It feels like just yesterday, I was pregnant for the second time, full of that nesting energy again, and my husband and I had decided our children would room share. What was then Penelope’s room, turned into the shared nursery, and within those four walls, so many memories, evolution and growth. It’s the place where my babies rest, where they dream at night, and always in each other’s company. Their little shared room, a space that is so special to me.
My children have been room sharing for 7 months now, and it has been wonderful. I love so many parts of it; their little chats before they go to bed, their patience with each other, especially when one has a bad night, and their happiness when they see each other in the morning (even though they’ve been in the same room all night) makes my mama heart happy. Are there nights that are harder than others? Absolutely! To me, that’s just part of being a parent of young children though. They need us through the night sometimes, and it would happen whether they were in the same room or not.
When Oliver turned 3 months old, I wrote a blog post on how the room sharing was going, and the things we did to prepare for a smooth transition. One of the things I mention on there is keeping Penelope in her crib for as long as possible.
Last week, my husband and I were surprised to hear little footsteps outside our bedroom door at 5 in the morning, and then a little voice that said “Mami”.
Penelope learnt how to climb out of her crib!
I was not anticipating this transition so soon. Penelope is only 27 months old, and I was planning on keeping her in her crib until she was 5 (kidding). She slept well in her crib, she liked it, so why fix something that isn’t broken. But, of course, as with many things in parenthood, you may not be ready for a change, but they are, and you just have to go with the flow.
We decided to transition her straight into a twin bed with side rails, and she loves it! We bought the frame, mattress and side rails from IKEA, and since Penelope graduated her crib, we gave hers to Oliver, as her crib was nicer. Even with a larger piece of furniture in the room, it still feels as spacious as before.
The transition to big girl bed has gone much easier than I had expected, which I’m happy for, especially since I wasn’t expecting it, ha! The first 3 nights, it was as though she didn’t think she could get out of her bed at all, and she didn’t. The fourth night, once the novelty wore off, she took forever to fall asleep. She tried to open the door and leave her room, which we then closed, and she didn’t like, so she screamed and protested, then moved the rocking chair towards the wall so she could reach the switch to turn the lights on, and scream and protested some more. After a few minutes, my husband went back in (which is when he saw her standing on the rocking chair, ha!), told her it was “night night time”, and she settled for the night. The silver lining? Oliver slept through all of this! haha! One of the advantages of room sharing, you learn to sleep through A LOT of noise, ha! It’s been a little over a week since the transition, and other than that crazy fourth night, bed time routine is back to normal! Woohoo!
I sometimes still get the “Is she crazy?!?!” look when someone learns that my baby and toddler room share, but it really isn’t as impossible as it sounds. During transitions, like a move to a big girl bed, it can be a little nerve wracking, but then I think to myself; I’m not the first parent whose children room share, and I certainly won’t be the last. The experience itself has taught me a few things along the way too, so even if we had a third bedroom on the same floor as our other two, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
If you’re thinking/planning to have your children room share, from one mom to another…
Trust your gut. In my heart, I knew I wanted my children to room share, and I believed it would go well, and it has. They fed off our of energy that this was their normal, and that’s the way it has been.
Be Flexible and Adjust as needed. There have been times when one of them will go through periods of bad sleep (they are both still babies), and if we worried that they would wake/keep each other up, we would adjust. We’ve had nights when Penelope has slept in our bedroom/ guest bedroom in the play pen, and that’s OK. Once their sleep regulated, we would put them right back in the same room.
Babies are more adaptable than we think. The most common question I get when a someone learns that my children room share is, “Don’t they wake each other up?”. Penelope was pretty young (19 months old) when Oliver moved into the nursery, so she adjusted easily. Oliver hasn’t known anything other than room sharing all his life, so he didn’t have a choice, ha! They fall asleep to each other’s sounds, and almost sleep better for it. Penelope has only woken up a few times when I’ve nursed Oliver in the middle of the night, most of the time, she doesn’t even hear us. Also, White Noise Machine is a must when room sharing! So, no, they don’t wake each other up at night. If they did, I wouldn’t get much sleep at night, and I like sleep.
Separate them for naps. Daytime sleep is never as deep as it is as night, so the noises that they sleep through during the night, can wake them up in the day. They used to take day time naps together, but since Penelope’s naps are getting shorter, she would sometimes wake Oliver up before he was ready to during naps, so I decided to separate them. Oliver naps in the shared room, and Penelope either naps in our room or the guest bedroom. She will drop her naps before he does, so I wasn’t too worried about her not napping in the room.
Embrace the experience. On the nights they have 30 minutes of baby chit/chat before they fall asleep, and I’m annoyed because I just want them to fall asleep already, I realize the chit chat is exactly the magic of the room sharing experience. They are bonding over their little laughs and jokes, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. We have a third bedroom in our home, not on the same floor as our master and second bedroom, but the extra room is there. The day they request to have their own space, I will honor it, but for now, I am embracing everything that comes with room sharing… late night chats and all.
My babies are growing so fast, and so wonderfully. It’s still a little weird to walk into their room and no longer see two cribs, but now a big girl bed in there. Though it wasn’t a transition I had planned this early, at least now, I can sneak in a cuddle or two with my Penelope when I go and check in on them before I go to bed.
The things I want to remember. xo