Claire was standing at the door of the bedroom this morning, so it looks like the age of the cribs has drawn to a close. We bought convertible cribs for them which turn into daybeds and later double beds, so when G gets home this afternoon, I'll be sending him upstairs with a screwdriver. Tonight, the girls will go to sleep in "big girl beds". Trouble is, I don't have the faintest idea of how the mechanics of this are going to work, either at naptime or at bedtime.
We don't have an ironclad naptime or bedtime. The nanny feeds them lunch at noon, and then takes them upstairs when they seem to be getting tired -- one baby first, and the other a little later. If the first girl is very tired, she will be asleep by the time the second one is obviously ready for a nap. On many days, though, they go up together or in such short order that they're awake together. At bedtime, some days Katherine will outlast Claire by a substantial margin, but on other days she demands to go night-night as soon as Claire gets taken upstairs. (Naptimes are variable, but Claire is almost always ready to go to bed first.)
Whenever both babies are awake together, there will be talking. They will often spend half an hour or more talking to each other from their separate cribs, reading the books we let them take to bed, and playing with their "babies". I have no doubt whatsoever that if they're not confined to the cribs, they won't stay in bed even as long as it takes us to walk out the door.
What do you DO when multiples are too young to be reasoned with, but too old to be restrained? If they were a little older, we could perhaps explain to them about how we stay in our beds at night, and institute rewards/consequences, but they're not. I think it will be a long time before this will happen -- we have to teach them to resist not only their own impulses, but also the persuasions of Sister, which at just short of two is THE prime directive. With a singleton, we could create a quiet and boring environment which is conducive to sleep, but with multiples, there is always a built-in playmate.
Me, I'm thinking that we just lost naptime. At bedtime, they can play in the semi-dark for a while, and they probably will eventually fall asleep. I'm sure this will happen on the floor, but we can always go up later and move them back to bed. At naptime, I don't think this will work so well, because it's harder to fall asleep in the daytime, and the shorter duration of naptime means they're not likely to be moved into bed easily. I have thought recently that Claire is preparing to drop her nap -- she skips it at least once a week, or fights it hard and takes a very short one -- but she still can't really make it through a full day without one.
I've had the luxury of not having to worry about sleep issues for a very long time now, but I think that just got thrown out along with the cribs.