Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rooming in

A friend of mine instagramed (that is a verb now right?) a picture of her kiddos in their room today because they are preparing for a third baby and are moving the two older children into the same room. It really got me thinking about our past, current, and future living arrangements when it comes to the kids.

In our old house we had three bedrooms. We knew that it was not our forever house and we frequently hosted weekend guests. For those reasons we never intended to convert the guestroom into a second kid's room, even after we found out that baby #2 was a boy. (I will confess that I had every intention of redoing Lily's nursery to make it more gender neutral and yeah, that never happened) First Lily and then Ben slept in a pack n play in our room until they were about four months old. By the time we moved Lily into her own room across the hall she had been sleeping through the night for weeks but since our room had the only air conditioner we kept her with us until the fall. We assumed we would do the same with Ben, which we did, except that when we kicked him out of our room it was because I hadn't slept in well over 100 days and I was starting to lose my mind (had I only known that I would go without sleep for almost 200 more days I probably wouldn't have survived). Since Ben really was the world's worst baby sleeper we moved Lily into the guestroom and Ben started not-sleeping in the crib across the hall, as opposed to the one right next to my head. For what seemed like an eternity this sleeping arrangement worked fine, I could still hear Ben in the night but I didn't get up every single time he cried, but I did feel bad that Lily never slept in her own room.

In May of 2013, just after Ben's first birthday, my sister moved in and the guestroom was no longer an option for Lil. We decided we would just throw the two kids in together and see what happened. Worst case scenario we were going to let Lily sleep on a mattress in our room. By no small miracle Ben took to room sharing right away. He LOVED being in the room at night with his sister. Almost immediately he started sleeping more soundly and over the course of about a month started sleeping through the night...can I get an AMEN! The one drawback, and it was a biggie, was that our late riser was no longer allowed to sleep peacefully into the eight o'clock hour. No no, Ben insisted that she wake with the sun like the rest of us. Poor little girl, someday she is really going to resent him for that one! For the remainder of the summer and this past fall the kids slept in the room together. Every night between 7 and 7:15 I closed the door to their room and had the remainder of the evening to myself. For those mommies out there who's toddlers are up until 9pm...I understand fully why you do it in most cases, but on this one I wouldn't trade places with you for the world.

When we moved into my inlaw's house we knew that the kids would one again be sleeping in the same room. For the most part we have had the same success here. I think I mentioned the other day that Ben is still not a great sleeper but to her credit, Lily has never once complained about his middle of the night antics. For the most part she actually sleeps right through them. Every night the kids go to bed together around 7 and Ben is usually up by 6, he often doesn't make enough of a fuss to wake Lily until closer to 6:30 and I refuse to get them until 7. I know that some children are even earlier risers and for that you have my deepest sympathy. I used to get up every day at 5:30 when I was teaching but I never once liked it. I just can't justify getting up to play that early. I will also totally own up to the fact that there is usually about an hour of total shenanigans before either of them fall asleep each night. I am totally fine with that though, they sing, and talk, and giggle, and only once a week or so do we have to go in and remind them that it is time to settle down. I wish they would be more content to just hang out in the morning! We actually got Lily a "Ok to Wake" clock for Christmas but either it is broken or we are total idiots because I can't for the life of me get the thing to change colors. I have been meaning to google it...maybe when I am done here. Anyway, we are not morning people per se and it would be fantastic if the kids would sleep later BUT did I mention how much I love that they go to bed early :) And for those of you wondering if they would sleep in if we kept them up later at night the answer is a definitive NO. Ben is literally awoken by the sound the sun makes as it rises out of the Atlantic Ocean.

And now as we spend our weekends scouring surrounding towns for our new home I can't help but visualize what our life will be like there. There are a few houses that we have seen, one in particular, that we love but only have three bedrooms. While I love the idea of my kids sharing rooms, I also owe it to them to be reasonable. If this is our forever house we have to make sure that we have the space we need to room share. For example if Baby #3 is a boy we will have a 17yo and a 15yo in one room, the question here is, how much stench can one person (me) be expected to survive? There is a good chance that if our boys take after their father we will have two adult size men sharing one tiny room. Alternatively what is baby #3 is a girl, can two teenage girls really share one tiny closet? We are so blessed to even have these first world problems and I don't want to sound like I think we need a mansion, I certainly didn't grow up in one. It was different for me because the age gap (10yrs) is so huge between me and my sister that none of my siblings or I shared a room when we were teenagers. I do firmly believe that even if we move into a four bedroom home that for the next 10 years or so our kids will share rooms. As they grow however, it would be nice to have a little space to grow in to.

For us room sharing has been a great experience. I love that my kids laugh and chatter in the dark when they think no one is listening. There are nights when Matt and I have been in stitches listening to the nonsense that takes place behind their closed door. Just last night we could hear Lily saying, "Calm down, calm down. You're acting too crazy." We aren't sure if she was talking to herself or her brother but in either case it was hysterical.

I can't wait to see how a third kiddo will add to the dynamic between those two. There are two things I know for sure, for now everyone is staying right where they are, and tomorrow morning we will be up with the sun!


  1. Yes, love this post! So much to consider. We definitely want a fourth bedroom for the teenage years, but until then I'm more than happy to have room sharing (ask me again once we actually pull the trigger, though). It's different thinking about BIG kids together but when they are little? How fun! Four bedroom houses are really hard to come by here (unless you are paying 100k more than the 3 beds in our area) so we intend to redo our attic someday, or move if we must.

    I'm glad your room sharing has gone well so far! Hope we can say the same

  2. I shared a room with my sister until she was going into 7th grade (and I into 3rd, but I'm not sure that mattered) and we moved into a 4-bedroom. We, and now her kids, were always quickly moved when there was company, and it was never a big deal to then temporarily share a room again. It's always fun for the kids to camp out in a closet or a tent in the house when you have company, right?