Sometimes I think Smartypants and I are just suckers for punishment.
We had a decent bedtime routine going. Both kids were finally sleeping pretty well. We actually felt rested in the morning.
Then we decided to let the kids share a room. TL was diligently trying to scale the crib rails. Her swift progress alarmed me. So we switched her to a twin bed on the floor. But since we have always wanted the kids to share a room for at least part of their childhood, we also moved TL into her brother’s room. It’s been bedtime chaos since.
Needless to say, I’m craving a good night’s sleep again. Transitioning TL (14 months old at the time) to a twin bed on the floor went smoothly. What we didn’t foresee was big brother’s determination to sleep by her side on the floor. Sweet, isn’t he? But not so sweet in practice. By virtue of proximity, they tend to disturb each other more frequently. Sometimes by accident. Sometimes with mischievious intent.
There have been a few good nights, but they are still working on some basic courtesy. They get into each other’s sleep space. They get into tug of wars over blankets, just because. They poke their fingers in each other’s facial orifices. They now wake up together at an earlier time, ready to play.
Throw in teething, night terrors, and the usual stubborn resistance to sleep no matter how exhausted they may be.
But all in all, they are learning what it means to be roommates. And we are learning as well how to encourage them in this. Or go nuts. Whichever comes first.
There is something so special about growing up together, whether as siblings or as childhood friends. My kids are only 16 months apart. With that comes many a fierce tug-of-wars and jealous rivalry. Although sharing is never easy, we do want sharing to be the norm and expectation for them at home. They may not understand it yet at their developmental stage currently, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be challenged to do so. However, I’m also learning to give them space and times apart so they don’t get too frustrated. They need that too. It’s a tricky balance.
More than anything, we hope that the ups and downs of sharing life together will ultimately help grow their friendship. There will be plenty of opportunities to be apart and find their own individuality, but these early years are a precious time for them to be together.
Early one morning, we heard them chatting in bed. Then there were a few shrieks and a few giggles. Then we heard the pitter patter of their footsteps as they walked side by side down the hall to our room. One led the way while the other carried both their beloved blankets. They were smiling and ready to start the day together. I personally would have preferred another hour of sleep. Nevertheless, as I saw them standing together in their pajamas, hair tousled, goofy mischief written all over their faces, working together as a team to wake us up, I am reminded of what a precious gift it is to have a sibling.