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Baby's Big Triumph: Crib-to-Bed

There are certain moments of my first years as a mom that stand out with freeze-frame clarity. Like the time my then lumpish 2-month-old, Henry, rolled over from his tummy to his back  -- a feat I found so impressive I actually brought him into work the next day so my colleagues could watch. (So much for my carefully cultivated professional cool.) Or the summer day eight months later when Henry pointed a pudgy finger to the sky and said "Kite!" when he saw one flying in our backyard. I swear I can still hear this first squeaky word hanging in the air.

Your baby book's "Memorable Moments" page may start out blank, but those "firsts" rack up fast. Even when you know to expect them, milestones can surprise, thrill, or sometimes even unnerve you. Here, how your baby reaches this moment, and what you might experience when she does.

The move to a big bed
(18 months to 2½ years)
What's left after you can sit up, stand, crawl, and walk? Climbing! The four walls of a crib become oh-so-confining and the world beyond their borders beckons. There comes a day when most toddlers start scrambling over the side, and this skill necessitates, for safety reasons, a move out of the crib. (You don't want to risk an accidental fall.) Some toddlers never try it. But other reasons for making this transition often include an impending new baby (and the need to reclaim the crib) or a child's sudden refusal to sleep in a "baby bed."

What you're feeling: Patti and Larry Anderson of Cincinnati decided it was time for a bed the day their 20-month-old son, Joe, managed to climb out of his crib. "We immediately converted it into a toddler bed, but he just grabbed his blankie and his bear and climbed into the twin bed that was already in his room. He completely bypassed the toddler-bed stage, and that was depressing!" she says.

Paula Spencer is a contributing editor at Parenting and a mom of four.

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