Bunk mates

There are times as a parent when you feel like you’re the first parents to ever do something, even though you know it’s not true. Tom and I weren’t the first people to have two children, but when Mary Virginia was born, the waters were so dark and uncharted, that it felt like it. Maybe we weren’t the first people, but everyone else who’d tried just hadn’t survived. We’re also not the first people to try to teach a kid to share, or deal with puddles of pee on the floor of Chick-fil-A. But when it happens it feels completely horrible, like the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone.

But it has happened before and then some; we are not the only ones.

What I’m getting at is, we’re planning to switch up sleeping arrangements. Before Mary Virginia was born, we started planning to put both kids in the same room. But now she’s 16 months old and I still don’t have the nerve. Both my kids are terrible sleepers. Mary Virginia just started sleeping through the night maybe last week. And David? David still wakes up a few times a week with a bad dream or needs his blankets adjusted. Whenever we change something, I get scared. Especially since, in the past week or so, I’ve gotten a few full nights of sleep for the first time since June 2013. And you know what? It was really great.

What happens when one kid doesn’t fall asleep immediately? Or wakes up screaming several times a night? What happens when one baby wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and the other wants to sleep until 7? What about when one of them gets sick and I’m in their room six times taking temperatures and changing sheets? When we turn out the lights and close the door, will the kids start plotting against Tom and me?

I have lots of close friends whose young kids sleep in the same room and it’s completely successful. It’s so successful, in fact, that it’s a non-issue. Like, when you meet them, it’s not one of the first things they tell you. “Hi, I’m Jane. My kids share a room, so just keep that in mind as we converse.”

And, I actually shared a room with my sister until she moved away to college. And even though back then I could have written a 12-page essay on why I deserved a wing of the house to myself with enough privacy for my teenage brooding, in hindsight I really liked what it taught me — about sharing space, being considerate, and how to whisper late into the night so mom and dad couldn’t hear us.

My friends whose kids sleep in the same space have told me that there might be a learning curve, but eventually the kids don’t wake each other up. They promise. And as crazy as it sounds, I’ve already sort of seen that with my own kids (their rooms now are close enough that they can hear each other crying, even with sound machines).

But it’s still completely scary.

I’d love advice, or even a pep talk from people who’ve survived this sort of transition. It’s a non-issue, right? I’m not going to miss a month of sleep, right?

I’m trying to be optimistic, but just for the next couple weeks, a warning: My name is Amanda and my kids share a room, so just keep that in mind as we converse.

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11 Comments

  1. Tiffanie October 8, 2014

    Our girls share a room and have done so since before Clara was 1. It’s worked out great for us. I always shared a room with my sister and think it is so good for bonding and just learning how to be in community with people. Plus, it saves on rent.

    Once our girls go to sleep, they’re asleep for the most sort. Abby has slept through all sorts of Clara’s shenanigans and Clara is hardly ever disturbed by Abby’s middle-of-the-night wake-ups. The bedtime routine is sweet and sometimes they even play together in their rooms on Saturday mornings.

    All this to say, that it sounds like your situation is trickier, but to encourage you that it will eventually shake out and as long as there aren’t any sharp or heavy objects that they can hurt eat each other with, you can just shut the door and let them work it out.

    Reply
  2. Katherine A. October 8, 2014

    First of all, good luck!!! Seriously.

    Second, I have a friend who kept three children in one room … 3 year old, 1 1/2 (2) year old and newborn. Now, I will make the point, they didn’t transition to that. It just was always that way, but still, 3 in one room. The point I want to make is about the set-up of the room. They had a loft type bed where the 3 year old slept with a toddler bed underneath where the 2 year old slept. The ladder that went up to the loft doubled as a dresser and a bookshelf. On the other side of bookshelf was the baby crib.

    The point is, that when all three children were in their beds, they couldn’t see each other’s faces. It was genius, I was totally impressed (esp b/c my friend build the bed / dresser / bookshelf thing). I don’t know if it will definitely help, but I feel like it makes sense that it would be easier to fall asleep without the distraction of being able to see your sibling.

    Were having #3 here soon … and well, we bought a 4 bedroom house. 🙁 Maybe in the future if the genders work out, but for now, we’re staying spread out. Haha.

    Reply
  3. Grammy October 8, 2014

    and, yes, they will plot.

    Reply
  4. Victoria October 8, 2014

    I’m a friend of Rachel, so I saw your post in her fb feed when she “liked” it. I just wanted to reassure you that you aren’t the only parent of a young toddler who doesn’t sleep through the night. Mine is 17 months and due to a bad back that is making our lone MOTN nursing session impossibly uncomfortable for me, I just dropped that “feeding” (it was really more like a 5 minute check in). Dad is now going in for that one waking which happens anywhere from 1am to 4am. It’s been 3 nights and I think in the next night or two, the lady with the goods is not coming in and he’ll probably start to sleep all the way through. He goes right back to sleep though. It’d be great if he’d just sleep through the night already! But we’re at a balance point where we can handle it. Will I do all this faster next time? You bet. 🙂 Ok, I’m pretty sure I will anyway. Anyway, long way of saying, don’t despair! Bad sleep, schmad shmpleeper. Probably the first few nights of room sharing will be rough, but I bet if you just close the door and let them handle it, after a few nights, they’ll probably be helping each other back to sleep!

    Reply
  5. Meredith October 8, 2014

    Glad your’e doing this first. I want to put my two together (maybe once Will starts sleeping through the night?). Can’t wait to hear how it goes! Also since this is the perfect place to ask, are they combining for a ceeeertain reeeeeason?

    Reply
    • amandakrieger October 9, 2014

      hopefully we’ll have a good experience to share! we’re just doing it bc mary virginia is in our guest room and it’s right beside our kitchen, so it’s hard for me to clean up or prep dinner while she’s napping, or for us to clean after dinner (or bake something for the next day, or make a bowl of ice cream!) while she’s sleeping. we’ve ALWAYS planned on it bc we don’t have much space, and we’ve just been putting it off for soooooo long!

      Reply
  6. Katie Duerson October 9, 2014

    Girl, you totally got this. Our kids were generally terrible sleepers, and guess what? They sleep better in the same room. if one is crying or sick, the other doesn’t even wake up. Or if they do, they just roll over and go back to sleep. They honestly sleep better in the same bed even. when we travel they sleep on an air mattress together and I swear they sleep better than when there in 2 twin beds in the same room. They always liked sleeping with us, so maybe they just like the company. And at first, we put our youngest to sleep 30 mins before the oldest, but now they just march back there together. You can do it! They’ll live it in the long run.

    Reply
  7. Katie Duerson October 9, 2014

    Sorry about they typos. I’m on my phone. :/

    Reply
  8. Ashley October 9, 2014

    Mmhmmm. Yes ma’am. I GET YOU. I picked out all sorts of sweet little pink accents for Georgia Kate’s corner of the “shared nursery.” Girlfriend only goes in said “shared nursery” when I have to get the kids dressed. Her crib was moved to our room 7 months ago and I don’t see her leaving our room anytime soon. Georgia Kate wakes 3 times a night and Luke is up by 5:00 most days so yea, sleep is not our strength. If anyone can do this though, it’s you. I mean that. And then I’ll hire you as my “shared nursery sleep coach” to help us get the job done. 😉

    Reply
  9. Lynsie October 9, 2014

    We had a “we made the worst parenting mistake ever in the world and this has to stop after 2 months of torture” attempt at room sharing and we have had a “wow after one night this is awesome” attempt that has been great. My biggest advice is give it a little time and remember if it doesn’t work out you can split them apart again and try at a different time or with a different combo of kids if there are more cute Krieger kids in the future.

    Reply
  10. Carley October 13, 2014

    I had the same fears when I put my girls in the same room (they’re 15 months and 2.5 now). But it’s been really good! Our oldest is really bad at falling asleep at night (it can take 1-2 hours for her to fall asleep), and our youngest is a morning girl. But they seem to be doing fine with it. They “talk” a little at night, and then the baby conks out. They consistently sleep through each others’ middle-of-the-night wake-ups. You can do it!

    (Oh, it’s worth mentioning, they don’t nap in the same room. Granted the 2.5 year old doesn’t nap, but she “rests”. So we put hte baby in a pack ‘n play in our bedroom.)

    Reply

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