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My regret over use of toxic four letter word

THERE'S a four-letter word that I deeply regret uttering in front of my kids. Once it came out of my mouth there was no way of taking it back and it hung in the air like a curse.

Bunk beds.

How careless of me: I mentioned bunks in front of a four-year-old. A four-year-old who has outgrown his toddler bed and is ready for the next step of his sleeping journey. Once they hear bunk there's no going back.

He's been campaigning vociferously for a new bed for almost a year, but husband and I had reached stalemate on a solution. I hankered after another smart single bed to match the one his older brother has in the room they share.

My better half suggested we'd have more floor space with bunks and could pass the single bed on to their baby sister who is more than ready to break free from her cot. While this may sound sensible I dragged my heels, reluctant to install the equivalent of a climbing frame upstairs for my four-year-old and two-year-old to fall off and smash open their little heads.

Time rolled on and I eventually acquiesced. Once the kids overheard the four-letter option on the table they were adamant nothing else would do. So I did my due diligence, browsed, researched and drew-up a shortlist before picking out a really lovely set. (What is the collective name for bunks anyway? Is it a set, a pair or a stack, or are they simply singular, as in a bunk bed?)

I've always thought of bunks as a lowly-but- practical solution. Browsing on line confirmed my belief that they're the poor cousin of the thoroughbred single bed. The most affordable models look like something that would have been at home in a youth hostel dorm circa 1985. Slatted pine bed designs abound but look practical and uninspired, while tubular steel ones scream retro, and not in a good way.


Like any kind of furniture, the sky's the limit pricewise, but we found a very handsome pair of white bunks with lovely in-built shelving for under €500 (they're called Tam Tam and sold by bedsite.ie.) When we opened the four boxes to assemble them last Saturday our eyes fell upon these dreaded words in bold print: This furniture will take 2 people 2.5 hours to assemble.

Combined, we'd be losing five hours of our lives putting together these darn bunks. And that was if it all went to plan.

I like to think we worked like surgeons, methodically, diligently and calmly, although I did entertain putting a divorce lawyer on speed dial in case things deteriorated into the usual couple's DIY murder scene.

Despite our best efforts the beds took almost three hours to complete. The kids were abandoned downstairs, to keep them safe, ordered to sit through two movies back-to-back (unheard of in this house) and not darken the door of their bedroom-turned-workshop.

We emerged from the process remarkably unscathed. Despite feeling exhausted from our endeavours (three hours of manual labour is tiring when you're a desk jockey) we were proud our marriage was intact. The bump on my head was unfortunate, but a small price to pay for the sense of achievement and look of delight on the boys' faces when they saw their new beds.

I was delighted too, until I realised how darn tricky it is to change the sheets on a top bunk. Talk about awkward. I never imagined yoga and gymnastics skills could have such practical uses. Seriously!