Something happened tonight, quite out of nowhere, that gave me a bit of a shock. It happened like it was nothing, but, really, the relevance (at least to me) is HUGE.
As my older son is sitting down on the toilet for his final before-bed wee wee, he hands me his sleep dollies, dearest beloved Lamby and Bobo, and says "Mummy, I don't need these anymore. I don't need them for sleeping tonight."
I say "Ok. That sounds fine, what a good boy...off you go then, let's get to bed" and I don't say anything like what I am thinking - 'Really? No Way...? Really? Are You Sure?'. And also thinking - 'Alright then, I'll believe it when I see it...'. I was expecting a call out for Lamby and Bobo within moments of the door closing. As of now, which is 1 hour after he went to bed, there has not been a fuss, and no call, no nothing. Maybe he really meant it this time? There have been episodes in the past where I have periodically asked him if he felt he was ready to sleep without Lamby and Bobo, like a big boy, or if he still needed them for sleep time. He usually said 'Yes, I need them, I want them' and on the one or two occasions where he said 'Ok, no, I'll try without them', within a short time (on the scale of 'within moments' as described earlier) he was hollering saying he needed Lamby and Bobo, where were they??? The last time I had even mentioned anything Lamby and Bobo related to him would have been over a month ago, maybe two. Tonight was a self-administered spontaneous burst of Lamby and Bobo Big Boy freedom.
Which is probably what has made the difference. It was HIS choice to do without. And as I lay him into bed for another cuddle, he asked me "Where's Lamby and Bobo right now?" and I said "They are just put away for now, in mummy's room" and he said OK, just like that, and goodnights I love you's etc and that was it. He IS so grown up!
As these cuddlers have been with him, well, since birth, but in his cognitive loving perception in addition to being in his bed since at least 8 months old, this is big news! The dependency on these objects is not to be taken lightly, any mummy knows. The cuddler toy companies know this also - Noukie's even has an SOS 'hotline' for ordering your child's dearest beloved sleep dolly in an emergency, with a guarantee of manufacture 2 years from a specific date printed on the toy. Dependency cuddlers are a serious business. I have heard of some families that have has to miss flights because the desperately loved dolly was left behind. My little fellow was no different, if you wanted sleep to happen, the dollies were there. Fully encouraged by me, right from birth - security objects are very useful things for a parent, to be something that is always the same when everything else might be different...holiday, moving, starting nursery...it really does emotionally help them, to help control insecurity.
This seems to indicate to me now that, well, I guess he feels secure. No need for security props. Goodbye, emotional crutches. I have waited a long time for this! He is generally a cautious man, even as 3 year olds go - doesn't like change, and anything new is met with tredpidation. I don't know, this really does seem like a big growing up milestone to me. Good for you, my big boy!!! I feel so...so....proud!
His room has also been recently transformed into a Big Boy room, as over Christmas my husband and I switched the spare room furniture for his cotbed and nursery furniture, in anticipation for the new baby. He has a really grown up room now, with real adult furniture, and even a bedside table with a lamp. He loves that lamp!! And the Piece Du Resistance....a CD player that he is allowed to operate, placed within his reach, and he gets to push the buttons himself - he is in heaven. Any chance, he is standing in front of that thing, turning it on to a rousing rendition of "Bob the Builder, Can We Fix It!!!!!!" or other kiddie dance favourites; Farmer in the Dell, A Great Big Ship on the Illy Ally Oh. The number of times I find him dancing naked, with little brother in tow - both dancing, swinging arms about wildly and jumping on the 'new' bed. SO fun, so adorable, (so naughty) - but so sweet I can't tell them off for jumping a bit on the bed. Who cares. It's my husband's old single bed from when HE was in school, I am sure it has suffered many abuses in it's time. Who am I to spoil to dance fever fun!
So maybe the room change has made him feel like he is growing up? I wonder if having his little brother makes him feel more grown up? He takes care of him very nicely, holds his hand to go places, and helps him a lot...Or maybe he just IS growing up?
The Lamby and Bobo freedom moment came, this time, totally from him. And even though it is the first night, I do feel like this is the moment he has decided to let go of that babyhood need. Now I just need the same thing to happen in the wee wee department! As the wee wee shenanigans continues, this does make me think twice; I realize that his 'success' from age 2 to ~3 was purely obedience, as he was too little to decide for himself. Now he does have a strong mind of his own, and has thus decided not to bother (some/all/most/none) of the time. So I will wait, patiently wait, for the Lamby and Bobo moment to come for that, too. The moment he says "Mummy, I don't want wet pants anymore. I am going to do all my wee on the toilet today".
He is growing up fast enough anyway. :)