My Mama Blogs

“Transitional Shifts”

Every day we Mamas watch our kids shift through all sorts of things: reaching new milestones, giggles one moment and tears the next, changes in behavior, sleep, developmental leaps, along with so many other things. I’ll admit that every time I am faced with a new transitional shift, I am afraid. I have no idea why, but I’m guessing any Mama out there experiences the same feeling.

For instance, before my son Brooks was born, our daughter was still sleeping in her crib. At 20 months, I thought that it was time to move to a “big girl bed” so we could prepare the nursery for the baby’s arrival. We decorated her room simple and bright. We talked about Julia’s new “Big Girl” room for months.

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We read Big Sisters are the Best every night before bed. Then it was time to make the move. When we tried to move her, it did not go well. She thought it was play time–playing with the blinds (don’t worry, they are cordless!), getting out of bed, and actually asking to sleep in her crib.  I literally cried to my Dad and said, “I feel like she’s never going to sleep in a real bed.” So, when Brooks was born, she slept in the crib and he slept outside our bedroom on a Lifenest Mattress in the Pack and Play. (By the way, this mattress is amazing. It’s great for keeping their head nice and round as it hardens, as well as creating a soft and cozy “nest” as they transition from womb to crib.)

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During these fearful transitional shifts, I usually text my Mama friends. I got some good advice from one Mama who suggested that I could have Julia help me arrange the crib with the mobile, raise it up to the baby level, and decorate it with some of the baby things. And with her smiley and giggly help, we did just that. She was The Big Sister and proud to make the bed for her baby brother. And on that night, I moved her into her big girl bed.

My husband happened to be out of town and my Mom had spent the night to help out. I remember sitting in the chair after I put them both to bed, and my mom and I poured a glass of wine. I said to her, “Is it really this quiet? I mean… when’s the other shoe going to drop?” But it didn’t. She didn’t get out. She didn’t make a peep. She slept all night long.

I woke up the next morning proud–proud of her and of me! I wondered why I ever spend time worrying about these childhood transitions. More often than not, they will reach this new challenge and overcome it with no problem at all. But I am always afraid to slip up on our routine. I am afraid that I will cause some huge, gigantic, unplanned shift in their development and screw it all up. But I don’t. And my kids continue to surprise me.

I recall a conversation with another Mama this year about her son who was in my class. She was crying on the other end of the phone saying how hard it is sometimes, this change he’s going through. As a middle school teacher, I have watched teenagers and their developmental shifts as well. Halfway through the seventh-grade year, like clockwork, many of my students leap from “kid” to teenager. Girls show some attitude, and boys often show a more defiant and “cool” side. Coincidentally, I was able to share this very thought with her–about how our kids go through these changes, and we forget that as quickly as the transitional shift came about, they are usually gone before we know it. And then suddenly we’re looking back wondering why we were so worried that our kids wouldn’t get through it! It’s a beautiful thing, to come across the surprising connections with other Mamas. It’s given me a preview of what to expect.

I know I doubt myself because I want to be the best Mama for my kids. I can’t be perfect, but is it bad to want to be? I want them to be successful in every realm of life. Whether it be sleep, potty training, eating solids, teething, or any of these things. I want them to do everything with ease. But guess what? Sometimes they don’t. And yet they continue to show me that they can do great things– with my help, of course. And together we will continue to creep up to these transitional shifts together and although Mama might be afraid sometimes, I can learn a thing or two by watching my brave and resilient children do their thing!

So rock on, little ones! You are amazing and we Mamas should never doubt you. Or ourselves 🙂

XO,

Linds

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