As you can see, our kids are getting older every day…
Just kidding. That’s Zoe dressed like she’s “100 years old” for the 100th day of school. But seriously, it sure does seem like our kids are growing up fast. But this is a bed story, so let’s go there.
Both our children started out in a “Rock N Play Sleeper“, which I highly recommend. When they wriggle, it rocks them back to sleep. It has an incline, which helps with early child digestion. And today’s version (which Ella had and Zoe did not) has a vibrating sound box attached to soothe them to sleep. Plus, it’s portable, easily folds in half for travel, and can be moved around the house for them to lie in or sleep.
To be honest, my husband would say that our children most often slept on us (well, MOST often me due to breastfeeding and my lack of desire to let their tiny warm bodies get far from mine). Sometimes we slept sitting up in a cushy chair. Oh “Beds”.
Next both children moved to a crib my husband made with his own hands for his godson, which has now slept 6 incredible children, including ours. Zoe then moved to a small toddler bed our friends gave us, but kept rolling off in the middle of the night, getting her head stuck underneath and waking up in a panic when she couldn’t get it out… That bed didn’t last long.
After that, Zoe slept on a mattress on the floor. No head getting stuck. Then a daybed (basically a twin bed) with a mattress also under the bed (no head getting stuck, extra bed for guests). And THEN she got an IKEA Kura reversible bunk bed with a pink canopy on the top bunk. Yes, pink.
When we got that bed she was so excited to have options (though mostly she slept up top), and we’d read books on the bottom bunk then crawl up for sleep. Oh, and bad habits. We allow our children probably too much screen time, and every night Zoe gets to watch ONE show before going to sleep. On the whole she’s good about that, and by the time we check in, she’s closed the iPad and is asleep. Sometimes, she needs reminding…
Ella gets no nighttime show, and moved seamlessly from crib (after falling out of it) to an IKEA Kritter bed (basically a slightly larger toddler bed with a rail) in the guest room, I mean. “her” room. She loved her bed, filled with random stuffed animals (a Poppy troll doll, a Moana stuffed doll, a white kitty), an Anna-Elsa small pillow and blanket, projected stars on the ceiling from her ladybug light, a Lisa Loeb rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Daddy singing Amazing Grace. That Lisa Loeb song on repeat is burned in my brain and while so sweet the first time now makes my skin crawl.
Anyway, as Ella was enjoying her room and Zoe was celebrating her two-bed win, we were plotting the future, when the girls would SHARE a room (Zoe on top bunk, Ella on bottom). We tested out this when the first visitor came and instantly hit a wall: Zoe likes to sleep with lights, Ella does not. Ella likes to sleep with noise, Zoe does not.
Worse? Zoe stopped liking to sleep on her top bunk. She “gets hot” up there… and there was no way I was putting a 2-year-old on a top bunk. And so, we had to find plan B.
Enter the TRUNDLE.
Another IKEA product, as you’d guess, the Flaxa has a trundle option with a pullout bed underneath on rollers. Before this purchase, we sold Zoe on the idea (Ella was an easy sell) of sharing a room with a trundle bed and she was thrilled. But kids don’t always mean what they say (or realize what they’ve agreed to), so we remained a little worried.
- How to make sure there is SOME light for Zoe but not so much that Ella won’t be distracted by all she can see
- How to make sure Ella gets SOME noise but not so much that Zoe comes out and complains
- How to allow Zoe to watch one show but NOT let Ella know that’s happening
On the first night (Jan 29), we turned on a battery powered pop-up lantern for Zoe, chose the sound machine (vs. song) for Ella and installed a partial canopy for one end of Zoe’s bed, which she covered with a blanket, so she could watch a show with headphones.
In fact, though I hesitate to jinx it, to this day it is no more difficult than it was to get them to bed AND they sleep better! Zoe hasn’t left the room in the middle of the night once (which was a regular occurrence before the trundle) and Ella has “slept in” to 6 am 4 times in 2 weeks!
Sure, we’re still figuring things out, like age-appropriate book reading, “sharing” toys in “Zoe’s old room”, and trying to make it feel like a truly shared room. But I have to say, I’m hopeful. Among the many things important to maintaining your sanity as a parent, SLEEP is right up there. Wish us luck!