My sweet Oliver is turning 3 years old in a few weeks, which means that Penelope and Oliver have been room sharing for about the same time.
I always knew that my children room sharing would be a magical, but the moments of love, of laughter, of heartwarming moments that it has brought, is more than I could have ever dreamed of… and they just keep coming.
As their room transitions through their years – from cribs, to beds, to now a bunk bed- different spaces inside the room are created that grow with them. Lately, their love of books is what inspired the reading closet, and watching the room evolve with them, is a magic that I’m so privileged to witness.
Tonight, we read two books under the “Chistmas lights” as Oliver says. We cuddled and sang, and after two songs, the room was quiet. The room was lit by the twinkle of the lights, and it was a simple but magical backdrop to my babies’ dreams.
Time and time again, my children remind me it doesn’t take much. Their shared room could be half the size it is, and they would still have everything they need.
In a way, creating the reading closet showed me that even if their room was that little space, as long as it was full of love and magic, it would be perfect.
* Reading closet inspired by one of the mommy bloggers I follow on Instagram who created a beautiful #closetcastle for her daughter (picture here)
December 27th, 2016. This was the night. Tonight, the crib Oliver had been sleeping in, next to our bed, was moving back to the nursery. The goal was to get through bed time routine. We would handle middle of the night feeds as needed.
We finished bed time routine. Silence. Complete silence.
After a few minutes, Penelope got up and walked to the side of the crib closest to her brother and I. “Hiiii” and leaned in for a kiss. I kissed her back and she laid back down. Oliver finished nursing, I put him down, and walked out of the pitch black room. Oliver woke up to nurse 3 times that night, Penelope didn’t hear us, and they both woke up at 6:30 am. Their first bedtime together. Perfect. Just perfect.
My babies have been successfully room sharing since Oliver was one month old. Of course, not every night is as perfect as the first one. There are nights we hear Penelope shout “Hiiiiiiiiii Beeeeebbeee” or sing “ooooh ooooh” (part of her favorite Coldplay song) as soon as we walk out of the room, or nights Oliver takes a little bit longer to fall asleep, or days he tries to wake up very early. Most nights though, both kids are in bed by 7:00pm and wake up around 6:30 am… sometimes 7:30 am. I would call that a success.
The room sharing success wasn’t all luck (although I thank the Sleep Fairy daily anyway haha). We did do a few things to prepare. We finished the shared nursery early so Penelope could get used to the new layout and extra crib. We didn’t want new nursery and sibling happening at the same time. We also decided we would be keeping her in the crib for as lonnng as possible. She isn’t able to climb out and is happy in there, no reason to add another transition/change. Nope. When she’s 2.5/3 years old we will reevaluate big girl bed status [Big Girl Bed Update]. We got a white noise machine, and reinforced good sleep habits by continuing and staying consistent with her bed time routine. In the summer, it was easy to have exceptions because of summer activities/festivals/travels, but as much as we could, we would stick to the whole milk-bath- pj’s -books-songs-bed.
Oliver slept in our room for his first month. The first two weeks were survival mode, and frankly, he slept wherever and whenever. At around 2 weeks, since we were doing bed time routine with Penelope anyway, Oliver started to tag along. He began bed time routine early in life.Most nights, he would fall asleep after bed time routine, wake up an hour or two later and continue this ’till the morning. As the days and weeks passed, that first sleep stretch got longer and longer. By the time he moved to the nursery, his first sleep stretch was about 3-5 hours, with two or three nursing sessions before it was morning again. Today, at 12 weeks old, he falls asleep on his own, in his crib, and is sleeping a minimum of 9.5+hour stretches at night, with a handful of 11.5 hour nights. I can feel some of you mentally throwing tomatoes at me. I would be too (haha). But really, part of it is just Oliver (because my daughter didn’t sleep through the night ’till waaay later), but I do believe starting bed time routine early did help him understand that the “big sleep” was coming.
I watch them nap in the day, and I feel their sense of safety and security in each other’s company. As they have gotten used to falling asleep with each other’s noises (grunts, sneezes, whines, etc.) they almost seem to need that to fall asleep, but are also deeper sleepers for it. During day time naps, this is particularly helpful, as I can get whoever wakes up first (with a 95% success rate) out of the room without the other one waking up. Bed time routine is easier too, especially when doing it on your own (which admittedly, I’ve only done a few times. Thank you Husband ). Having everything in the same room; both sets of pjs, diapers, creams, plus both kids in the same space (even if one is in the crib while the other one is being changed) is easy and wonderful. You’re only doing bed time once too, as you have both kids at the same time (win!).
I know very well that room sharing isn’t for everyone, but for anyone considering it – it is both doable and wonderful. It has worked out so well for us and am so glad we decide to do it. Something about watching my babies fall asleep in the same room, and being able to share a beautiful state of peace together makes me so happy. And the feeling of walking into the nursery in the morning and seeing both of them smiling at me- amazing.
When I found out I was pregnant with Oliver, aside from the excitement of welcoming another beautiful being into our family, I couldn’t help but be excited about all the nesting that comes with it – specifically decorating the nursery. In my case, doubly exciting because I was decorating for two in this nursery – my toddler and baby on the way.
My husband and I decided early on that our kids would share a room. Why a shared nursery/room? We did our research, and to us, the benefits outweighed the drawbacks (…but, I’ll go into the logistics of how we got them to successfully room share in another post), but one reason was simply space. We have a third bedroom on another floor, but I personally didn’t feel comfortable moving my Penelope (18 months old at the time). She’s still a baby and I want her as close to me as possible.
I love how the shared nursery turned out. The space is calm, bright and fun. The layout worked out well, we stuck to the basic furniture needed, and filled it with a whole bunch of DIY to add the personal touches and love. We put the dresser inside the closet (which serves as their changing table as well) to save space, and it worked out perfectly.
The kids have been room sharing for over a month now, and I love this space in which they share their sleep, dreams, and are already making so many memories together.