Saturday, October 4, 2008

Reclaiming Some Space

I have reached the point where a change must happen. Actually, I want to see a lot of change around my home. I want to rid the place of all the clutter. I want to catch up on my kids' scrapbooks so I can toss the rest of the "stuff" I'm holding on to so I can remember the dates and times and places that go with all of the photos. I want to be able to park the mommy-van in the garage again. But first, I want to reclaim my space in bed.

Our kids know that if they wake up in the night and need something, they can come to us. If they need a snuggle, they know that they can climb into bed and snuggle until morning. There's plenty of room. In fact, that's why we got the gigantic bed in the first place. When Mister J was little, he slept with us most nights until he was around a year old. Miss M spent several nights with us early on, as well. (No shrieky-shrieky allowed - it's a personal decision, let's leave it at that.)

So why, with the gigantic bed and the open invitation for so long, have I changed my mind? Because the goal is really not about being selfish, it's about getting enough sleep be able to function the next day. You see, the kids are getting older (surprise!), and as they get older, they get bigger (I know, you are shocked!). And since they both seem to like sleep upside down and sideways in the bed, it gets crowded really fast. Plus, Mister J is truly a bed hog. I'm not making that up. Also, I'm kind of a light sleeper. It doesn't take a kick in the face wake me up (yes, that really happened), just one of the kids rolling over. So, with two extra people in the bed, trying to snuggle next to me from about 3am to real, sunshiny morning (around 3-4 hours), and me usually not getting to bed until midnight, I'm averaging around 3.5 hours of good sleep, and then 3.5 hours of crappy sleep. At that rate, after a few days, I should not be allowed to drive. Something had to change. And it did. And Big J was shocked.

I cleaned out the corner of the bedroom nearest my side of the bed. Then, I took a comforter that isn't currently in use on a bed and folded it into a kid-sized, bed-shaped cushion. I put that into the corner, along with a pillow and a baby quilt. Viola! My kids now have a place to sleep in the middle of the night when they come into our room. And I get a better night's sleep! And Big J doesn't get disturbed as much, either.

When the kids saw me putting the new kid-space together, they asked what I was doing (after all, I was cleaning, and they were perplexed). I told them what the new space was for, and explained that when they came into our room at night, this is where they would be sleeping now. Of course, they both wanted to check it out. They thought it was really cool. But the big test would come around 3am.

The first night, Miss M came into the room. She fussed about being tucked into the kid space. She wiggled and squirmed. In the end, we were up for the day at 6am, and I'm a 7am kind of girl.... When Mister J came in for his first try, he fell right to sleep and even slept late. Miss M's next time, she wiggled and squirmed and I gave in and pulled her into bed so I could sleep. On her next try, she stayed in the kid space and even slept later than her set-in-stone-no-matter-what 7am wakeup.

The best news in all of this? For the most part, the kids are staying in their beds all night. In the 2 weeks since we have implemented this new arrangement, I think the kids have come into our room a total of 5 times. They might not be sleeping all night, but if they wake up, they are soothing themselves back to sleep. And I'm sleeping like a baby.

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