy whom we've come to call "Mog."
This boy draws pictures that are no longer all scribbles, pictures with lines for trees and circles for tractor tires, and elaborate backstories, which he explains to us in painstaking detail. ("This is the field, but the beans are combined, see? And there's a peacock in the field, and this is the house. We're inside the house looking at the peacock, and there's Pa Pa.") This boy gestures emphatically with his hands, and when you ask him if he wants a pickle, he rolls his eyes and sighs, "Of course." This boy sings along with the soundtrack to "Mighty Machines" and dances to Rammstein, and watches basketball with his dad. He uses his blocks to build "parking garages" for his Matchbox cars and castles for an imaginary dragon to blow down. He works diligently at his kitchen set to cook "soup" for Mommy.
He's such a great helper that last night, as we were struggling to put together the new bed, he ran around stealing screws and sticking them in every hole he could find, hauling pieces out of the box and scattering them, and asking repeatedly, excitedly, "Time for the ladders? Is it time for the ladders now?" He jumped on my back as I sat bent over the partially assembled footboard and yelled in my ear while pulling on my hair, "TIME FOR THE LADDERS NOW, MOMMY?"
(The "ladders" were little half guard rails that were supposed to attach to the sides of the toddler bed. I say "supposed to" because Eli and I managed to screw the bedframe together upside down, so that the holes for the guard rails were on the bottom of the bed, pointing down towards the floor. Oops. So no guard rails.)
With Mog running around like an insane Christmas elf, me trying to read and relay directions, and Eli holding the wooden pieces together amid the chaos of Eliot's toy cars and scattered blocks, it's a wonder that we all survived the assembly of the bed. We finished screwing together the footboard only to realize that I had overlooked the existence of these little spacers that were supposed to fit down into the holes and prevent the slats from moving. So, we unscrewed everything, removed all six slats, poked the forgotten spacers down into the holes, and reassembled the footboard. And then had to unscrew every piece of the headboard, which we had also already finished, and insert spacers into its slats as well.
I could continue to chronicle every mishap, every disassembling and reassembling that took place, every wrong screw, every piece screwed in backwards, but let me just abbreviate a bit and say: the three of us do not work together well as a team. We inevitably come into a project with different ideas about how the work is going to get done and what the end result is going to be. Our approaches are different and we have different strengths and weaknesses. I am insistent, and in a hurry, overlooking the bends in the path because I'm so focused on getting to the destination. Eli is anxious and focused on every slight misstep, unable to block out the distractions in order to move forward. Eliot is dangling off both our backs, screaming about LADDERS! WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE TIME FOR THE LADDERS?!
The important thing is that by the end of the evening, we had put together a bed. It wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It wasn't what all of us had imagined. It wasn't a Lightning McQueen racecar bed, or a Thomas the Tank Engine sleeper car. Hell, it didn't even have LADDERS! But it was a bed fit for sleeping, which is all we really needed, after all.
At nine o'clock, Eliot stretched out in his new bed with Monkey Bob and Elmo, and we pulled the covers up to his chin and kissed him goodnight. And he slept there in the bed that the three of us had built, all night long.
Did I mention that he slept all night long?