the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Only because the shipping was free

Recently I have received many concerned emails from people who do not understand why Leta was, up until a week ago, still sleeping in a crib. I think I’ve covered this maybe once or sixty times, but I am very busy being lazy, and generally if you want to know why anything is the way it is, I’ll get around to answering you once I have recovered from all this blinking I have to do.

I knew that transitioning Leta from a crib into a regular bed was going to be intense, and I have put it off because she didn’t seem to care that she was still sleeping behind bars. Not once has she ever tried to climb out of the crib, and yes, I am fully aware of how lucky we are because of that. My sister’s twin boys started climbing out of their cribs when they were 10 months old, would walk into the kitchen in the middle of the night and throw skillets down the stairs to the basement. Because they liked the way it sounded. To survive life she had to chain them to a radiator at night. And whip them with long slabs of raw beef.

Leta just hasn’t ever been physical that way, hasn’t ever understood the need to go exploring like that when all she has to do is repeat a few annoying sounds for several minutes to summon her personal chauffeur. She isn’t a kid who climbs dressers or scales kitchen counters or jumps from the top of the piano. And so there really wasn’t any danger in leaving her in a crib for as long as we did. In fact, I think she would have very much liked to live inside of it if we would occasionally stop by and refill her sippy cup.

I was also loath to buy any of the toddler beds that I have seen in stores around here, beds with large butterfly-shaped headboards or frames stenciled with flying unicorns. There is a dearth of stores that sell both good-looking and affordable furniture in Salt Lake, and it wasn’t until I was browsing a few of my favorite interior design websites a few weeks ago that a brick fell out of the sky and knocked me awake. I realized I could find what I want online and have it shipped to my house. Also? Did you know? You can buy a loaf of bread THAT IS ALREADY SLICED?

So I ordered this toddler bed online (free shipping!) and within seven days someone had dropped it off on our porch:

We didn’t hear the delivery guy knock, and as we were walking out of the house to run a few errands we noticed a large box leaning up against the side of the house. Jon turned to Leta and asked in a hyper, animated voice if she had any! idea! (!!) what this was because Plan A was to convince her that the toddler bed was none other than Jesus Christ. She acted completely uninterested, and as she rolled her eyes into the back of her head she answered, “Um, Dad? It looks like a box.” Like, whatever. And then she got in the car and drove off to college and now she doesn’t call me anymore.

Plan B: Start drinking at noon.

The following morning we took down the crib, and Jon assembled the new bed. I thought I was going to have more emotion around this milestone, but it just didn’t happen. I don’t miss Baby Leta, although I do have many great memories of her, that little screaming frog who screamed a lot every day with the screaming. I’m just really in love with Toddler Leta, and maybe I’m too enthusiastic about what’s happening right now to be sad about the fact that so much has already passed. Maybe it’s because Plan A finally worked, and she got so excited about the new bed — the BIG! NEW! BED! LOOK AT THAT BIG NEW BED! — I was really happy to see the crib go.

When I got her ready for her nap that afternoon, I talked to her about what was happening, that she was going to sleep in this new bed, that it was pretty much just like her other one, except it was a little bit closer to the floor. Her eyes got really big and she said, “THIS IS GOING TO BE SO FUN!” Oh, Leta, I know. Wait until I introduce you to tequila.

And then, the struggle I expected never happened. There has been no crying or getting out of the bed in the middle of the night. None of it. Occasionally she will wake up and not know where she is, and her response to this is to scream out, “WIPE MY NOSE!” Which means, please come show your face, woman. It’s not exactly an I love you, you are my everything, I recognize all that you have sacrificed to give me this life, but it’s close enough.

  • mommyinjapan

    2007/02/10 at 4:56 am

    Our oldest transitioned to her toddler bed with no problems but our second gave us such a hard time that we had to put her back in a playpen (the crib was being used for baby #3). After a couple months we tried letting her sleep on her bed again and she did fine. Now our third girl sleeps in the same room with them (because #4 came along) and she stays in her bed because she thinks that’s what you’re supposed to do because her sisters do it.

    During the summer we started to have a hard time with them waking up too early because it was light out so we bought the biggest digital clock we could find and told them they couldn’t come out of their room (except to go to the bathroom) or make a sound until 8:00am. It works great. Even the third one who is 2-1/2 knows how to wait for the clock to turn to 8:00am. We do the same thing with their naptime. They can get up when the clock turns to 4:00pm.

    I love the bed that you bought but I can’t imagine that the bedding that was pictured would match with her room or your house. I hope you show us pictures once everything is arranged as you like it!!

  • paula

    2007/02/10 at 1:35 am

    That is a very cute bed.

    I bought a toddler bed for my two kids, and they loved them.

    It’s always a relief when something you’ve worried about turns out to be no big deal. Think of all the time we waste worrying about issues that never materialize.

  • Chap

    2007/02/09 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks very much for the tip and the link! We just had a horrible trip to Nebraska Furniture Mart, where the one bunk bed that didn’t come encrusted with ground glass and fitted with circular saw blade headboards was about twice the monthly rent of our place in college.

    I mean, we lived in a *hole*, but STILL.

    The only thing forcing us to put our young’un out of the crib is Kid Number Two, who needs something to sleep in when she shows up to visit. First kid’s not even two years old and already three feet tall–will he be able to fit in the stylish toddler bed when he’s six?


  • slcsuz

    2007/02/09 at 8:33 pm

    So now I’m stressed to find out that people think it is inhumane to leave your child in a crib until they are three!! My daughter is a little over 2 and a half and as long as she loves her bed and fits in her bed I thought I would let her stay in her bed! I think Leta is the perfect age to get her a little bed and I’m so happy that she likes it, gives me hope for when I make the transition!


  • kevin

    2007/02/09 at 7:32 pm

    A very smooth design. It looks like it is almost… adjustable. Like you can slide it to make it smaller/bigger. Of course that doesn’t make any sense unless they made some magical mattress that could change size… but still awesome. And free shipping? Fantastic.

    We’re loving it at BabyBought.

  • shoppista

    2007/02/09 at 4:55 pm

    That’s one slick-looking toddler bed. I’m glad the transition went smoothly.

  • Cristina

    2007/02/09 at 4:17 pm

    So now all you need to complete the bed is Elmo sheets! That’s an awesome milestone for you guys, congrats!

  • Dadontrainingwheels

    2007/02/09 at 3:37 pm

    Want to trade kids? Just for a while. We can swap back after we see how the grandkids turn out.
    Our daughter climbed out of her crib like a monkey.
    We got her a toddler bed.
    She threw herself out of it, like a demented seal.
    Thank god for bunjee cords — they still let the blood flow without those nasty rope burns.

  • claudia fletcher

    2007/02/09 at 2:29 pm

    And why isn’t my name taking you to my blog like everyone elses?

  • claudia fletcher

    2007/02/09 at 2:27 pm

    I know I’ve never commented here before, though I read every day. This comment has NOTHING to do with this post, but I was too lazy to find a place to put it and I wanted yout o see it.

    I went to see “Catch and Release” today and spent the whole movie looking at Kevin Smith and thinking, “That’s GEORGE!!!!!”

    Don’t you think they look simliar!!.jpg

  • Stephanie

    2007/02/09 at 1:58 pm

    No one should care how long a kid sleeps in a crib, unless the kid is, like, 35 or something.

  • Doppelganger

    2007/02/09 at 1:59 pm

    Who ARE these people with the letters and the unsolicited opinions and all the free time? I can relate, though. My little guy isn’t even two yet, and people are already asking when we’re moving him to a “real” bed. I’m not in a rush, either, for pretty much the same reasons you cited. My guy isn’t a climber, but he IS a messer-upper and a get-into-everything-er and a pull-the-outlet-cover-off-and-stick-in-his-finger-er. The thought of letting him roam freely around his room while unattended? Terrifies me. And let me add that the fact that Leta took to her new bed so well means that, obviously, you know her better than anyone and you knew when she was ready. Duh.

    I love the bed you picked. I may just order it and have it waiting on standby in the basement till we’re ready to move Sam into it… when he’s six or so.

  • Stephanie

    2007/02/09 at 1:56 pm

    No one should care how long a kid sleeps in a crib, unless the kid is, like, 35 or something.

  • Cheryl

    2007/02/09 at 1:53 pm

    RachelMeRee said at 11:28PM, 02.08.2007:

    ‘The Toddler Bed: How Awesome Will It Be?’

    Hee hee hee hee hee! I love it!

  • jessiker

    2007/02/09 at 1:06 pm

    That was so, so, sweet! And what a cute bed! I love it! Yay for Leta!
    (and also, why why would anyone *care* that she was “still” in a crib? Weird.)

  • The Bold Soul

    2007/02/09 at 1:44 pm

    So maybe the potty training is going slowly but you get the compensation of having NO struggle over moving into the “big girl bed” — everything balances out in life. Way to go, Leta!

  • SerafinSigh

    2007/02/09 at 12:12 pm

    That was a brilliant and hilarious post! Not that they all aren’t, but that one in particular was fabulous.

    Happy New-Toddler-Bed Day to Leta!

  • J P

    2007/02/09 at 11:40 am

    My oldest was just about 3 when she switched from crib to bed. I didn’t know there was a “magic” age for ending all crib sleeping! It’s a good things there are all those perfect mothers/parents out there to tell us how wrong we were!

    Congrats on the smooth transition!

  • ozma

    2007/02/09 at 11:20 am

    Heather, does anyone give you PROPS for anything? Or do they just write you to harass you? There are so many ways in which you are super awesome in the Mrs. Cleaver-Dr. Spock way moms are supposed to be and yet you never seem to get the credit for that.

    I’m saying this because for over a year now my kid has been sleeping–not just in a toddler bed, but in a full size bed! Oooooh. You are thinking: WHAT A MOM.

    Except. We sleep in it with her. Shit. How do you do that? How do you get your kid to sleep all night? In a bed? By herself? You’ve told us a lot about Leta and I remember some of the stories but somehow I never quite picked up on the tip I need for that parenting milestone.

  • cate

    2007/02/09 at 11:10 am


    Time for a baby brother!!

  • Shalini

    2007/02/09 at 11:05 am

    Also.. did the bedding like in the picture come with the bed? or did you have to get Dora sheets.. cause it looks like Leta likes Dora the Explorer… or Elmo sheets…

    Ok so post where the bed is from, please… I totally want to order it too 🙂

  • Head Squawker Michele

    2007/02/09 at 10:54 am

    I think you rock as a mother … and that’s a great bed. Keep up the excellent work.

  • stephanie

    2007/02/09 at 10:29 am

    that is a great bed, it is not horrible and plastic, and nor does it look like it belongs in the room of an 80 year old woman.

    i give you all gold stars, and scratch and sniff stickers. thanks for the lulz.

  • annie m

    2007/02/09 at 10:25 am

    We had the same experience. I had put it off thinking we’d be up all night every night for weeks. Nope! If all parenting could be so unexpectedly easy!

  • Casa Pinka

    2007/02/09 at 10:22 am

    My twelve year old still loves his crib (but he sleeps curled up.) I don’t understand what the BFD is.

  • Turbomomma

    2007/02/09 at 10:16 am

    Okay, I admit it. I wondered why Leta was still in a crib. But it wasn’t a judgment thing. It was a how-the-hell-do-you-manage-to-keep-her-in-there thing. As the mom of two boys (well, there actually grown men, but anyway), I’ve learned not to think those judgmental thoughts. Much.

    Glad the transition went so well. You are very lucky!

  • Prozac-Mommy

    2007/02/09 at 10:04 am

    Oh How I Envy You! You Have No Idea!!!

    First, I envy you ‘because’ your daughter slept in a crib this long! Oh how I miss those days! Legal confinment- why push things along?

    This time last year is when she started to climb out of her crib. After a couple close calls…head first…the bed was purchased. (ours is really plan..white hard plastic (like a little tykes item). At first it was a great thing…it was new!! A couple months into it…we had a serious regression.

    Not only does she now hate her bed, she’d rather sleep on the floor. If I knew that’s what she wanted I would have spent the cash on MYSELF.

    The bed has now become the piece of furniture that holds all toys “fluffy.”

    I still have reason to be envious…my child finds her way to our bedroom each night. If we take her back to her room, she comes back and climbs under our bed- to sleep.

    If your nightly news reports on a family that forced their child to sleep under their bed….that’s us getting the shaft.

  • bettymcpettypants

    2007/02/09 at 9:49 am

    You’re kidding about the bread that comes already sliced, right? I mean, that’s just ridiculous.

  • dealwithit

    2007/02/09 at 9:54 am

    Yes, lucky indeed. But very wise to run with it! Why change something if it isn’t broken?

    Our twin girls were/are climbers and as soon as that happened we put crib tents on their cribs to keep them contained. They loved it and we were able to postpone the transition from h*ll for solid year. They are now 4 1/2 and still don’t know how to regularly stay in bed.

    We are now at a decision point on what to do with their 21m old brother who is also a climber… crib tent or big boy bed? I’m thinking the easy button is looking rather promising.

  • Heather

    2007/02/09 at 9:30 am

    I can’t believe you are getting flack for not putting Leta in a big girl bed! Although, I guess I can after seeing some other critiques of your parenting on this site!

    As for my kids, only my first was out of his crib before three, and that was because his little sister was going to be here about the time he turned three, and we weren’t going to buy another crib! None of my kids climbed out of their crib, so I left them there as long as possible.

    Your toddler bed is adorable. My kids all just got regular twin beds on box springs set on the floor of the bedroom. I’m too cheap to buy a toddler bed and then another bed when they get bigger!

    My youngest will be three in March, and she’s still in her crib. We have a bed in the basement for her, but have been too lazy to bring it upstairs. When she finally falls on the floor begging us to bring it up to her room, we’ll probably do it. We proabbaly wouldn’t even have it at all excpet that my husband’s grandmother was getting rid of one of her beds from her house.

    I say, unless your kid is constantly climbing out of their crib, leave them there as long as possible. That’s that much longer that they can’t get up and visit you in the middle of the night or climb out and take every piece of clothing out of their drawer oh so quietly when they are supposed to be taking a nap.

    Leta’s bed is awesome, by the way!

  • soccer mom in denial

    2007/02/09 at 9:08 am

    Congratulations to everyone on a smooth transition. Such a big step!

    I cannot believe the people that give you and others grief for what kids can or cannot do. My twin boys were in their cribs until 3 years old (blessedly more like Leta than your nephews in that department) and I would’ve decked anyone who made a crack at me about that. My 34-month-old girl is staying put in her crib for now.

  • Skeezeroo

    2007/02/09 at 9:03 am

    Let me just say, I’m JEALOUS. Green with envy. When we transitioned Hootie to the big girl bed, I fully expected the situation you describe happening with Leta. She’d love it. It’d be so exciting! She could be a BIG GIRL and all.
    She SOBBED, at the loss of the crib. She begged me to put it back up for her. She didn’t LIKE the new bed, she liked the OLD BED JUST FINE, thank you (and I’m quoting).
    She’s over it now, she sleeps in it fine now (though she’d still much prefer to sleep with/on me, but that’s neither here nor there). Luckily, she also never has gotten up in the night to roam the house. She will squawk in her bed, calling for me also. And gets chauffeured to the couch in the morning, to be given her sippy full of soy milk, and have Sesame Street magically appear on the TV.

  • Tara

    2007/02/09 at 9:02 am

    Cool bed! Free shipping rocks the hizzy.

    I have to admit, I have never wondered why Leta was still in a crib. I assumed it was because she was happy there. And as my very commonsensical pediatrician has told us, we should use the crib for AS LONG AS WE CAN.

    My son’s almost 2, and so far, he hasn’t tried to climb out of the crib, despite his amazing climbing skills on all other pieces of furniture. As far as I’m concerned, he’s not getting a bed until he starts base-jumping off the crib, or until he outgrows it.

  • sasha

    2007/02/09 at 8:54 am

    I. Am. So. Jealous.

    Transitioning from our bed to crib, then crib to their own beds has been a hideous journey with both of our boys. I pretty much sleep in the top bunk with my five-year-old, while my husband takes the 2 1/2-year-old to our bed. If I manage to regain consciousness (ha!) I can occasionally transfer the little one back to his bottom bunk. Where he stays for two or three hours before shrieking himself awake and then climbing back into our bed.

    But they’ll be sleeping in their own beds sometime before they’re 18, right?

  • lisatee

    2007/02/09 at 8:52 am

    i am continually amazed that people have time to email you about your parenting skills – obviously they aren’t parents themselves because, really, if they really WERE parents they’d be spending their free time repairing pop-up books or wiping juice off the kitchen wall like i do.

    that being said, you are mind-bogglingly patient and gracious with the loonies out there.

  • Shalini

    2007/02/09 at 8:49 am

    Where is that bed from!! I love it.. I have to order one before we move.. and I love it, so simple and clean lines!!! Please tell 🙂

  • Carol

    2007/02/09 at 8:26 am

    This should be a lesson to all of your haters – See how EASY things are when children are actually ready for them?

    Happy Big Girl Bed Milestone, Armstrongs!

  • zhanae

    2007/02/09 at 8:34 am

    heather, what interior design sites do you like? i love decor8, and i’m always looking for more good ones.

  • letajoy

    2007/02/09 at 8:17 am

    We still have our 31 month old still in her crib also. Everyone I know has had HORRIBLE transitions to toddler beds and I see NO REASON to inflict that upon myself. She has never tried to climb out, she loves her bed and I love her in it, thankyouverymuch. Congrats on the smooth transition, I hope it continues.

  • deejay

    2007/02/09 at 7:55 am

    Now that I think about it…I sleep in a brass bed with a headboard made of brass poles and a footboard made of…brass poles. So, after all these years, I guess I’m still sleeping in a half-crib. Yikes! Love you Dooce family. You are the knees of the bees!!!

  • Lisa

    2007/02/09 at 7:48 am

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a couple weeks now so I thought I’d post and let you know that so I’m not a blog creeper. I love your blog. Its beyond hilarious but also very very honest. Keep it up! Thanks!

  • dragonfly183

    2007/02/09 at 7:48 am

    your really funny. I doubt if my little post will be noticed among your 198 commenter’s, but I thought i would anyway.

  • southerngirl

    2007/02/09 at 7:39 am


  • SydneyDawn

    2007/02/09 at 7:30 am

    Mine started climbing out entirely too early. So I got a wonderful crib tent to put over the top to keep him in. Eventually, I converted his crib to a toddler bed, but he didn’t stay in that either. Sadly, I didn’t have a radiator.

    Go Leta with the NEW BIG GIRL BED!

  • Lisa B.

    2007/02/09 at 7:23 am

    I kept my little one in his crib until he climbed out (at 26 mos). I realized that I was lucky I got that much time, especially with a boy – so you are VERY lucky. But as soon as he was tall enough to climb out he did. And yes, it was a scary to wake up to him knocking on our bedroom door! Gret bed!

  • schloobie

    2007/02/09 at 7:14 am

    Yup, we waited till well into year 2 and expected a HUGE fight. He loved his new bed and it was the easiest thing in the world. Go figure.

  • Nancy

    2007/02/09 at 7:18 am

    Cool bed, complete with staging area for future Elmo dramas!

    Congrats on the smooth transition!

  • aislynnsmom

    2007/02/09 at 6:31 am

    I rocked my daughter in a rocker until she was 3 years old, didn’t put her into a toddler bed until she was 3 1/2 years old and she wet the bed until she was 8, but only sporadically. This year I’ve introduced her to alcohol……of course tequila.

    I’ve convinced I’ll be in hell with every other mother who waited so long to put their “baby” in a bed. Ah well, we’ll drink patron and live it up.

  • cindy

    2007/02/09 at 6:15 am

    what a great bed! it’s beautiful. you may want to keep leta in it until she goes away to college, even if she’ll have to always sleep in the fetal position to fit in it. My 3 1/2 yr old stayed in her crib & loved it, never tried to climb the bars & flail her little body to freedom & I loved it. she was stuck until i decided she needed to get out & stretch her legs. She’ll be 4 this April & would probably still be behind bars except her baby sister born last March seemed to need it. Oh well…you’re a superb mom.
    And i’m sure you’ll introduce only the topshelf tequilas to Leta.

  • hopefulloser

    2007/02/09 at 5:57 am

    Hey M to the D O Double G,
    That looks like a Bobby Trendy bed. good night sweet nichole.

1 2 3 5

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

read more