My eldest got their own room yesterday. It’s bittersweet. For so long we have had a mostly unbroken attachment and it feels sad to know that the independence has been firmly established by my child to sleep in their own bed and to move into their own room.
I always felt like it was up to the kid to decide when they didn’t need to sleep with mommy or whomever anymore. And yet nothing really emotionally prepared me for the day he grew up and wanted to be on his own. I can’t, apparently, stop him from growing up.
So it’s hard to say goodbye! Here he exits the baby phase officially (not that any other sign heretofore isn’t relevant to this exit) and goes straight toward independence. I’m happy he saw this as a positive and mostly embraced what it meant without cries, argument, or crazy clinging. He was sufficiently empowered to take the next step into growing up. I guess that means I’m doing something right.
And while the whole thing was bittersweet for me, it was worth every growing pain to enjoy my child’s enthusiasm about the whole day. He was so excited to move into the room and was delighting in each new thing that got placed within the walls- toys, chair, desk, bean bag and clothes to start. He wanted to do everything in his room and happily read books and colored his leg with stamps (don’t judge 🙂 until it was time to go elsewhere and start dinner.
When it came time for bedtime, I wasn’t sure if he would sleep in my room or continue the excitement for his new space. He chose his room instead of mine. I gave him the option but he wanted to stay in his bed. So we read bed time stories there and while usually we lay together until he falls asleep, he was happy to fall asleep himself this big night. I wasn’t sure if he would feel safe but he seemed to do alright. I let him know that if he needed anything he could come get me- I’d be just across the hall or down the stairs and either way he could find me easily- just like sleeping in the same room only now he walks across the hall. And that was it. The bittersweet ending to a bittersweet day.
But, nothing is ever that perfect or easy it seems so I was totally unsurprised when he came into my bedroom shortly thereafter asking why I wasn’t asleep. I said I still had a lot left to do (true but also a tactical response) and then tucked him back in. He came in again shortly thereafter and said he was hungry. I took him back to bed and tucked him in and made sure he knew that while being hungry in the middle of the night is okay, it wasn’t the middle of the night and if he needed someone to stay with him we could do that. He didn’t need anyone (so he said) and so I tucked him in again and said I loved him a bunch. He knows the door is open for him and I’m so happy he came to me even though it seemed he needed an excuse (of course I don’t care what the reason is or if there’s no reason at all!).
I’m sure having your own room and the trust and responsibility and lack of a watchful eye is awesome when you’re a little one as I could hear the patter of footsteps on the floor. For whatever reason that kid was running about his room getting stuff or doing stuff. Still makes me giggle thinking about his late night dalliances as if we cant hear his footsteps through the thin walls. He can do what he likes after the light goes off and the door gets closed though. It’s not really whether or not he falls immediately to sleep, it’s that he feels ready to tackle the sleep beast himself. 🙂 Eventually we all say we’re going to bed and do whatever we please for a bit and then fall asleep- this is one of those things that really doesn’t matter in my opinion.
It’s really hard to give your kid the space they need to grow into independent and functional adults. You want to hold on to them like they’re still your tiny suckling infant forever! But with each passing day they grow taller, learn more, do more, and keep on moving further down the growing up track and away from the baby unit. And each day you let them be who they are a little more watching them and admiring them and doing your best to be a solid rock for when they need a foundation and a guiding light for when they need to remember where to go.
I admit I snuck in there to check on him and give him lots of kisses and admire what a big boy he is- how could I not? I smiled hearing his footsteps after saying goodnight thinking of him exploring his new boundaries of independence. And I did the same again tonight as I write this. It’s exciting to watch him grow into such an empowered and independent person. I’m just so proud of his adaptability and the way he openly embraces change. Amazing. And even though he’s a bigger boy than two days ago, he’s still my baby and I need to kiss him and make sure he’s happily sleeping in his bed wherever that may be. 🙂
A new room for a new start- what a great way to bring in the new year and continue on this path of positive change. 🙂