My daughter Athena moved from a crib to a big girl bed last week. She’ll be three on May 29 – a ripe time to attempt her “graduation”. Believe me, when your three-year old moves from crib to big girl bed, it’s an occasion.
I went about it as dutifully as any dad, I should think. Told my daughter matter-of-factly that if she wanted to become a big girl, then it was time to sleep in a big girl bed. A sound logic, yes? I don’t go on and on with my daughter; I give it to her straight, no less than I expect for myself.
“You want to be a big girl, don’t you?”
A high-pitched, gleeful “yeeaaaah!”
“Then that means no more crib. That means it’s time for a big girl bed.”
Her enthusiasm is infectious. When her delightful squeals and giggles roll endlessly from her belly, I suspend belief; faery magic truly does exist.
Faery magic…I could have used a handy dash during the painfully arduous task of putting her Tinkerbell bed together. Since I’ve become a father, I’ve realized anything made for a child that states assembly required means that it is fabricated to administer a cyclopean headache to said assembler. But it’s all in the name of love. Gritting your teeth bolting bed frame and bedpost whilst your child hangs from the opposite side, knocking it from alignment. Biting the inside of your cheek stretching fabric impossibly lacking in length to create a finished glittering faery canopy whilst your child hangs from the opposite corner, knocking the remainder of your functioning brain cells from your head. But it’s all in the name of love.
Always in the name of love.
The first night in her new Tinkerbell bed, an expression of utter and bold discovery lit her little face. Gone, the bars of the crib that once detained her. Vanquished, hard unmerciful wood that would bonk against her head deep in the bowels of night. Replaced now by lavish lavender draperies and sequined azure bows, an ornate head and footboard bedazzled with the very image of Tinkerbell herself; yes, a bed conjured straight from Pixie Hollow for a very deserving little…I mean big…girl.
Needless to say, Athena’s happy dance around her treasured new bed lasted nearly five minutes. And as I watched, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad. It was a selfish feeling, to be honest. Losing a tiny piece of something you wish to hold onto all your life.
As I lay in the dark later that night, I wondered what my daughter might have been thinking as the Sandman cometh for her twilight excursion. I wondered if Tink, Silvermist, Fawn and the rest of the faery clan rode with her on the crest of dreams, and if that delicious smile was still etched across her cherub cheeks. But fitfully, I twisted and turned. It’s happening already, isn’t it? She stands at that imaginary threshold. That fanciful line I wish she should never have to cross between little and big.
Sleep eventually arrived in the guise of brilliant sparkling faeries. They told me it would be okay. There would always be plenty of room between little and big.
Eventually, I slipped into a golden nether ruled by faith, trust and pixie dust.