So half of our crew has made the big switch to toddler beds! It happened more out of necessity than desire, since I did not desire to give my kiddos freedom to run around their room instead of napping or going to sleep at night. Like, there was no small part of me that was like, "Awww, my kids are big kids now and need toddler beds!" None whatsoever.
But Kailey and Harrison, who are both tall and skinny, eventually learned how to stuff a book or a puzzle in between the front of their mattress and the crib, forming a makeshift step stool to help themselves climb right out. I caught on and gave them only small books and puzzles after that, which bought me about five days. Then they grew and began to just hike their long ol' legs over the top of the crib rail and hoist it on over in seconds. Right after I would shut the door. Every time. Occasionally it was followed with a "thump" on the floor and we would pause to see if anyone cried or screamed afterward. If it didn't (you know, live and learn!), then we'd give them a few minutes to exercise their newfound freedom before putting the offender back in their crib to the sound of very loud, insistent protest.
Then we just bit the bullet and the husband converted Kailey and Harrison's cribs to toddler beds. (We have the Stork Craft Tuscany 4-in-1 stages cribs in white and in cherry.) I put on fun sheets, quilts and their beloved pillows that my mom made and we hoped for the best! I really didn't have a concrete plan in mind for the transition and I struggled with knowing exactly how to reinforce this new sleeping arrangement. We figured we'd just tackle the challenges as we went, which resulted in a lack of consistency in the beginning—but you live and learn, right?
At first, novelty reigned supreme. They loved their beds and their ability to get in and out of them. We let all the quads go in and check them out and climb all over them for a little while before officially putting everyone to bed that first night. They climbed, flopped, bounced and wriggled all over the beds and loved every second. I even got a photo of Trystan in mid-jump!
Since it was a Wednesday, the day of the week Grandma and Grandad are normally at the house to help me out with the kids, Grandma got to witness the switch and the surprised faces when the kids saw their beds for the first time. :)
We tucked in Kailey and Harrison and explained to them they were in their new big boy or girl bed and had to stay in there to sleep. We turned on their sound machine, switched off the lamp, kissed them goodnight and gently closed the door. Then they jumped out of bed, turned off the sound machine, switched on the lamp and ran around their room talking and yelling.
From our master bedroom, we could observe their nighttime shenanigans on our TV via the video monitors the husband had installed in the ceiling of each kid's room. Pretty handy when you need a broader view of the activity taking place! The first night or two we were pretty lenient since it was so new. After that, we'd give them a minute or two then go in and put them back in bed, turn everything off and gently reprimand them to stay put. I would only do this a few times because, honestly, it got really old and exhausting and I figured eventually they would wear themselves out. Turns out, they did! They ran around for an hour and a half or less after we closed the door every night for that first week before eventually passing out in their beds. I was very happy they climbed back in bed when they were ready to call it a night and they looked so cute and grown up.
I ran some errands last week and found some cute toddler bedding at Buy Buy Baby—one adorned with dinosaurs and perfect for Harrison and the other in shades of pink and on clearance, which made it perfect for Kailey. ;) This seemed to really help cement the transition as we told them it was just like mommy and daddy's bed and they really liked that. Whenever they get in our bed for a brief period of time, whether it's just playing around or laying with us if one is sick or having issues going to sleep, they always quickly get under the sheet then reach forward for the comforter and pull it right up under their chin and snuggle down in the pillows. So I figured having a similar setup in their bed would really help them feel like it was where they were comfortable to sleep, and I really do think it made a difference.
Bedtime quickly improved and now Harrison and Kailey only get up for a few minutes or even not at all once we close the door at night. Nap time was a different story for awhile and there were a couple afternoons that neither of them slept for even a second, or perhaps Harrison slept but Kailey kept getting into everything and wailing periodically before going and poking little man in the face until he woke up to. On two of those days, I ended up in tears from exhaustion and frustration. Nap time is my break for the day and a chance to relax, eat lunch, sleep or watch some TV, catch up on things or whatever it is I need some "me time" to accomplish. When I don't get that break in the day, it makes for a reallllllyyyy long afternoon.
A few days in, I took extra toys and any potential hazards out of Kailey and Harrison's room or moved it into the closet so there was a little less for them to get into and become distracted by. They still occasionally pull the clothes out of the drawers in the dresser, but I haven't sweated that too much since I've got to sort through all the quad's current clothes anyway and purge too-small items and re-organize it all. Once that's done, we'll be adding drawer locks to keep my handiwork in order!
Nap time is now starting to improve and they're either contentedly playing for a few minutes on the floor or in their bed before falling asleep. They're also beginning to last a little longer and we're nearly back to our usual 1-4pm napping-and-quiet-playtime in their rooms ritual.
There have certainly been some comical moments during this new experience! Like one evening when their nightlife went off automatically while Kailey and Harrison were still playing instead of sleeping. It was pitch black so we were laughing hysterically watching them on the TV monitor as they walked around like zombies, arms stretched out in front of them, taking little waddling steps to avoid tripping over something!!
The quads are certainly growing up and it's only becoming more and more apparent. Sometimes I feel like I'm the one groping around in the dark, trying to figure out what the next step needs to be! Aside from the toddler bed transition, we've added a baby gate to the top of our stairs to keep them wondering the house should they manage to open their bedroom doors at night (right now, they are unable to open twist-knob door handles). I've also added a stove top guard, oven door lock, level door handle lock to the wet bar (so they can't open all the lower cabinets that are full of glass vases), locks to a cabinet that contains cleaning supplies as well as the changing table drawer (it has scissors and other objects in it) and soon a lock for the downstairs toilet lid!
For now, Trystan and Logan are still in their regular cribs and haven't tried to climb out at all. But they really do like crawling into Harrison and Kailey's beds anytime they're in their room, and they'll cozy up in the sheets and pretend to go to sleep. It's so cute! We will be converting their beds just as soon as we get the chance to anchor their dresser to the wall and put a lock at the top of the door to the bathroom.
Here's to a new milestone in Quadville!