PARENTS

Terrible Twos: Never-Ending Stories

25/07/2012 16:03 | Updated 22 May 2015
Terrible Twos: Never-ending storiesGetty

Almost a year to the day since we moved Ava out of her cot and into a bed, Dan and I decided it was time to do the same for little sister Ruby.

This was quite an involved process as it goes, because we'd also decided to put the girls back into the same room together (they'd been separated ever since Ava realised that, without the bars, she could wander around at night and wake her little sister any time she liked with a good poke).

Well, I wanted to make the transition as exciting as possible. So we had to move furniture, we had to paint walls, we had to apply wall stickers, we had to hang curtains – and we had to go to Ikea before any of it could happen.

We really should have made the decision to do all this much earlier than 2pm. Anyway, we did manage to get it completed before the girls came home from nursery, and they just loved their new twin room.

The first night was rather eventful to say the least but, since then, Ruby and Ava have been fantastic, sleeping through the night, and behaving really well. Every night, we have a story and then I pull the (almost pointless) blackout blind down. No more drinks! It's time to sleep! Night night! Love you! End of.

Or so I thought.

You see, on Monday evening I discovered what Ruby really gets up to after lights out. Both the girls seemed exhausted, so I had made a concerted effort to get them into bed by 7.15pm at the latest.

They seemed to go down happily enough, so I came downstairs, and Dan and I ate our meal and watched some TV. Half an hour later, I could hear some chattering, so I called upstairs to say it really WAS time to sleep. Properly.

All went quiet and by 9pm, earlier than usual for me, I was ready to hit the hay myself. Having brushed my teeth, I headed for our room – but as I passed the girls' bedroom door, I heard a voice talking in hushed tones. It was Ruby.

"Wunna-punna-tyne, there wudda fair-yay..." she paused, and I thought she'd stopped because she'd heard me.

But then she continued: "No. Wunna-punna-tyne, there wudda a LITTLE fair-yay, and it fly in a twee and it STUCK! The END."

She sounded so pleased with herself. I suppose it did have a beginning, a middle and an end – and the considered addition of "little" had added a certain something to her lead character. I was about the open the door, when I heard: "My turn!"

But it wasn't Ava, it was Ru again. Obviously, she was on a roll. "Wunna-punna-tyne, there wudda WITCH! And it flying and and it fly inna sea and it DIED. The END."

That's it, I thought. No more ghoulish night time stories about suicidal sorcerers. I opened the door, expecting to see my girls huddled up together under one of their duvets, looking cute in the near darkness, as Ru regaled Ava with the bizarre contents of her sweet little head.

But no.

The light was on. Ruby had removed every item of folded clothing from the bottom shelf of the wardrobe and replaced them with... herself, in a sort of upside down position. On top of her pyjamas, she was wearing a pair of Ava's trousers, both legs stuffed into one hole.

And Ava? She was fast asleep, bless her – and covered in Lego.

"Ruby!" I said, "Get into bed, right now!"

Totally rumbled and somewhat startled, Ru tried to run to her bed. But because she was inside a wardrobe, because she was sort of upside down and because she had both legs in one half of a pair of trousers, she failed spectacularly and landed on the carpet in a headfirst heap.

I scooped her up and, kicking all the clothes into a dark corner to deal with in the morning, I nuzzled her and plonked her on to her mattress.

"Now, SLEEP, Ru! It's so late. Night night."

I turned the light off, swept the plastic off my eldest daughter, and closed the door. Before it had even clicked, Ruby said in a whisper so forced it was louder than normal talking: "WUNNA-PUNNA-TYNE THERE WUDDA BIG MUMMY, AND IT..."

Big?!

IT?!

I really didn't want to hear the end of that story.

"Ru-BY!"

I could almost hear her mouth clamp shut, thank heavens.

But she still woke up at flippin' 5am.

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