and yes, we like it this way.
Every once in a while I like to buck a trend, stick it to the man, think outside the box, put my kids in the same bedroom.
I know, right?
Sure, part of our choice to have them in the same room is logistical for us: we have a two-up-two-down house. If we all had our own rooms then someone wouldn’t have been on the same level, and that really isn’t our preference.
But the baby! And the crying! And the toddler pre-bed jabber! And the midnight nursing! And the diaper changes! And the nap schedule! And how will children ever be well adjusted if they don’t have! their! own! room!?
If you’re a parent, think about one of the many times your child has surprised you with their resilience, their ability to understand, or their flexibility. You think that things are supposed to go one way, but then your toddling 1 year old gets right up after a fall without crying at all and you think “Wow! I didn’t know he could do that!”
It’s like that, the room sharing. We are constantly impressed by how much they just roll with it.
In the 6 months that OBrother has been here, there have been maybe 3? 4? nights where the boys have woken each other up (and of course, one of them was while DanO was solo and I was at a bachelorette party). Both boys have their night time wakings, OBoy from bad dreams or who knows what, and OBrother to nurse at alarmingly frequent intervals (3hrs, what?). We’ve had head colds, ear infections, growth spurts, diaper blowouts, bed jumping, light switch antics, Halloween sugar high, you name it, my boys have slept through the other one doing it.
We do have a pack-n-play in our room to give us some flexibility. For example, in the morning if OBrother nurses after 4:00am and then wants to keep sleeping, we keep him in our room because more than likely he would sleep in later than OBoy. For naps, they usually (but not always) sleep seperately, OBrother napping in the pack-n-play in our room.
Our bedtime routine looks like this: Both boys go upstairs with DanO around 6:30. He puts them in their PJs, does the bathroom stuff with OBoy (teeth, potty), and then they read together on the chair in their room. After a bit I come upstairs (usually from cleaning up dinner or fin.al.ly. sitting down in a quiet room) and kiss OBoy night night, then take the baby into the master bedroom and nurse him. DanO does the quiet parts of bedtime with OBoy – rocking, singing, praying – and then comes in to check on baby and me. If OBrother is asleep, DanO lays him down in his crib right away (and then reminds OBoy that baby is in there sleeping so he needs to be quiet) otherwise we will rock him in the chair until he is out and then lay him down.
By far the best part of the boys being together is how much they both love it. Most nights OBoy is still rolling around in bed winding down from his day when we bring OBrother in. Sometimes we’ll rock him in the chair in there, other times OBrother is already milk-drunk asleep and we bring him in to lay him in his crib. Always, always, always if OBoy is awake when his brother comes in, he will get excited and talk to him.
“Hi baby! Peek-a-boo baby! Shhhhh baby sleepin! Night night.”
(Again, OBrother doesn’t wake up to this. The only side-effect is the absolute melting of Mommy and Daddy’s hearts.)
OBrother will often be giggling watching OBoy in the morning. Be still, my heart!
OBoy has gone through getting out of bed/being a goofball phases and I think it has actually helped that the reasoning we use to tell him he needs to stop isn’t just “because we say so” (although that is a completely valid reason!) but it is also that baby is sleeping in here and needs rest. Again, we have been impressed by how willing OBoy is to change his behavior or choices to benefit his beloved brother.
Praise God for video monitors (and the people said Amen!). Last night we were scanning the room on the monitor for OBoy because he was out of bed. Sometimes he turns on the closet light, sneaks in there and reads a book (but the light wasn’t on). Sometimes he plays behind the curtains (but they weren’t moving). Sometimes he leaves his room altogether and we see him standing at the top of the stairs, but none of these were the case.
And then, in the corner of the room near the crib, there was a lot of movement.
Turns out, this was happening:
(After taking a picture because, hi! so cute! we quickly put an end to the climbing into his brother’s crib thing.)
So, sharing rooms isn’t all roses, but it works very well for our family. We wouldn’t have it any other way.