‘It’s time to gear up for Christmas’, I think to myself the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We had gotten home yesterday after a three day and ten hour round trip visit to my in-laws, and the whole family is exhausted. As I switch off the lights and close the door to the boys’ room, my mind instantly scrolls through my to-do list; clean up lunch, clean up toys, vacuum and dust downstairs, and bring up Christmas decorations. All to be done during the two hour nap window.
A quick glance at the monitor out of habit, there is no baby to be found in camera one. Switch to camera two, no baby. Where are the babies? Moving the camera around, the boys are out, ransacking their bedroom. Oh my god. They’ve climbed out of their cribs.
Kiss goodnight. Turn on noise machine. Turn off light. And close the door. In these final moments of the day, I can feel myself relax. Whatever bumps and bruises, big belly laughs, or crocodile tears happened today are all behind us. Successfully completed another day with twins. Even during the afternoon nap, I know I will have a few moments of peace to shower, prep dinner while watching my guilty pleasure of garbage TV, and not referee toddler behavior. It’s my time to regroup and prepare for what’s coming next.
My sons who are just shy of two years old have slept through the night since they were five months old. Our house suffered the dreaded four-month sleep regression leaving me unable to complete coherent thoughts except adamantly being ready to sleep train. After the go ahead from our pediatrician we followed Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins. Three brutal nights of crying, the babies and me, left us with a happier, sleeping household.
Seventeen months later I feel like I’m back in the days of newborns with sleep uncertainty and a fear of what tonight might bring. My kids are determined climbers, and I’ve had the feeling for a while that my dreams of having them sleep in their cribs until age three, at least, would not come true. I had hoped that we could at least make it to birthday number two. We did not.
In the week after they first climbed out of their cribs we tried everything to deter their escapes. Their cribs were already lowered and they wore sleep sacks to bed. I stood guard outside of their room watching the monitor, and placing them back in their crib with a firm, no climb! I intensified this by using the yelling voices that all moms have in reserve. I put them in sleep sacks two sizes too small so that they weren’t able to stand up straight. I overnight pajamas online that limits the ability to lift the legs to climb out of the crib. When I missed the package and almost had a complete breakdown, my dear friend actually sewed two pairs for me that day. We attempted to take the bottom portion of the crib out so the mattress would rest directly on the floor. I used a travel crib with angled sides. I spent most hours of the day crying and googling how to stop my toddler twins from climbing out of their cribs. We even let Xavier sleep on the floor one night; I felt like the world’s worst parent when he woke up with carpet imprinted on his cheek and forehead. Nothing stopped them.
On Monday I called my pediatrician. On Friday he finally called back. If they’re climbing out of their cribs, it’s time to make their bedroom their cribs, he told me exactly what I didn’t want to hear. My concern was simple. How will I keep two little boys safe when they have free reign in their room? What if they fall out of their toddler beds (our cribs converted). My doctor reassured all of my concerns with logical advice. The excitement of having access to your brother will wear off, and sleeping on the floor is ok. So that night my husband converted the cribs into toddler beds, we removed everything from their room, and for the first time in a week they went back to sleeping twelve hours through the night.
It’s interesting to watch them on the monitor now. It reminds me of my ultrasounds; two little bodies squirming around, getting comfortable. They swirl around, snuggling into the crook of the other. The boys like to sleep pressed on each other, so we eventually moved their beds together. There’s a little bit of peace back in our home, but things are different. We don’t have cribs anymore. No more babies. We have two toddlers now with opinions and wants we have to listen to and consider. I wish we would have listened to them in the beginning of that week, but we got in the way of ourselves. Shouldn’t I know by now that plans never really work with kids?