To free up the nursery for the new baby, we’ve (and be “we” I mean “Tim”) been hard at work getting a new room ready for Alexander. Tim had grand plans for the Big Boy Room, centered around getting his dad’s old electric train set out of storage and building a track to circle the room. The more he contemplated the idea, the more elaborate his plan became: He’d cut holes in either side of the closet so the train could travel through the closet like a tunnel; We’d hire our friend Lisa (who painted the nursery and the playroom) to paint landscapes for the train to travel through; He’d build a bed frame shaped like a train so Alexander could sleep in a train. I thought it all sounded like a lot of work, but he was so excited about it that I was happy to sit back and let him bring his creative genius to fruition.
Tim eventually abandoned the train-shaped bed frame idea after watching our son’s proclivity toward climbing and falling and generally doing all the dangerous things two-year-olds do. Better not to surround the toddler’s bed with hard surfaces for him to hurt himself on. (I wasn’t super disappointed that I wouldn’t have to struggle to change sheets inside some crazy train-bed, either.)
But the rest of the ideas stuck, and shortly after Christmas we set the wheels in motion for Operation: Big Boy Room. When we initially met with Lisa to discuss our ideas, we told her we’d like to cover all our boy-centric bases — Dinosaurs, Construction Equipment, Space, and probably some jungle animals since he loved the ones in his nursery so much. The great thing about working with Lisa is that we know we can throw a vague idea at her and she’ll turn it into something amazing. She spent four days in that room, up on a ladder with her paints and brushes, and created something better than we ever could have come up with on our own.
Once Lisa was finished, Tim spent every evening for a week, and the better part of two weekends, designing, building, and installing the train track. He built the shelf on which the track sits out of wood, plastered over the seams, and painted the whole thing the base wall color so it looks like a natural part of the room.
He also did some fancy electrical work to enable Alexander to turn the train off and on from the comfort of his bed, and connected all the controls to the wall switch to enable us to quietly reach inside the door and turn everything off after baby bedtime.
Meanwhile, I was hard at work, too. LOL J/K No I wasn’t. I clicked around the internet until I found some fun sheets at a reasonable price, and entertained Alexander in the evenings while Tim built the track. I did much of this from the comfort of the couch, with the exception of the times Alexander demanded “Want Mommy play on the flo-or!” (It’s adorable the way he makes “floor” into a two-syllable word, as if he thinks he needs to pronounce each O separately.)
Tim was determined to keep the whole project a secret from Alexander, so whenever Alexander asked what Daddy was doing, I offered a vague, “Daddy’s working in the Big Boy Room” response, which seemed to satisfy him. He didn’t realize that he was the Big Boy for whom the room was intended.
This past Saturday morning, Tim worked his tail off to get the final pieces in place before Alexander’s nap time. By mid-afternoon, Tim and Alexander were napping comfortably in the master bedroom, and I pried myself off the couch to move Alexander’s clothes, toys, and stuffed animals (he calls them his “friends”) from the nursery to the Big Boy Room. By the time the boys woke up, everything was ready for The Big Reveal.
Tim took Alexander into the nursery for a post-nap diaper change, and expressed shock at the room’s relative emptiness. “Where are your toys, Alexander? Where’s your dresser? Where are your friends? Where do you think they all went?” Together they searched high and low, checking the playroom, the bathroom, and the laundry room before finally arriving at the door to the Big Boy Room. They opened the door and saw this:
Naturally, Alexander immediately ran to the shelves that now housed his toys and bedtime books, zooming right past the cool monkey growth chart and failing to notice all the room’s best features.
“Alexander, look up there,” Tim suggested, directing Alexander’s attention to the top of the walls. “Daddy’s train?” Alexander asked, his interest piqued. “No, that’s Alexander‘s train.” Now Alexander was really intrigued.
Tim showed him around the room, and encouraged him to climb up on the bed and push the buttons on the steering wheel. Alexander eventually pushed the correct button, and the train sprung to life, racing around the top of the room while Alexander looked on in awe. “Look at it go! Goin’ in the tunnel? My train!”
And with that, Alexander was completely in love with his new big boy room. He spent most of the rest of Saturday in there — “Want to turn the train on!” — as well as most of the day Sunday and today.
He’s tried to go down the hall toward the nursery a couple of times out of habit, but for the most part, when we tell him it’s time to get dressed or change his diaper or get ready for bed, he exclaims with glee, “In the Big Boy Room!”
Transitioning him from the crib to the new bed has been a lot easier than I expected. He went down without too much fuss at bedtime Saturday night, but I fretted that he’d wake up in the night, see his unfamiliar surroundings, and cry for us to come and get him. It’s only been 2 nights, but this hasn’t been a problem at all.
He has fallen out of the bed both nights (just once/night), which was understandably a little upsetting for him. The first time he fell, I heard a thump over the monitor closely followed by cries for “Mooommmmyyyyyy!” and rushed down the hall to check on him. As soon as I opened the door, he announced “I okay, Mommy! I all done sleeping! I already sleep good!” “It’s 2am,” I told him as I helped him get back in bed, “you are not all done sleeping.” This news was more distressing to him than falling out of bed had been, but I eventually convinced him to go back to sleep. The second night’s tumble caused a few more tears, but once I settled him back down he slept soundly the rest of the night. Once he figures out how to stay away from the edge of the bed, I think we’ll be home free.