I am tired. I am pretty sure I am sleep deprived. Actually, I know I am sleep deprived. But it is for a good reason. My sweet Brady finally climbed out of his crib and into a whole new adventure.
For four and half years my little boy has gone to bed in a safe and secure crib. He has slept soundly and without any protest. Bedtime has been a breeze. Bedtime was always something we could predict and set our clocks to. Bedtime was easy...and nothing with our Brady has been what you would describe as easy. Bedtime was the one thing that lacked any challenges. My husband and I have always said that Brady knows how much work he has to put into the day, so the night is a time of peace and sweet sleep. Until this past weekend....
Last Sunday morning, before the sun had rose or I had poured my first cup of coffee, our whole house shook with the boom of a little boy finally landing on the ground after making a successful escape from his crib. Brady is not steady on his feet, he has struggled with motor planning and figuring out how his wobbly body is suppose to work and has had more scary falls than my husband and I can count, so scary, that when he tumbles too hard, he loses consciousness for just a bit. So when the sound of his little body hitting the bedroom floor echoed throughout our house, I held my breath as I ran down the hallway. I had no idea what I would find when I opened his bedroom door. My heart raced and my mind went to some scary places as I yelled for my husband to get up. But when I swung open his door, what I found was a little boy who had grown up overnight. Laying on the rug, was a smiling Brady, eyes wide with amazement at what he had just done. I looked at my startled husband and we both started laughing. He did it. He got himself up and out. All those years of physical therapy. All the worry about his physical capabilities. Wondering if his weak little body would ever allow him to climb so high. It all faded away. He had to have climbed...there was no other way to explain the way Brady landed. Brady's smile wouldn't quit and he started to laugh. He laughed hard as we asked him "how did you do it?" He pushed himself up off the ground, using no supports and looked up into my eyes as if to ask for my approval. He kept staring at me, a little puzzled and a whole lot of mischief, going on behind those eyes. I knew I had just been a part of a milestone, maybe even a bit of a miracle. Another developmental milestone to finally check off the list that so many special needs parents try to erase, but just can't seem to let go.
When your child struggles with developmental milestones and special needs get in the way of all tasks physical, climbing out of one's crib is a day to celebrate. Over the years, I have heard so many parents complain about their toddlers climbing out of their cribs and climbing into their parent's beds or running a muck throughout the house, while everyone else sleeps. I never experienced the "crib climb" with my daughter, Molly. She moved quickly from crib to toddler bed at about eighteen months. I never had to think about "transitioning." But with Brady, I have had to think about each and every transition, developmental milestone and "right time" for everything. The debate about transitioning Brady from crib to toddler bed has been going on for months (ok, maybe years), but Brady has always been an amazing sleeper. He goes to bed without issue and always slept through the night. He never tried to get out and always was so happy in his crib. My husband and I always felt at ease knowing Brady was safe in his crib at night. From 7:30 pm to the next morning, there were no worries in our house. We savored that feeling. We needed that feeling. I guess that is why we were never in a rush to make the big move.
The big move turned out not to be up to us. Brady made the decision all on his own. Over the last few weeks, we could sense him growing restless in that crib. He has been trying so hard to be a big boy. He has been making progress in his special needs preschool program, trying to communicate in any way he can, starting to explore new toys and overall, flexing his independence just a little bit. In my heart, I knew the time was coming to give up the crib and move into a bed. I knew the days of laying him down and knowing he was safe and secure and completely and utterly dependent on his parents to get him out of his bed were coming to an end. I needed to start preparing myself for a new adventure with my little Brady as he becomes big boy. I just didn't realize how soon that day would come.
So now we struggle a bit with bed time. He goes to bed later. There is lots of getting in and out of bed. And there is lots and lots of opening the door and stepping out into this great big world all on his own. I am still getting used to the sound of his little feet stomping down the hallway and his sweet smile peering around the corner. It is such a strange feeling knowing he can do it himself. He doesn't need to wait for his mommy to turn that door handle and let the new day in. Brady's got that all under control.
His grin tells me it's time. It is time for him to climb out because that is the only way to keep climbing up and making so much progress. So, I'll embrace the lack of sleep, the extra work at bedtime and the little bit of worry I still feel each night as I tuck him in. I'll take all of this, because it means my special little boy has checked off another milestone and continues to land on his feet with each and every new adventure.