We all have those moments, something happens, it keeps happening and then, that’s it! We’ve had enough! Something needs to change.
I had one of those moments before Christmas.
But let me start from the beginning.
Back in 2009, Mr B and I bought our current home which had 4 bedrooms upstairs. Big Monkey was already with us and we were expecting Chaotic Monkey. As Mr B and I were planning the distribution of the house, we had a few things very clear: our room is the one at the front, we need a double spare room and the kids will share a room.
Both Mr B and I grew up sharing rooms with our siblings and we always loved it (except when you hated it!). The laughs, the fights, the camaraderie… we wanted that for our children. At this stage we didn’t know the whether Chaotic Monkey would be a boy or a girl, but it was irrelevant. We wanted them to share for as long as possible. So that was the plan.
The Chaotic Monkey was born and it is amazing how siblings can have such different personalities, even at the baby stage. I have to say that I was an extremely lucky mum in that both Monkeys fed and slept well. Big Monkey would feed, you’d change his nappy and put him down on the cot and he’d be sleep in minutes. Chaotic Monkey would also feed well, and after a nappy change he’d settle well in the cot, not problem, but he wouldn’t go to sleep straight away. He’d start talking (making noises…). He wouldn’t cry, he’d be happy, but I would not be able to go to sleep until he was sleep himself. At this point we have to take into consideration that I had an emergency cesarean (with both of them), I was breastfeeding, in a lot of pain, hormonal to the max and exhausted, so no logic applies here. NONE!
After few months, we moved Chaotic Monkey from our room to the nursery and by the time he was 7 months old he was already sharing a room with his brother. Perfect! It worked! Both of them have always been great sleepers, so this worked a treat for many many years. Until it didn’t.
As their personalities developed and evolved, some basic things did not change. Big Monkey would go to bed, he’d be happy to have a little chat with his brother and then turn around and go to sleep, Chaotic Monkey would not. He would want the chat to go on for longer and so if Big Monkey wanted to sleep they’d start arguing, or Chaotic Monkey would keep talking (he doesn’t need anyone to answer back!) or start singing at the top of his voice hoping that his brother would give up trying to sleep and join him in his shenanigans.
Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. More often than not, there would be bickering, fights, “he said, no he said”, “he started it…” and so on. They would of course be tired the following day which made the bickering start earlier and earlier as the week progressed. Mr B and I had never walked those stairs more than the last 6 months! Up and down every 5 minutes (or roaring from downstairs if we were too tired) with the “stop arguing”, “stop talking”, “stop singing”, “I don’t care who started it”,”stop talking”, “go to sleep”…
They were threatened with being separated, being sent to different rooms. Despite the fighting, they hated that idea, so I had some leverage there for a little while. Besides, I think they thought it would be too much work and we wouldn’t do it. Until one day, when I had enough.
One normal day, we all woke up, had breakfast, got school lunches, waived everyone goodbye at the door, got my electric screwdriver and went upstairs and started moving furniture around. It was tough but I was determined. I sent some photos to Mr B in the middle of the day with all the beds taken apart and in different rooms and I’m sure he had a little heart attack at work and thought of not coming home that day but he also knew that it was all for the better.
The beds were up that night in different rooms. When the kids came home after school they got a shock. Different rooms? How could I? Chaotic Monkey cried and mourned the loss of his big room. Big Monkey loves having a room to himself although I am sure that he misses hanging out with his brother. Both of them are sleeping much better now although Chaotic Monkey still insists that he needs to share the room with someone for him to sleep better.
As there is an extra mattress in Big Monkey’s room, they are allowed to sleep together at weekends. They love it! So they get the best of both worlds – they get to sleep earlier on their own on school nights and they still get to hang out at weekends.
Mr B and I are loving the new sleeping arrangement, the kids are getting more sleep and we all are in better form for it.
Adapt or die they say. Well, it’s true.
Do your kids sleep together or separate? How does it work? Share with us!