Sometime towards the end of last year, I started thinking about moving Ayaan out of his cot to a regular bed. To start with, he was getting a little big for the cot, especially since it had to accommodate his pillow (for the adenoids) and four soft toys (two Noddys and two Teletubbies). Secondly, I was worried about him climbing out and injuring himself - he has been tall enough to climb out for a while but just hasn’t realised it. Lastly, I had read somewhere that the longer you wait, the more habituated they get to the cot and the harder it is to move them out.
So I started looking for a toddler bed – or actually any adult-sized bed that already had or could be modified to have in-built toy storage capacity and some contraption that would keep Ayaan from rolling off during his sleep. I could have asked a carpenter to do it but I have been pretty disappointed with the finish these freelance guys churn out. Moreover, I have neither the creativity to imagine/ design stuff nor the bandwidth to ensure quality control on the wood and other supplies. So it had to be store bought.
I was not averse to kiddy designs (in fact, I was rather in favour of them) and so my search took me to a newly opened store called Big Red Bus, which promised to meet the heretofore unmet need for high quality kids' furniture. They had lovely designs and colours – however, the design I liked (a simple bed in yellow with built-in ) was going for a pricey Rs. 45,000 – almost double of what I paid for the bed we sleep in! And while it was beautifully made, I was not about to spring that much money for a piece of furniture that was likely to be covered with crayon marks and scratches before the year was out...
Since I had really (and I mean REALLY) liked the pricey bed, it took me some time to get over with wanting it and the bed plan went into cold storage for a couple of months. Till a friend at work told me about another kid’s furniture store with more reasonable prices. So one weekend in January, we decided to go and check it out. And found just what we were looking for – simple beds with clean lines and options of storage drawers. Also, the proprietor was open to customisation – he agreed to make the laminate on the toy drawers yellow to match the theme of Ayaan’s room and put in a wooden railing that ran half-way along the length of the bed – keeping Ayaan from rolling off while leaving enough space at the bottom of the bed to let him get out when he wanted to. Tis what we ended up with:
I wanted this to be a one-way street so I prepared Ayaan well for it. We took him with us to choose the bed and kept talking to him about the fact that his NEW! BIG! bed would be coming soon – this ensured that he was pretty excited about its impending arrival. And then on the day it arrived, we dismantled his cot and told him that it was broken. And it worked! He took to his new bed like a duck to water. It's been about three weeks and I think he has forgotten he ever slept in a cot...
There’s just one problem though. It has to do with the fact that he can get out of bed on his own. This leads to some rather funny or frustrating (depending on my mood and perspective) situations. Here’s a sampler:
- He comes to our bed when he wakes up in the mornings. Which is mostly nice except for the elaborate ritual of first coming himself and lying down, then getting up to go back every few minutes to fetch his ‘cubber’ (cover in Ayaanspeak), pillow, Noddys and Teletubbies, one at a time. And then everything has to be arranged just so to suit his highness’s sensibilities or it all ends up in an early morning meltdown of epic proportions – not something you’d want to wake up to, I assure you!
- A few days ago, we heard him get out of his bed and open his door but then there was no sight or sound of him for the next five minutes. As all mothers of toddlers know, silence is never a good sign so Jai was despatched to investigate – only to find that Ayaan had headed over to the kitchen, opened the fridge and had happily helped himself to an early morning treat – some leftover brownies from the previous night!
- Afternoon naps have become unpredictable. And investigations of strange sounds on the baby monitor often turn up sights of Ayaan, having collected some of his toys on his bed, merrily playing away instead of sleeping.
- And this one from today afternoon – he picked up the Vicks from the shelf in his bedroom and proceeded to liberally apply the stuff on to his pillow and sheets!
But overall, I have to say that I am terribly proud of him for making the transition so comfortably (for him and for me). And the vacated cot is probably a sign that I should start thinking of ways to fill it again... :-)