Friday, October 27, 2006

The Great Transition

No, not from the swim to the bike, or even from the bike to the run.

I'm talking about getting my twin three-year-olds out of the cribs and into Big Girl Beds. It's becoming quite a challenge in our family. Right now we're working on getting them to sleep unconfined (other than the gate on the doorway) in the bedroom on their old crib bottoms with blankets on top and sleeping bags underneath.

But when they're not restricted to the inside of a crib, things get wild. When Mom or Dad walks away from the doorway, it's party time and general mayhem and destruction ensues. For hours. They're monsters on the loose. I had to remove all sharp objects and other potential weapons from the immediate area. We haven't bought actual Big Girl beds yet, but I'm pretty sure they would find a way to destroy those too if we had them.

I've been advised to keep it dark in the room and they will fall asleep faster. Fortunately that is not a problem, since they broke the bedroom lamp the first night they were on the prowl. And the door, too. By banging on it when it was wedged open, they broke the door hinges.

They seem to think it's funny. It's become clear that Mom is at a distinct disadvantage, since she is outnumbered by the inmates.

Help!! Do you experienced parents out there have any advice for us, other than more sedatives and more duct tape? Hmm, there's always velcro restraints, I suppose. . . .

21 comments:

Flatman said...

It's really hard not to laugh at your predicament because your girls are just so darn cute!

The "lamp-hat" is hilarious.

Have you thought about separating them for sleep time?

Vickie said...

And these are going to be the best times, so watch out for the teens! Seriously though, you seem to be doing the best you can, so keeping them safe is probably the only thing you can do for now. Shock collars might help though! :)

nancytoby said...

Ooh, maybe I could get one of those invisible fences installed inside the house!! Brilliant idea!!!! :-)

stronger said...

I believe I saw this one on "Super Nanny" and she taught the mother to sit on the floor next to the bed. When one gets out of bed you pick her up and put her back but you don't say anything. Repeat as necessary until they fall asleep. You move closer to the door the next night. Put them back in bed as needed and don't speak to them. I think by the third night you sit by the door. No eye contact. No words. And by the following night you should be off the hook for night duty. It worked in the episode.

nancytoby said...

Jeez, that would take about 2 or 3 hours each night here!! They probably drugged the kids in the episode.

But it's an idea....

Shelley said...

OMG thanks for the huge smile today..that's too cute!!

Fe-lady said...

Oh my gosh! It sounds like the preschool classroom here at school- except that there are 18 of them creating havoc. Your girls could give all of them a run for their money...! :-)
I remember putting my daughter into her "big girl bed" and thinking that she looked so tiny in it...
I like the floor idea-but it's hard on Mom's back to make the beds and pick up! I laughed out loud at the broken lamp part.
I didn't have the sibling thing going on, so can't help here! Sorry- just sit back and enjoy it the best you can!

21st Century Mom said...

Do you read to them when they are in bed? Keep reading until they fall asleep. Don't forget to practice your monotone!

When my kids were little all 3 shared a room (by choice) and I would put kid music on the tape player. That worked. Sometimes I would put a book on tape in the tape player.

I like Stonger's idea, though. You could just tape them to the bed for the next week and a half until you can stay up late enough to sit with them :-)

Last but not least, when my youngest was ready to not have a crib (since she could climb out of it anyhow, I got a little bed frame the size of a crib mattress. It was one of the iron ones that looks like something you see in an orphanage (got it at Target). She loved it. Maybe being in a bed will mean 'stay put' more than being on the floor does.

Julia said...

Maybe the problem is in the base approach: I've never "confined" either of my kids. No gates, no cribs, no pens. They could crawl wherever they wanted and I just told them where they couldn't go. Sometimes had to repeat it several times, but...Both of them, when sleepy, would just ask to go to bed. Evan (3) still does and it's usually around 8.30. pm. Maybe the fact that they've always had restrains makes them want to go wild when there aren't any? Stronger's Super Nanny solution sounds the best. Maybe YOU could call them!

TxSkatemom said...

dude, you are so outnumbered! I always separate mine, by age and by each being in their own rooms. I have *nothing* to offer, except that Catherine surely has a get-away-with-murder smile!

I think you're the only one who gets a break by doing IM!

triathlonmom said...

I think it has more to do with personality and the fact that they are a duo, rather than the fact that they are "restrained."
I just moved Redfish (25 mos) to a toddler bed and He knows he is not allowed to get out when it is bedtime. If he does I will put him in timeout (which means I put him back in bed and make him sit there for like 30 seconds) and then I "LET" him lay down when he is done with the T-out. We've sort of followed the baby whisperer approach (The Baby Whisperer solves all your Problems and the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers by Tracy Hogg have really helped). It is similar to the Super Nanny approach in that you just keep laying them down.(times 2 for you!) which I would NEVER suggest until you are an Ironman. And hey, if you can go for 16-18 hours swiming, biking and running, then surely you can go for 2-3 hours listening to screaming and laying down 2 kids, right? Seriously though, you are in a unique situation because there are 2 of them and 1 of you, and any mom can plainly see force won't work in that situation. I recommend letting them pick out their own new bed, be it a real bed or a toddler bed (that you will only use for 1-2 years). Or, at the very least go buy to twin mattresses that will go on the bed later. GOOD LUCK!
P.S. why not let hubby take care of it while your are away?

Lynne said...

It sounds SO cruel and probably abusive to anyone not in my house with my kid, but it worked so...

At bedtime, my eldest had the whole bath, brush teeth, read a story lights out routine. I couldn't make her sleep, but I could make her go to bed. She'd bust through the gate, SO I locked her in her room for one night (and I sat quietly outside the door). Since she never wanted it to happen again, she stayed in her room. She may have screamed her guts out at times, but she rarely came out. She shared this info with her sister (they have bunk beds now).

It's rough, I am glad to be done with the phase, but it will pass.... one day.

LoneStarCrank said...

Crib transition and potty transition may be more difficult than all of your IM training combined. Thanks for the chuckle and the thought that my wife and I are not alone in this crazy adventure.

tri-mama said...

I'd separate them-putting the less mischevieous one in the room-then I'd buy her a big girl bed and make a big deal of it. Buy the other big girl bed at the same time, with the incentive, when they behave at bedtime both big girl beds go in the room together and they get to sleep together-otherwise, they sleep apart. I think that's a concept 3 year olds can grasp-and they will probably work together to be able to share bed time.

soozey said...

Oh no! My input is to keep them in the cribs! Or am I projecting because I have my 3 yr old twins in cribs and don't want to get beds for them for my own selfish reasons! :) I am no ready yet!!

nancytoby said...

If they didn't both crawl out of their cribs and cause just as many problems, believe me, I'd leave them in there!!!

jbmmommy said...

I wish I had a magic answer, unfortunately, I don't. I also went a route similar to the nanny suggestion, I sat by the bed and returned M. to bed continually until he fell asleep. Eventually I got lazy and would lay down in the bed, often falling asleep myself, which became another bad habit to break. It did work eventually and I wish you all the best. Too bad you've got to deal with this just a week before the race. Until after IM, go with whatever can possibly get you the most rest!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

I love the lampshade photo.

Iron Pol said...

B-Boy was 18 months when we switched from the crib to the toddler bed. Primarily because Monster Girl was on her way, and we didn't want to try the switch at the same time as bringing the baby home.

When we first put the bed together, we let him help. And we gave him a choice of two locations for the bed to sit. He knew he got that bed because the crib was for "the baby."

Over the past year, we have faced several issues. Him wanting to sleep anywhere BUT the bed, him wanting to play at bedtime, him demanding a parent (okay, daddy) be at his bedside, attempts to delay (thirsty, hungry, hugs), etc.

We worked on two issues, first. One, he sleeps in bed. Failing that, he lays down SOMEWHERE and goes to sleep. Under no circumstances does he leave the room after bed time. He can stand in the doorway and ask for help if he needs it. So now, he might fight sleep. He might make noise (and often wakes Monster Girl up). But mostly, he stays in bed or plays quietly in his "tent" on his blanket.

And he won't leave his bedroom at night-time unless he wakes one of us up. As he approaches three, we have gotten into a better routine of pajamas, show and snack, hugs and kisses, story (a chapter out of a "big boy" book), prayers, last hugs and kisses, sleep.

IM Able said...

I have zero advice, not being a mom and all.

But GOOD LORD are your girls ridiculously adorable!! The before and after pics are priceless. And the repurposed lamp shade.

Fun. Y.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

Twins are a whole 'nother country! we do stories or music at bed times and nap time. If the girls play and make noise, the music goes off.

I can't make them sleep. The rule is, it's quiet time, you don't HAVE to take a nap, but you have to stay quiet during nap time. You can read a book, or you can nap in your bed, but you must stay quiet.

The big consequence (at nap or bed time) is separation, and I play that one right away. Twins HATE being separated more than anything else you can do to them. I will park the first mis-behaving baby on the sofa in the living room (with blankie and pillow, or on the guest bed at the first notice. They whine and cry and ask when they get to go back to their room, but I keep them there until they fall asleep (at bedtime), or until "quiet time" is over.

I say ditch the floor beds go straight to toddler beds - we did. It was hard - they were contained in their cribs. If they fall out, it's less than a foot, they don't get hurt. They did fall out and freak a few times, but that's it. They learned fast.

and they are sneaky - they will exit their beds to play, at which point I remove the offending toddler to the other room.