The motivation was simple enough. With Toby (currently 18 months) getting ever closer to outgrowing his cot – with Isaac we discovered that on the night when he successfully climbed out and landed with a thump – it was time to replace Zac’s toddler bed so that Toby can move into it when the time comes.
As is his wont, Zac demanded the final say in the decision-making process. After perusing various catalogues one afternoon, he declared that he wanted what is termed a ‘mid-sleeper’ – a single elevated bed, not quite as high as a bunk, but one which must be climbed into and has space underneath for storage or play use. Most importantly, he declared that the attached ladder had to have exactly three steps (his favourite number).
Having made his decision, he then demanded to know why we had to wait a couple of weeks for his new bed to be delivered. Why couldn’t he have it today? Why? Why?!? He interrogated us every other day – “has my bed arrived yet?” – until one morning an Argos truck pulled up and deposited a large flat-packed box in our hallway.
Cue much wrestling with Allen keys – has a more sadistic DIY tool ever been invented? – as an excited three-year old helped us count up all the bolts, screws, nuts and dowels, and even tried his hand with a Phillips screwdriver.
Once completed – my Allen key-ravaged fingers will never be the same again – it became rapidly clear we had made a good choice. A delighted Zac spent the first few evenings with his new bed looking for any excuse to climb up and down the ladder, and we have taken to reading his bedtime stories by torch-light underneath his bed, which he has turned into a little den complete with a mountain of pillows and cushions and some of his favourite toys. (I have even installed a small night-lamp on the wall beneath the mattress which passes for Zac’s version of the Octo-Alert. If you’ve ever watched Octonauts, you’ll know what I mean.)
Toby has also taken a shine to Zac’s bed. At bath-time, it has become traditional for him to bolt straight for his brother’s bedroom, climb the ladder and tuck himself in under the duvet with a cackle and a grin. Now if only we could him to be so enthusiastic about sleeping in his new bed (Zac’s old one) – he loves it as a place to read stories and generally have a lark about in, just not to sleep in.
Of course, the fact is this is more than just being about both boys having a new bed. It’s another milestone on the road to growing up. Zac, at least, recognises that it moves him one step closer to being ‘a big boy’. On some level, I think Toby knows it too. And I’m a very proud dad for it. Even if I never want to see another Allen key ever again.