The nightmare of moving twins from cots to beds
Transferring your baby from their cot into a big bed is kind of a big deal.
It’s like one of those milestones such as getting rid of the buggy or highchair, or finally saying goodbye to nappies.
But it’s also one of those milestones that we don’t all look forward to. Me included. I’d have quite happily kept putting my twins in a cot until they were 7, if it meant they couldn’t get up to mischief. Because let’s face it, they’re just like mini cages. And f*ck me, my boys get up to a whole shit load of mischief at any given opportunity.
I knew once they could get out of bed, then all hell would very, very likely break loose. And I wasn’t wrong.
From bitter experience with my eldest, I also knew that once the cot had gone and freedom had shown its face, you could pretty much (definitely) kiss goodbye to any sort of nap time that didn’t involve driving up and down the dual carriageway for an hour. This was not good.
The demise of the nap meant it was time for beds
But my plans were scuppered when they decided to stick two fingers up at napping anyway, so I knew at some point, I’d just have to get on with it and take the sides off.
Then came the nail in the coffin, so to speak. Twin One finally realised he could climb out of his cot bed. I can’t believe he’s taken so long to be honest – considering this is the boy who manages to climb onto window sills, tables, chests of drawers, kitchen work surfaces, basically whatever he bloody fancies.
And not only did he do it once, he spent precisely 54 minutes climbing in and out at least 25 times at bedtime. Then as well as climbing INTO his twin brothers’ cot bed to jump up and down on him, he’d run up and down the landing laughing uncontrollably. He was so proud of himself. (And actually it would have been cute, had I not been solo parenting all week and my patience was wearing RATHER F*CKING THIN.).
I put him back countless times. Just for him to climb out again the second I turned my back. I changed tact and started ignoring him, hoping that without a reaction, he’d get bored and take himself back to bed himself. I wasn’t even worried about him hurting himself, he was a pro at getting in and out safely.
Nobody was impressed with the bedtime antics – except the twins
I even had the four year old telling him off because he was interrupting his story time by making so much noise. None of it worked.
Twin Two was obviously no help whatsoever. He just stood up in his cot bed cheering his brother on like he was within touching distance of an Olympic gold in the 100 metre sprint. You’d have thought he’d have just been jealous he couldn’t do the same. Thank F*CK he can’t!
That was the last thing I wanted. TWO out of control toddlers on the loose in the upstairs of my house. Luckily we have a stair gate on the top of the stairs, so at least the bedtime carnage was limited to the landing and bedrooms. But it was bad enough.
I fully intended to put a stair gate on their bedroom door once the cot sides were off, but I hadn’t anticipated the escapology shit storm happening on that particular night.
I tried bribery of various forms – you know all the important things like no biscuits, no TV, no fun for the next 10 years. None of them worked.
New parenting low to get Twin One to bed
Then I reached (as the Other Half put it when I told him) a ‘new parenting low’. I rang my mum to do my dirty work for me. I have officially lost all control/discipline/influence of my own children.
Granny, of course played along perfectly on speakerphone. Telling him that he wouldn’t be allowed to go to her house again if he didn’t do as Mummy told him and get into bed straight away.
She said she’d be really disappointed if that happened because she had had such a lovely time with him that very afternoon, and she would hate for him to never go there again. (Clearly there was no way I would ACTUALLY let this happen as I’d go mad within about, ooh, a week).
But Twin One swallowed it hook, line and sinker. It was like it was TOO easy. His little face was a picture of absolute blind panic. As he told Granny “I go bed now, Ganny”, and climbed back in.
He lay down and snuggled under the covers, shutting his eyes tight, as if to block me out. And that was it!
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you MY MUM!! If you ever need your child telling off but in the nicest way you could ever imagine, just give her a call. She’s pretty bloody good at it.
Would they stay in their beds all night?
Now for the rest of the night. How was that going to go? How many times would he wake up and climb out? Would I have to stand guard on his bedroom door like he was some sort of criminal in hospital? But it was actually okay. He woke (as normal) at about 3am and cried for me. I did my usual, taking the path of least resistance, of bringing him into my bed to save him waking up Twin Two. Even though I hate co-sleeping. So there were no breakout antics at all.
In fact on the subject of co-sleeping, I was kind of hoping that putting them in big boy beds would be a way of bringing an end to the bed invasion. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a cuddle. But it’s happening pretty much every night and getting annoying.
The other night both twins were in with us, they both wanted me to be next to them, so I was wedged in between them not being able to move. Typically had to be a night the Other Half was home taking up precious space in the bed. I spent the next four hours clinging on to Twin Two with one hand, for fear he’d roll off the side of the bed onto our unforgiving hardwood floor. With Twin One’s arms splayed out shoving me in the face. Whilst also having zero room to move into any kind of comfortable position myself. My back was agony by the morning.
So that was it. One more evening of Twin One pretending he was in some sort of Escape Rooms game, and it was time for my babies to become big boys.
Preparing them for big boy beds
The cot beds had to be converted, a stair gate had to be put on their door, and the twins had some tough love coming their way on the old nightly co-sleeping front.
I’d talked all week about when they are in ‘big boy beds’ they would have to stay in them all night. Laying it on thick about only babies coming into Mummy’s bed. They’re 2.5 and are already fiercely indignant about being called a baby. So obviously I use this one ALL THE TIME.
Never one for missing out on anything (they get that from me), the twins helped the Other Half with the cot bed conversion, then spent all afternoon treating their new beds like trampolines, and generally dicking about on them.
This was fine. Get it all out the way before bedtime, and all that.
Baby Dan wooden bed rails are fab
We put wooden bed rails onto each bed so they didn’t take a plunge to the floor at 2am. I also not-so-secretly hoped the rails would lure them into thinking they COULDN’T get out of bed. But clearly I totally underestimated my own children’s intelligence.
Twin One sussed it immediately, but rather than getting in and out at either end, true to form, decided climbing over the top was the more preferable option. Why am I not surprised?
As expected bedtime was slightly more challenging than normal. Both boys getting in and out continuously, into each other’s beds, turning the light on and off, and hanging off the stair gate vying for attention. I gave them 20 minutes, because, well I thought I’d be generous. Then I went straight for the big guns – threatening to call Granny again.
And it worked an absolute bloody charm. Again. They basically love Granny more than they love me (often crying for her in the middle of the night, rather than me) so I was hopeful it would work, and it did.
They both got into bed, lay down, shut their eyes and went to sleep. Just. Like. That. What the actual f*ck?
I’m amazed they’ve stayed in their beds
Twin One woke at 2.40am but I stayed true to my promise and wouldn’t let him in our bed. And he didn’t even attempt to get out. The only annoying thing was that after I’d settled him, I then woke him up making a noise with the damn stair gate in the dark!
Day two was even better. Mainly because I was out at bedtime and had left the Other Half to it. They were all in bed asleep when I got home, so I’d call that a success.
And guess what? They both stayed in their beds and SLEPT ALL NIGHT LONG! This is literally only about the fourth or fifth time this has EVER happened.
It might never happen again, but I’m taking it as a win, even for just one night. THEY SLEPT ALL NIGHT FFS! This is beyond huge for us.
I’ll obviously have jinxed it now by writing about it, and this time next week I’ll be whinging into my wine glass that it’s all gone to shit again.
But I’ll be positive and say that maybe moving them into beds will help them sleep better. I REALLY hope so.
This guest post was written by Helen Copson who runs the hilarious website Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee.