Musical Beds: Unexpected visitors and siblings sharing a bedroom

Musical Beds: Unexpected visitors and siblings sharing a bedroom

Story time.

Finally able to read books together without the little one running off!

We have made a transition and our two girls, now aged 4 and 19 months are sharing a bedroom. Other than the occasional early wake-up call, it’s gone pretty seamlessly. Our youngest (for the next 6 weeks at least) is still in a crib and the elder is in a twin bed. They both like their rest so once they’re asleep, we’ve been in the clear.

The only major transition was the nighttime ritual. Previously, we had been taking them up around the same time and using the divide and conquer method. My husband would read to one while I got the other settled and topped off with a small bottle. Going to bed at the same time was out of the question as our two little chatterboxes would keep each other up if we let them.

To help with the transition, I started taking up our younger daughter at the normal bedtime and getting her settled. She drifts off into dreamland fairly quickly, so with a delay of 15 minutes or so, our older daughter quickly follows. However, she’s been known to enjoy a good book or ten. At bedtime, we’ve already read to her and then allowed her to take one book to bed to “read” as she falls asleep. At times, this has led to “reading aloud” and singing in bed for a time before she finally goes to sleep. To combat waking the babe, we’ve taken to putting our eldest to sleep in our bed and then moving her when we go up to bed. All in all, this has solved any nighttime woes (and dealt with any bed wetting problems as we make her take a trip to the potty as we move her to her bed).

This was the case last night as I went up and moved her to her room. Yet, when my husband came up a short while later, he found a small form curled up next to me in our bed. Being only six weeks from D-day with our third child, I had clearly fallen asleep and was none the wiser! Considering the stumbling and grumbling that I had to endure on the potty run, I’m amazed that she managed to wake up again. I don’t think she opened her eyes once!

On the flip side, our youngest was up pretty early this morning and started talking and singing almost immediately. When we went in to release her from crib prison…our eldest was curled up in her blankets and still fast sleep! Apparently, the noise wasn’t going to keep her from getting her rest.

Our advice for transitioning kids into sharing a room:
1. Talk it up! Get them excited about the idea.
2. Be prepared for some early mornings…it’s inevitable, but they do get better at sleeping later.
3. Make noise! Even before you make the transition, don’t keep a silent house. We live in an old house so they were well used to hearing each other long before they started sharing a space.
4. Be consistent. Like any change, they may rebel at first. But keep on keeping on and things will usually iron themselves out…eventually.
5. Don’t be afraid to make small changes to their routine. Small changes over time quickly become just part of their normal routine. Especially with older kids, just explain the changes and usually they can adapt fairly well once they know what to expect.

When a good bedtime routine goes terribly, horribly wrong.

When a good bedtime routine goes terribly, horribly wrong.

That’s right folks, Adelena is officially crawling, sitting up, pulling up and having an all around, terrible time going to bed. Funny how it all happens at once!

Problem child!

Before the crawling and sitting up fiasco, Lena had a great bedtime routine. She’d happily lay down and her eyes would be getting drowsy before we even left the room. Naps were more of the same. Our more recent efforts have been met with total meltdowns and tantrums like you wouldn’t believe. Despite our growing frustration, is there anything cuter than a mewling pouty face peering pleadingly at you through the bars of the crib? Ok, maybe not after the 2nd or 3rd visit crib-side but it is pretty cute the first time around.

Needless to say, relentless efforts have now begun to end this new little habit.  We’d previously lowered the crib to the lowest setting which is obviously much safer. However, I also believe this has encouraged the standing/pulling-up problem because now she has leverage. All the toys and blankets have been removed other than her bedtime things (Violet for lullabies and bunny snuggle blanket) so there is little distraction. We have blackout curtains and her room is pretty dark even though she goes to bed while it’s still bright out. Not much more we can do!

It’s extremely out of character for Lena to cry. I mean, there usually has to be something seriously wrong for it to even be an option. However, her latest bouts of crying are proving to be just attention-seeking and perhaps induced by a little bit of separation anxiety. It’s fairly obvious since the most intense periods of tantrums usually happen early in the week after spending the entire weekend together as a family. What it’s coming down to is the fact that Lena needs to learn that bedtime = bed. As much as all this is an adjustment for her, we as  parents might have the bigger adjustment.

Despite our desire to constantly soothe any worries and fix all of her problems, we need to teach her some independence. As much as I’d like to go into her when she cries, we have to wait her out and let her understand that once she’s put to bed, there’s no getting out again. In the past, I could easily console her and calm her down enough to return her to bed and let her drift off to sleep. These days, my presence only adds fuel to the fire and makes the situation that much worse.

All I can say is thank goodness we have a video monitor. Even though I didn’t think we needed it, it’s been invaluable! There’s nothing like seeing that tousled little head finally laid down to rest…

…even if it’s on her belly and I know I have to creep in later to turn her over. Progress is progress!

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