We are at a conference for the rest of the weekend, so I am re-posting this one from a couple years ago.
Heather and I both live in Berkeley where houses are small, and expensive nonetheless. Our neighboring city Oakland is pretty much the same. If you’ve seen the show Parenthood, which is set here, well, let’s just say that the houses in which those characters live would be in the top 5% for spaciousness.
The other day I went over to my friend Karin’s house for the first time since she’s been married and had two sons. When she opened the front door, the first thing I saw was a queen-sized air mattress taking up her entire living room floor. I asked if she had weekend guests, and she sheepishly explained that she and her husband actually sleep on the air mattress and let their baby sleep in their room while their toddler hogs the room that is intended to be shared by the brothers. Eventually.
They were struggling to figure out how to put two kids in the same room such that they would allow each other to take their naps and sleep at night.
I had no advice for her, although since my kids are older and have been sharing a room for a long while now, I could hardly register the situation as a problem. I remember letting Scarlett cry it out and Julian, age 3, just slept right through it. I now realize every toddler does not sleep as soundly as Julian, who could be carried into a playdate if he had fallen asleep in the car, plopped on the host’s couch, and be jumped on by his excited little friend, and sleep through the whole thing. As I drove home from Karin’s, however, I suddenly remembered a few scenarios that may have comforted her.
When Heather’s baby #2 Milo was born, she worried that his night wakings would disrupt Holden’s sleep, yet she and Alec had learned from their rookie parenting stint that they prefer not to sleep in the same room as the baby. Therefore, baby Milo slept in his infant “bucket” carseat in the office area just outside their room. Every night. For four months.
When my own second child was born, we made half of our bedroom into a babycentric space, expecting her to stay with us for a couple months. She tricked us by being a good sleeper for about a month, but then lost her knack for staying asleep past midnight. Taking a cue from our good friends who called their children “swing babies”, we set up the automatic swing in our bedroom, and there she slept, swinging at full speed, all night long. For three months.
And Julian? He slept swaddled and strapped to a changing table pad on the floor when we visited our parents for the first few months.
My point is that we do a lot of crazy shit as new parents. We sing potty songs, attach electric pumps to our breasts, and read books to kids who can barely hold their heads up. Sleeping in your own living room is the least of it. (That reminds me… my second cousin’s husband used to sleep on the porch.)
If you’ve got two children who share a room, tell us more. How did you do it?
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