How to Build a Bond with a Bed

Asher’s New Bed

Some of my earliest memories in life are from around age 5, give or take. All of them revolve around an experience with one of my parents.

One random one that never seems to go away is lying on the living room floor watching TV with my dad. We’re both reclined with our legs out, and one hand propping our head up with our elbow on the floor. My dad is holding a pickle wrapped in a paper towel and we’re trading bites as some sports game is playing on the TV.

What makes that significant is that I really don’t like pickles at all. Maybe I did then, I’m not sure. But I was spending time with my dad and really enjoying it regardless of whether I liked the pickle or not.

Lately when I’m with Asher I have that thought in the back of my mind. At 5-years-old I’m he’s sure making a few memories that will last awhile. It leaves me with this wonder of whether what we’re doing right now will be a memory of his in 30 years.

Transitions

When Azilee outgrew her bassinet we did a bed swap across the kids. She got Abel’s crib, Abel got Asher’s toddler bed, and Asher started sleeping on the futon in the guest room. We thought it would be temporary…

The plan was to buy a “big boy” bed once we were in the new home. Then, we didn’t move as soon as we thought. He was fine on the futon, so it wasn’t a big deal. But once we did move we sold the futon in the process.

Getting settled in the new home took awhile and Asher has been sleeping on a pretty crappy crib mattress on the floor. It’s a new mattress, but it came with Abel’s crib for free. The crib was a little over $100, so you can imagine the quality of the mattress.

As parents we’ve felt kinda bad having our kid sleeping on the floor for the last couple months only because we haven’t taken the step of buying a bed. I keep wondering, is Asher going to remember that time we made him sleep on the floor for 2 months in 3 different houses? Did we scar him? But being an excited and happy-go-lucky kindergartner he doesn’t seem to mind.

Last week was the big day. The bed and mattress arrived thanks to Wal-Mart, Amazon, and UPS.

The mattress came a couple days after the bed, so I didn’t feel a rush to put it together, though Asher was constantly asking me to. But the best part was that he desperately wanted to help.

The Project

Asher loves projects. His mind seems to go all over the place and he has a hard time focusing, but when you put him in front of a bag of Legos and an instruction booklet he will be there for hours. If you sit on the floor and do it with him you start to get hugs and kisses and words of affirmation. My favorite is, “Dad, you’re the best kid.” I think Legos is his love language.

Putting the bed together was like a giant Lego set, and I was excited to build it with my son.

I’ve put together a lot of furniture in my day (thanks Ikea…), and I’ve screwed things up several times. With a project of this size I didn’t want to have to take things apart and rebuild because I missed or misread the instructions. We went slow, but Asher kept telling me all the things that were coming as he read ahead in the instruction booklet. Each new step brought a new level of excitement.

We leaned all the pieces against the wall which had letters on them indicating which they were in the instructions. Then the bag screws had compartments individually labeled with a name. This couldn’t have been more perfect for a 5-year-old. As we went step-by-step Asher was able to get the right piece and screw based on the letters.

I let him do a couple of the screws, which obviously lengthened the building process. But it certainly made it more fun! Kids don’t build furniture with a beer and a TV show on in the background like most of us adults. They are all-in and incredibly enthusiastic. So to have the opportunity to use the screwdriver meant the world to my little guy.

After a minute or two of working on the screw Asher told me it was too hard and that I should finish instead. I encouraged him that he was doing great and needed to keep working at it. “Look at how far you’ve screwed it in! You’re almost there!”

Reaching the end was quite the accomplishment, but he wanted his bed built ASAP. So he asked if I could do the rest so it would go faster.

It was getting late by the time we got the legs built and some of the support pieces in place. I have to admit I was surprised Asher was willing to stop in the middle. But he knew we’d get to finish the next day. I promised we would finish before bed tomorrow and we could put his toddler mattress on it until the big mattress arrived in a couple days.

Excitement in the Experience

The next day the big mattress (a twin size) arrived 3 days ahead of schedule! We spent a large chunk of our day putting the remaining pieces together with Asher doing a few more screws, retrieving the items needed, and keeping us on course with the instructions.

Part of me wishes adults, including myself, could show excitement and enthusiasm like Asher when he finally got to enjoy the finished product. The bed, the mattress, the Batman pillowcase, and Batman sheets/comforter all got individual praise from him.

I had to ask myself if I have ever been that grateful for anything in my life.

These are the memories I hope Asher will have as an adult. He can look back and remember the bond he and his dad built while putting together his first “big boy” bed.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether he does or not, I know I will remember tackling this project with Asher. Getting on his level to do Legos is always fun, but having him work with me on what would typically be an “adult” task was a blast. He made the whole process way more enjoyable.

My goal as a dad right now is to create experiences like these to build connection with my kids. It’s time spent together like this that knits our hearts together as father and son, and hopefully we built something he’ll remember for a lifetime. Maybe this bed could be Asher’s pickle memory.

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