Monday, January 18, 2010

The hazards of room sharing

My two boys share a room. We have four bedrooms, but one is ours, one is the baby's, one is for the boys and the last one belongs to my sister-in-law for the forseeable future. The boys' room used to be just D's, but it made sense to have them bunk together once baby girl arrived. It's really big and frees up the other bedroom for my SIL, which later will hopefully go back to being an office/guestroom.

In any case, while the boys like sharing a room, it makes bedtime more, shall we say, interesting. When we first moved G in, things went so smoothly I thought we'd hit the jackpot. Most nights they both went to sleep relatively quickly and without too much talking, getting up, playing, etc. But that situation has slowly deteriorated. It started with letting them bring toys to bed - the kind of thing that begins innocently enough, but soon becomes a problem as the playing, the noise and the not-going-to-sleep escalates. Soon we were listening to them talk, sing and play for hours after bedtime - and the morning results were not good.

My husband came up with the idea of putting them to bed separately - G a bit before D, so he has time to fall asleep before D comes in. That solution often works well - G is easier to put to bed when he's by himself, and without an audience or a playmate, he quietly falls asleep after the light goes off and the door is closed. And on a good night, D can quietly get onto the top bunk and go to sleep and all is happy in our world.

Unfortunately, G tends to wake up when we put D to bed. Not every night, and the first week or so had us once again living with the delusion that this was going to work brilliantly. But some nights he does wake up, despite our efforts, and admonitions to D, to be quiet. And once he wakes up, usually it's all over.

Tonight when he woke up, he immediately sat up and asked for his breakfast. I had to explain to him that he'd only been in bed for a little bit and it was still most definitely bedtime; D was just getting into bed and they both needed to go back to sleep. He didn't like that idea much and minutes after closing the door behind me, I heard them talking. Then I heard more noise that could only be the sound of one or both of them walking around the room. I went in to find G standing on the bedrail that keeps him from falling out of bed, trying to talk to D on the top bunk. Lovely. That's not a bone-breaking fall waiting to happen or anything. I've since made another trip back to their room with stern instructions to be quiet and go to sleep. They're still talking. And it is almost 9 pm. My kids are not 9pm kind of kids. They wake up early no matter when they fall asleep, so tomorrow has the potential to be interesting. I'm sure it will involve D telling me in dramatic fashion how G kept him up "all night long" and he didn't get any sleep. But of course my suggestion to lie down during G's naptime will be met with a look of utter puzzlement and disbelief, as if to say, "Why on earth would I do that, Mom?"

I suppose these particular challenges of bedtime are to be expected when you have to little boys sharing a room.

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