Bedding in

Kara's new bedAs a rite of passage, the transition from cot to bed can be one of the more traumatic ones a child has to go through. We’ve just embarked on that journey with 20-month-old Kara.

It’s been coming for a couple of months but we had put it off until after Christmas. Kara is strong and long-limbed, so when she started climbing out of the bath practically unaided two or three weeks ago we knew the time had come to get on with the task of ordering and building her a new bed.


This has come to a head over the past week, as it became obvious that she was now increasingly unhappy at being cooped up in a cot. I have been regularly spending more time sleeping on her floor than in my own bed to reassure her. Four or five hours every night on a cold floor has left me feeling stiff all over most mornings.

With every passing night it has proven more difficult to get her through the night – even before this latest phase she was usually in our bed by 4am anyway. And then on Thursday evening as I was lying beside her cot encouraging her to go to sleep, I watched on with a combination of amazement and horror as she hooked her foot up to head height and over the cot rail – has she been practising ballet stretches without my knowledge? – levered her body over the top and casually lowered herself to the floor as if she was scaling nothing more strenuous than a speed bump.

Her bed was built and in her room replacing her cot less than 24 hours later. That, and I’ll be enrolling her for gymnastics at the first opportunity.

The calm before the storm
The calm before the storm

A testing night

How did Night One in her new bed go? Well, despite her adoring her new sleeping arrangements, I won’t pretend it was anything other than a battle to get her down last night. In the end it took 2½ hours and the combined efforts of myself, Heather and big brother Isaac to finally calm her down sufficiently to go to sleep.

But sleep she did, albeit with me once again settling in for the night beside her to see her through to 6:30am – which, considering she made it that late and stayed in her bed the whole time, goes down as a major result.

We’ll have to see how long it takes to get her comfortable enough to sleep on her own. In Isaac’s case, it took several weeks. Hopefully Kara will adjust faster than that.

Brilliant big brother

Speaking of Isaac, our oldest child – six going on 36 – was brilliant with Kara throughout. In truth, he handled her better than either of us.

He really does slip into the big brother role naturally and easily. After getting home from school he volunteered to help build the bed. Then, once it became clear that Kara wasn’t going to go to sleep without a battle, he immediately volunteered to go and help her get to sleep himself. Over the course of half an hour I observed from the top of the stairs as he remained calm and soothing, never once raising his voice as she gradually went from bouncing off the walls to sitting calmly.

I was so proud of him. It’s obvious that he loves Kara as much as she worships him. He’s going to be a great dad one day.

Anyhow, I’m steeling myself for round two tonight. I might have to resort to some brandy, although I’m not sure whether it’s better administered to myself or to Kara. Did I just think that out loud …?