A dad friend claimed that his sleep has improved significantly since he moved their 5 year old and three year old's beds into their bedroom. "I was getting up all night long to get drinks of water and calm nightmares, and fetch blankies to the point of exhaustion!"he said. "Now that I'm at arm's length away, I barely have to wake up! My kids are sleeping better, they are more secure, and everyone's needs are being met through the night. I love it!"
I agree wholeheartedly. We've always shared a bed with our babies as soon a they were born. In fact, we've never owned a crib or felt that one was necessary for us. It just didn't make sense for me to put my warm, snuggly baby far away from it's source of comfort and food. Of course this naturally evolved into snuggling our toddlers til they were ready to have their own beds, as well. Then once they got their own beds we gave them the option of sleeping in another room, if they were ready.
As we recently moved into this house, our 7 year old decided he was done sharing a room with his 5 year old little brother, and ready for his own space. So we gave him his own room down the hallway from us, and then also gave his little bother his own space in the room next to our room. However, for the first week of this new arrangement our 7yo didn't sleep well. In fact, he climbed into bed with us every night at about 2:30am, claiming that there was a zombie arm hanging out of his closet. After two weeks of the frightening night-waking we finally realized that this arrangement wasn't going to work and moved his bed into our bedroom. Awwwww, sleep again. Except not really, because our 5 year old was still waking up every other night either having wet his bed or needing someone to cover him up with warm blankies (that he kicked off) or desperately needing a drink of water. Our toddler was and is the only one sleeping through the night, now that he's recently been night-weaned from his yummy milk-milk!
Now we've moved our 7yo's bed into our bedroom, then thought what the hey-and moved our 5yo's bed into our bedroom, and our 3yo is still sharing a bed with us because he's not ready to be on his own, yet.
This is the new arrangement and I love it: (Yes, the new master bed-room is very small)
Everyone is sleeping better, everyone feels more secure and comfortable, and nighttime needs are being taken care of without much chaos. Sure it's not the most conventional method of parenting, and sure most people might say we're crazy, but it works for us! And isn't that the whole point?
We're not going to spend these chaotic, young, parenting years living under the expectations of others--we're going to follow our instincts and do what works! Someday very soon these boys will be ready again to have their own space, and we will miss these years. Just like I miss these years:
And just like I miss this arrangement from 4 years ago:
|Cedar City, circa 2009|
Easy Peasy: The bedroom is for sleeping at night, and the rest of the house is used for whatever we want after the kids are asleep. Finding creative places to "recreate" can be romantic and exciting, we've found. Once you stop thinking of the bed as the only place to have fun, the world is your canvas....or whatever.
As far as privacy goes, it's true that sometimes I see pictures like this and feel a hint of jealousy for what I am missing out on:
I mean, look at all that space! Look at the beautiful, personal touch that has gone into decorating this room! I start to think, "I want a pretty turquoise room with nice dressers, fancy pillows. and clean floors, all to ourselves!" But then I think about my children, and how their little needs don't fit into this picture. Where is the space for my sleeping toddler? Where is the pile of extra blankies and water bottles, and nighttime diapers that I'll need through the night? Where's the huge stack of library books waiting to be read while snuggling in bed with my 3 darling children? Where is my 5 year olds cute bundle of cards he leaves on the floor everyday?
This room is not my reality right now.
My reality is the untidy, often messy, somewhat chaotic business of parenthood, with all the wonderful, warm, room-sharing-snuggling that goes with it.
As I was searching through my picture files I discovered that over 100 of my photos have the words sleeping, bed, and snuggle titled in them. I realized that room-sharing with our children has been more than an unconventional idea-it's been a way of life worth remembering and cherishing forever.
I sure love these kids of ours:
I sure love these kids of ours:
|My favorite boys, 2010|
Please tell me, friends, about your unconventional parenting ideas! Do you do anything considered out of the norm, but that totally works for you? Have you ever felt that you couldn't tell anyone because they might think your crazy? I want to know your parenting tricks!