A few weeks ago we moved the kids, aged almost-5 and 3, into one room. This has gone much better than I thought it would. I thought they would be screaming all the time. I thought they would be putting a line of duct tape down the middle of the room and measuring each side and re-adjusting the line of duct tape. I thought they would put Neet in the shampoo bottles and switch each other’s anti-depressant medications with … Oh, wait, that’s a Beverly Hills 90210 storyline. Sorry.
– We have a spare room!
– Everything is pretty clean, still.
– Everything is fully childproofed for the first time ever. Don’t judge me. They were never going to have the time /attention span to figure out how to use that drill.
– … which means that they can go upstairs, play, come back, whatever, don’t care, just do it quietly.
– … which in turn means that Trombone has a newfound love of dressing himself, now that he can get into and out of his room and his dresser drawers.
– Which means less for me to do. I sure appreciate that!
– The kids seem to be getting along better than when they were in separate rooms. They are like this adorable team of two, reading each other stories and helping each other find socks. I never thought that putting them closer together would make them, you know, closer. But writing it down, it seems pretty obvious. Maybe I should have written it down a long time ago?
Of course, there is The Bad:
– Despite the newfound camaraderie, there are days when the boys are clearly Rubbing Each Other The Wrong Way OMG Get out Of My Space. More intense than it used to be. Duct tape days are still ahead of us, oh yes.
– No gates on their doors means that yes, they roam freely like happy chickens. Happy, noisy chickens. And getting out of bed on his own is such a delight for the until-recently cribbed Fresco. In fact he just came down the stairs, 15 minutes into his ‘nap time,’ peeked around the stairs at me and went running back up when I growled at him.
– For the first week, SA and I (mostly him) were going insane in the membrane because the kids were waking each other up at 6 am and coming downstairs to Start the Day!
We corrected this heinous behavior by telling the children they could get up if they insisted on it, but they couldn’t come downstairs till 6:30. I put my alarm watch in the playroom and we put a plate of snacks in there for them (I know. Snacks at SIX FUCKING AM. Think about that for a second.) and they have been excellent about staying up there until the alarm goes off.
(if you are asking why we don’t just hand them the remote control and point them at the TV, after all that’s what kids’ TV was invented for, it is because our living room, dining room and kitchen are all one big space fuck you open plan)
– Then the sleep deprivation started to kick in.
Not Saint Aardvark and I, oh no! We are not sleep deprived, for once. It took us a few years but we have learned to go to bed at 9:30 or suffer the consequences.
It’s the kids. We haven’t changed their bedtime, but they now spend 5 – 500 minutes before they go to sleep being Awake. Laughing, talking, having a disco party, making bedsheet ladders and going to the clubs, I DON’T KNOW what they’re doing because I refuse to go up there and find out, but they’re not sleeping.
They still get up at 6 am.
It doesn’t matter that I had already tried and abandoned many experiments with late/early bedtimes, years ago. (What I learned: it doesn’t matter what time they go to bed, their wake-up clock is preset.)
And what is the problem? you are asking. Live and let live! If they wanna stay up and play, let ’em! Consequences-based parenting! If they’re tired they’ll sleep!
The problem is that children (just like adults) who lose an hour of sleep a night, over several nights, are really fucking grumpy. Imagine a bear. An old bear. An old bear who is in the middle of hibernating and is woken by someone coming in his cave to ask him if he is planning to vote in the upcoming Forestal Election. And then I have to spend the day with that bear, who would rather be sleeping but won’t admit it and instead decides to jump off something high and bangs his knee and cries for an hour because of the blood the blood the bloooooood.
However, the good of this room-move still outweighs the bad. I know it will get better (and worse) (and better) (and worse.) I also know that I can not do a thing about it but wait. And try to laugh.
And just think: someday, they will move out and be good roommates to people. You’re welcome, future roommates of my children! Don’t mind the duct tape. I’m sure it’s nothing personal.