Adios, cribs!

As you may recall, the girls have been climbing out of their cribs since about the 16 month mark. Due to horror stories I’ve heard from other parents, I wanted to put off getting them toddler beds as long as possible, and since they weren’t making a run for it at night (just annoying me during the day), we decided to let the girls hang on to their cribs a little longer. 

Fast forward to two weeks ago when the girls turned 23 months. Amelia woke us up three nights in a row at 2 a.m., screaming bloody murder after Samantha had climbed into her crib for a late-night sister party! And that was the end of the cribs. Last weekend, our toddler beds and bedding arrived, we set them up and the girls woke up from naps to see their cribs replaced by these: 
It felt like the end of an era taking down the cribs– where did my babies go?! We’re keeping one of our cribs in the garage and the other one we fortuitously sold when I offered to sell it to my neighbors, who are having their first. They were ecstatic and I was happy to get rid of the clutter. 
At first, S and A were incredibly excited about their new big girl beds. Samantha immediately laid claim to which one was hers– the one on the left right below the owl wall painting, which was funny, considering this was not where her crib was. Jake thinks she loves looking up at the owls and thus stole the spot from Amelia. Anytime Amelia or Bandit tried out her bed, Samantha threw a hissy fit– she’s territorial, that one. 
Now that a week has gone by, Samantha is ok letting sissy sit on her bed: 

Along with new beds came the daunting task of teaching the girls to actually stay in their beds. Not only was I dreading the training due to the fact that there were no rails to keep them in, the girls have been rocked or cuddled to sleep for pretty much every bedtime since they were newborns. Don’t get my wrong– I’ve absolutely loved our bedtime cuddles and was distressed about giving it up. Normally, it takes 15 minutes for the girls to fall asleep next to me and then I get to enjoy seeing their angelic little faces breathing softly for a minute. All the mischief and mayhem they caused during the day magically melts away as I carry their sleeping little bodies to their cribs. Sigh!

I’ve reserved nap time for cuddle time, so I still have that. We didn’t want to freak the girls out by letting them fall asleep in our bed and then waking up in these brand new toddler beds, so we decided it was time to get them used to falling asleep in their own little beds. Easier said than done!

Night one: D-Day. I was mentally prepared for a potentially bad night, and after reading stories and brushing teeth, we tucked in the girls, Jake kissed them goodnight and I laid down on the air mattress we set up next to their beds to sing their lullabies. Samantha fell asleep within 20 minutes, while Amelia kept popping up every five, looking around for me, until I put her back down. Then, she started getting hyper and popped out of her bed like a jack-in-the-box, giggling, whilst pulling on the shutters.

I was not giving up. After the fiftieth time of laying her back down, she finally tired herself out enough to stay asleep. Total time to get to sleep for Amelia: one hour. Might as well have been 18 hours, because it felt like torture!

I stayed in their room throughout the night to put them back in their beds when they fell out– which did happen several times. We were all a little tired and cranky in the morning, but otherwise felt like night one was successful.

 Night two: I camped out in the girls’ room again, and Samantha again fell asleep quickly, while Amelia tossed, turned, moved around, jumped up and down, cried to cuddle with me, cried to go the potty, tried to climb in Samantha’s bed, and swung the shutters five billion times.

Eventually, she conked out around the 45 minute mark. Torture for me, but an improvement. Amelia didn’t fall out of the bed this time, but at one point in the night, I woke up to Samantha curled up on the floor next to me. I placed her back in bed and, though she ended up half off the bed, with her tummy and head on the bed and legs on the floor by morning, she slept through the night.

Night three: We went to the beach that day and the girls were exhausted by the time we got home. Total time for both to get to sleep: 10 minutes. Winning!

Night four: I needed a night off, so Jake took over bedtime. Huge mistake! The girls have historically never gone to bed easily for him and tonight was not an exception. They were bouncing off the walls for a solid hour and a half before they fell asleep, overtired, and exhausted.

Poor guy– it’s not that he does anything wrong, it’s just that the girls are so used to jumping on his back, riding on his shoulders and having fun in general, that he doesn’t exactly have a calming effect on them. Daddy = playtime. It was a major regression in our master plan.

Night five: Mommy returns. My back was killing me from the air mattress, so we moved in an actual twin mattress from the guest bedroom.

This was arguably my worst bedtime with them EVER, with multiple trips to the potty, which kept them up past the point of being tired and both girls were driving me crazy getting out of their beds. I was so angry/exhausted after 45 minutes of putting them both back to bed that I almost gave in and called in reinforcements or brought them back to our room to hold them to sleep.

Consistency is key, so I persevered, and eventually they gave up.  Each time they got up, I forced myself to stay calm, place them in their beds without making eye contact and simply told them, softly, that it was bedtime and to go night night. The girls also woke up several times that night, once to go to the potty and several more when they fell half out of bed. I may have lost the battle, but not the war.

Night six: The girls must have been exhausted from the night before because they both fell asleep within 20 minutes.

Night seven: It was time to experiment to moving from right next to their beds, to right outside their door. Within a few days, once they got used to this, the master plan was to let them get used to falling asleep completely on their own, without me near the room. The girls were upset at first that I was right outside the door instead of in the room, so bedtime increased a little to about 30 minutes of putting them back to bed. No night wake-ups, though. Progress.

Night eight: Same deal as the previous night with me camping outside the door. Girls fell asleep within 15 minutes and I went back to my own bed for the night. Girls slept soundly, although Samantha woke up around 5:30 needing to use the potty, but fortunately returned to sleep after that in our bed. We decided that if the girls wake up early in the morning, but late enough that they might have a hard time falling asleep in their own bed (and potentially waking up sister), that we’d let them fall back asleep in our bed. So far, it’s worked.

Night nine: I had my Moms of Multiples Club meeting, so it was Jake’s turn to man the ship. He was asleep by the time I got home and in a groggy state, but he told me he thought he remembered a bedtime battle. I left it at that.

Nights ten through twelve: I slowly reduced my camp outside the door time down to a few minutes of listening for any escapes. The girls have been making progress, with Amelia still the one having the hardest time not getting out of her bed. If I hear that she’s up, I try to be as consistent as possible with going in with a straight face, calmly setting her back in bed and telling her night night. After a few nights of this, she’s realized it’s pointless to keep running around the room all night and has been falling asleep after about 20 or so minutes.

Operation Toddler Beds is a work in progress, but the girls seem sufficiently used to their beds right now. The biggest issues we are now facing are falling out of bed, or waking up incredibly early in the morning to use the potty (our potty training overlapped our toddler bed training, which was not ideal!)

To be continued!

Lots of love,

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  1. You are one impressive mama! When my kids moved out of their crib, I just slapped the crib mattress on the floor, said nighty night, and closed the door. Maybe that's why they both still love sleeping on the floor…I never made them stay in bed! Ha ha. Jay would often sleep with his head on the floor and his body on the mattress! 🙂 your girls are so cute (and so are those bedspreads)

    • Haha, trust me– I would have done that if the girls didn't try to tear apart the room/bang the shutters/wreak havoc. On the other hand, maybe I should just let them tire themselves out by partying! I hope they learn to love sleeping on the floor like Rose and Jay– less work for me when they fall out!