We've been talking with her about the possibility of taking off the crib rails for weeks now, giving her a chance to think through that idea. The plan had been to hold off until the crib for the new nursery came in. (Something new for the baby, a new room update for her, too....) She's been sleeping so well at night and has only made limited and feeble attempts at climbing out, but seemed "ready"...and if there were going to be sleep interruptions, I'd hoped to address them now, instead of months down the road when there's a new baby in the mix, too.
I've been preparing myself, as well. And, in my heart, I knew it was almost time to make it happen. I "supported" the change, so to speak. I did buy new toddler bedding for her birthday in anticipation of the move, after all.
The new crib had been set up for two days. She had unwrapped her new bedding two weeks prior. So, when she woke up and suddenly (and albeit, quite randomly) declared herself in the mood to remove the rails...I had no good reason to say "no".
Daddy got the wrench, and after a few quick photos of Emerson in her baby bed for the last time, the rails came off. Emerson immediately loved her new "big girl" bed, giving us lots of big smiles, and she has slept like a champ ever since. (Update: Since I drafted this post, we're back to some nighttime sleep struggles. She seems to be dealing with some nighttime fearfulness, and needs Mommy to "sit in the dooooorrrrwaaayyyy!" at bedtime and when she wakes in the night. Unrelated to the crib rails, I'm quite sure, but a new challenge to work through together, nevertheless.) It suits her, and her absolute delight in her new bedding and her new ability to get in and out of bed herself has made it entirely worth it. She's growing up, and suddenly, with this latest change, seems to be even bigger, still. (Incidentally, this change to her "big girl" bed has coincided with her lack of interest of nursing right before bedtime. We haven't nursed for the past couple of weeks since. It's a strange thing to let go of, but she may finally be ready. I am so grateful to have chosen to allow her to decide for herself when the time is right.)
It's a funny thing, watching her grow. While I'm trying my best to mentally and emotionally prepare her for changes and new experiences (talking about everything she might encounter on her doctor visit, for example), giving her time to thoughtfully process these things (which she seems to do best with)...she just rips the Band-Aid off when it comes to forcing me to face them.
That's probably for the best. I may have postponed taking off the crib rails for weeks. But, she was ready to grow, and she let me know; I needed to let her.
She's going to keep growing, keep taking steps before I'm entirely ready for her to take them. I'm probably going to need her to keep ripping off the Band-Aid.... Some growth will come when I'm expecting it; other changes will come without warning. And, as hard as some of it may be, I'm going to try to keep in mind the joy that I know so often comes with growing up. There was much joy for me. And, I know that, as I grew...with every change...my mom probably faced it with a lump in her throat, at the same time celebrating with me as I embraced growing up.
Ready or not!