xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: The blue chair

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The blue chair

When Child 1 was born, his first three weeks were spent in a bassinet at the foot of our bed. At around 3 weeks, a co-worker of hubs gave us a crib which we put in his room. I hadn't been sleeping well with the kid in the room with us (I would wake in a panic to every "meh" and "wuh") so we decided to give the crib in his room a try. The first night we put him in there he (and therefore I) slept for about 5 hours straight.

There was no going back to the bassinet in the room.

This meant we were moving all of his accessories into his room and out of ours, and it also meant that I would need a chair for the middle of the night feedings. So, I went out to Ikea (of course) and bought the chair you see pictured. I picked this model because it had a removable cover that I could easily take off and wash. I've never once done that, in the 10 years we've had this chair. Yeah, I know: ew.

So, I sat in this chair during our middle of the night feedings, and then when our feedings stopped, I sat in this chair and hummed to him before I put him down. And I would sit in this chair and hold him when he would wake up during the night, and hubs would sit in the chair when he read to him through the bars of his crib.

Years went by and we needed the crib for Child 2, so we got Child 1 a real bed and moved the crib into the "baby's" room. But he didn't take well to the transition, and I was a pregnant monster and didn't feel like dealing with it, so every night one of us would have to lie down with him so he would go to sleep.

Child 2 was born and our bad bedtime habits with Child 1 continued; somebody was still having to lie down with him at night for him to go to sleep. I figured we'd better put a stop to that, post haste, so I read an article that said we should sit in a chair in his room, and then every night we should move the chair closer and closer to the door to get him used to the idea of him being alone in the room.

That didn't really work, though, because once we got to the point where the chair was in the hallway, he would get up and come looking for us... constantly. So, out of desperation, the chair was moved back into his room and the rule was made that unless he was sick or something really horrible was going on nobody would lie down with him, but somebody would "sit in the chair."

And so we did. One of us would sit in the chair every night until he fell asleep. This went on for years. I started to really despise that goddamn chair; I was a prisoner to it every single night. And god forbid you should get up and try to creep out of the room before he was completely asleep, because he would bolt right up like a goddamn.... thing... that bolts..... up.... and you'd have to sit back down and start the whole process all over again.

I'm serious: It was years of this. Until maybe last year some time, when I said "this is ridiculous. I HATE this chair!" and became determined to get him to be able to go to bed, in his own bed, without anybody else in the room.

I don't even know how long it took but it eventually worked. Oh, yes! Melatonin! HA HA! Melatonin saved the day, and ultimately he was going to bed by himself. The chair was pushed back to the spot where it sat when he was a baby, but it became a resting spot for books and laundry and nobody actually sat in it. Occasionally, at bedtime, he would wander out and ask if somebody would "please sit in the chair," but we had to say no, because that was the new rule.

A few months ago, he asked to have a desk in his room, so once again I went out to Ikea and got him something (related). With the new desk, though, there wasn't any room for the blue chair except right in front of his closet door. So, I asked him if we could take the chair out of his room. "But if the chair isn't in my room, then nobody will ever be able to sit in it," he said.

"Yeah, that's what that means," I said. He was already kind of struggling with the concept of "getting older," so I didn't want to push it. "How about we leave the chair where it is until your 10th birthday, and then we'll take it out of here?" He agreed, and so the chair sat in front of his closet door, holding laundry and books and markers and drawing of BART stations, while I waited for his birthday to come and go.

Yesterday I took the chair out of his room while he was at school. I wasn't sure how he was going to react when he came home and saw that it wasn't there. This chair was the symbol of his babyhood; a symbol of comfort and care and security and not being alone in his room when he was afraid to be, no matter what age. We had discussed it, and he knew it was coming, but still... you never know how it's actually going to go.

When we got home from school, the chair was sitting in the front room (because I have no idea what I'm going to do with it now. Apparently I didn't completely think this one through) and I pointed it out to him. "Look! There's your blue chair. What do you think?"

He wasn't necessarily happy but he also wasn't unhappy; I couldn't really tell. "But... I wanted something awesome," he said. I wasn't sure what he meant, but that was all the info he would give me, and he went off to his room. Once in there, he discovered the two packs of markers that I had bought at Target earlier in the day, and he came out with them, very excited. "Look!! Something awesome!!!" he exclaimed and ran back into his room.

And that was the end of the blue chair.