If These Crib Rails Could Talk

We dismantled our crib this spring.  It was time.

Over eight years ago, we set up the crib for the first time.  When I say we, I actually mean that my husband set up the cribEight months pregnant, I had shuffled around while he worked, keeping myself busy with important tasks such as folding hooded towels, stretching 0-3 month onesies onto child-sized hangers, stacking diapers, and occasionally rocking back and forth nervously as I realized that the nursery -- the room that we used to refer to as the spare bedroom -- was now flooded with baby products that I hadn't known existed just months prior.

Three babies have slept in that crib over the years since then.

How many times did I stagger to that crib in the middle of the night to feed a hungry newborn?  How many hours did I pace the strip of carpet between it and the changing table, hushing and rocking and whispering?  How often did a baby's smile in the morning swell my heart to the point that I thought it might explode?

As we carried the disassembled pieces of the crib into the garage, memories cascaded over me.  I remembered when we videotaped our first daughter as she gazed upward toward her butterfly mobile as it slowly spun.  Nothing but her face, wrinkled and rosy, was visible above her tight swaddle.

As she grew, she learned to kick out of her swaddle and inch her way across the crib until her head was wedged directly in the corner.  I had found this so clever -- my baby traveled!  It took just one night to realize that each time she got stuck in the corner, scrunched and miserable, she cried until we rescued her.  Desperate, sleep-deprived thoughts tempted me, like how easy it would be to solve this problem by duct taping her to the center of the crib for the night.

I recalled a few long, blurry nights when the girls got had gotten sick in the crib  How Joel and I squinted when we abruptly flicked on the hallway lights, groaned as we assessed the mess, and then figured out who'd be responsible for cleaning the kid and who'd change the crib sheets.

I conjured snapshots of the girls as they slept: the outline of their forms bathed in the glow of the nightlight, their bottoms turned up and their knees tucked underneath, or their arms extended above their heads in dreamy surrender.

I remembered the sound of baby feet kicking the crib mattress in the morning as they woke, the rhythmic thuds vibrating through the mattress as if it were a tightly-stretched drum.

Once all of the crib pieces were propped against the garage wall, I returned into the house and watched the girls without speaking.  Are these really the same children who used to whack themselves in the forehead with their rattles, stunned into tears by their own uncoordinated assaults?

How we've grown.  All of us.

We're officially past the baby stage in my household.  The crib now belongs to a new family, friends of ours who recently moved away.  Somehow, my heart is lightened knowing that another precious child still sleeps within the safety of its rails each night.

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  1. Lead here from Pinterest. My kids are only two and 2 months, but I will be sad when the day comes we will have to take down our crib. Thanks for the cry.

  2. kylielovesthisJune 03, 2013

    Beautiful post, I so wish I'd written as it sums up perfectly how I feel about each stage of my youngest as she passes from baby into toddlerdom. All her "firsts" now my lasts of the baby world that has been my life. still, watching my eldest now at school, it's amazing how precious every ages and we must embrace each chapter as they really are a blessing. x

  3. It's amazing how their "firsts" sometimes dovetail with our "lasts," isn't it?

  4. surprise mamaJune 04, 2013

    My baby is only 10 1/2 months old and I am crying reading this post. Part of me never wants her to be old enough to be out of that crib. Part of me can't wait to see who she becomes.

  5. Aww, thank you! You found the exactly right word: bittersweet. It pretty much sums up parenting as we raise these children with the full intention of ultimately letting them go.

  6. Lisa, you're onto something: the end-of-the-year school events really do highlight the quick passage of time! So many milestones are celebrated, and you can't help but look back and reminisce.

  7. Francesca Writes HereJune 06, 2013

    We're nearing that stage with ours. I think I might cry when we finally replace it. So many memories.

  8. I cried when I packed away my first daughter's baby clothes, and it's been so sweet to watch the other two wear them. Packing up the last batch, though, certainly was a cause for tears! I understand!

  9. Thank you for dropping by, Stacey! This putting-away-the-crib experience is parenting right-of-passage, isn't it?

  10. All four of my babes have slept in the same crib. I know, soon, my 13 month old will graduate to a toddler bed and the crib will be dismantled for the last time. I'm gonna be a mess. I just can not imagine my home without that white crib and changing table in one of the rooms. :)

  11. Tracie BauguessJuly 27, 2013

    Very nice! We just took down the crib for my 3rd child. Its exciting and heartbreaking at the same time. All of mine have slept in the same bed as well. Here's my post if you want to check it out. http://traciebauguess.blogspot.com/2013/07/celebrating-first-cherishing-last.html

  12. I'd love to check out your post, Tracie. Thanks for sharing!


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