And then I took the gift cards that I received from the parents at my preschool after saving them for the perfect treat for myself and put them all towards a futon mattress for Levi’s new bunk bed. Last year, I bought myself some nice bras, which was a special treat and very, well, uplifting. But we needed a futon mattress for the new bunk bed. Twin on top, fold out full futon on the bottom. It’s a piece of junk, really. I certainly wasn’t expecting Ethan Allen quality for $182.00, but it looks cool and provides sleeping options for him and for guests. And if he decides he hates it in a year or two, we don’t have to feel like we Kiddie Soccered* our money.
Kiddie Soccer: Transitive verb. Orig. Latin. Kiddicus Soccerus. To invest non-refundable, non-transferrable money in the name of good parenting for the purpose of enhancing a child’s development and facilitating early admission to the Ivy League university of your choosing to learn that opening an account for your child’s inevitable, out of network therapy would have been a far better use of funds.
First, we bought a bunk bed for Asher after months of begging and after we were satisfied that he wouldn’t change his mind in a week’s time. Even then, we chose to buy a used bunk bed. A friend’s son decided that he had outgrown his bunk bed once he started bringing home young ladies who had something else in mind when he asked them if they preferred to be on top. Asher didn’t care that it was used or that it didn’t match his furniture. He was on top of the world in his bunk bed.
Levi, however, was crestfallen – his words having watched his fair share of Word Girl. He wanted a bunk bed, too. Two bunk beds for two kids seemed difficult to justify – at first. But then we imagined all the sleepovers and out of town guests and foreign exchange students from Brazil whose greatest pleasure it would be to sleep in a bunk bed with our kids.
When I found this $182 piece of metal, I was instantly transported to the swing set of my youth. The structure sat firmly in ground – mostly – bar one leg that rose from the earth with every swing pump backwards. We always figured the three other legs were secure enough to keep us all swinging without catastrophe, so we went higher and higher not only to touch the clouds with our feet but to watch the leg of the swing set surface in satisfying pump synchronization.
This bunk bed shifted with every step up the ladder and yet was completely sturdy. I didn’t anticipate that its motion would terrify our 7-year-old. Nor did I consider the fact that there was no opening at the top of the ladder to be a deterrent. But once Levi got to the top and realized he’d have to launch himself a few inches higher to clear the rail, he climbed right back down-slowly, nervously, and relieved that he’d never have to take that journey again. For him, that extra effort on top of the perilous ascension was the last straw – like when I finally gave birth to Asher after 33 ½ hours of unmedicated labor only to be told I’d need to push out the placenta. Lucky for everyone in that room, I was too exhausted to hurl that placenta at anyone after I finally pushed that sucker out. The closed rail was Levi’s placenta, metaphorically speaking.
Levi was crestfallen once more. His parents bought him a bunk bed of doom. His disappointment was a dagger in Gabriella’s heart. I told her that he’d get used to it – that one day he’d love it. She was unconvinced. Each night, Levi would go to sleep on the bottom bunk in Asher’s room, and each night she would scour websites for deals on bunk beds. I may have done the same, but I refused to make a move until I was convinced that all hope was lost. I also refused to buy the futon mattress for the bottom bunk just in case.
We placed a 6-foot-tall utility ladder next to his bunk bed – sort of a training ladder. He complained that the rungs of the bunk bed ladder hurt his feet. I tried the ladder myself and found those thin, metal rungs to be absolutely excruciating, so we wrapped each rung in foam padding. Still, he resisted.
And one day, in his own time, he was ready. He climbed up. He climbed down. He refused to be defeated. And while I was making breakfast, he dragged the ladder out of his room all by himself. He had no need for it, anymore. Of course, I recorded his flight up and his landing so that Gabriella could witness his accomplishment. And then I bought him a futon mattress with my gift cards because no matter how uplifting a new bra can be, conquering fear is always an accomplishment worth supporting.