I saw this travel cot discarded on the street. And it got me thinking.

Are travel cots evil contraptions sent to push us over the edge when we’re only hanging on by our weak, drooping eyelids?

Did this particular cot infuriate its former owner so much that it found itself lobbed from the back of car, never to be seen again?

I think there’s a chance that it did.

Because they are a little bit evil.

Designed to be a practical solution when you have to take your little darlings to stay with friends or relatives – or even if you think it’s a good idea to take them on holiday.

And on first sight they do look simple enough to set up and take down.

Take out of the bag, unravel the mattress, lock the four sides in place, two at a time and push down the base. Pop in the mattress, affirm with a bit of velcro and there you have it – a perfect little bed in seconds.

So far so good. However, putting them up is the easy part.

To take them down, you are meant to follow the steps in reverse. Simple, right?

Wrong.

And this, fellow parents is where it always seems to go tits up for us.

And they always seem to attack when you’re feeling low and vulnerable. Like when you’re in a pokey Bed & Breakfast after your mate’s wedding and you’ve got a raging a hangover and you’ve had very little sleep. You are already up against it trying to get everything and everyone packed up and out of the room.

And then there it is winking at you from the corner of the room.

The sleeping device from hell. And it needs putting away.

This is where I usually dive off to the bathroom, casually dropping: ‘Oh, can you pack up the travel cot, please?’ Knowing full well the enormity of the task I am requesting.

Two minutes and later and cue the shouting and expletives. Usually along the lines of: ‘This bastard thing’.

Watching someone struggle immediately makes you think you can do a better job of almost anything, of course.

Confident that I have the knack, I come to the rescue – fresh pair of eyes.

‘Let me do it. You just need to make sure you need the short sides first.’

I approach it calmly and try to remember the order.

Is it the short sides first?
Or the long ones?
Or do you pull the handle thingy to lift the base up first?
Oh I don’t know.
Oh hang on, it’s working, I think I’ve got this.
Yes!
Oh no.
It’s gone all rigid again and I can’t bend the other sides now.
Oh FFS.
Now husband wants another go. ‘I think you just need to…’
Now he’s shouting.
I won’t be defeated.
I shout back.
Now everyone is angry and shouting.
And the kids are crying.
And someone’s had a poo.
And the travel cot is still in a mangled heap on the floor.

Hotel check out time has passed and we have to admit defeat. Although no one admits anything, as no one is talking to each other anymore.

We silently bundle it up as best we can and stuff it on top of all the other ridiculous amounts of paraphernalia needed for a one night stay away from home in the car boot.

The journey home is fun! Adults are angry, kids are screaming. And it is absolutely the travel cot’s fault.

And so I have a plea.

Mr Red Kite et al – can you all have a look at making the essential travel cot a little easier for us numpty parents to fold away, please?

Pretty please. It may save relationships.

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