The evolution of bed-time

Dear sisters,

Archer and Era have a pretty great bedroom. Our house is a relatively simple design and the two main bedrooms upstairs are the same size as the downstairs living room and sitting room. They have beautifully high ceilings and the bedroom is large enough to fit what we call a queen sized bed (confusingly known as a king-sized bed here)* and a single bed. When we moved here, it seemed obvious to put them in together, as the third bedroom in the house is tiny and I was anxious to keep a guest bedroom.

When we first moved to the house in March, I started getting Era ready for bed at 7 to get her into bed at 7:30. Then I walked downstairs, played with Archer, started getting him ready for bed, and put him to bed at 8:30. I was spending a lot of time putting kids to bed, and I got tired of it. Archer and I had to creep into the bedroom quietly, and he loves to read and play before bed. And if Era happened to wake up, it was all over. She’d cry, and some nights I’d rock her to sleep in my arms until Archer fell asleep in his bed, and then I’d lay her down and creep out of the room.

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So a few months ago we switched to putting them to bed at the same time, starting bedtime routine at about 7:30 and aim to be in bed between 8 and 8:30. Era in her cot would often still end up watching Archer play for awhile, but they’d both settle down and sleep well. If Era fussed when I left, I could hear Archer sing her a bedtime song. Archer tells me that they invented a game where they press their hands through the walls of the pack and play and make each other laugh. And sometimes when I came back upstairs, I’d find lights blazing, toys strewn around, and both of them asleep.

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For the past few weeks, Archer and Era have been begging me to sleep in bed together. Era says ‘Da-choo, beh, Da-choo beh’ (she says Archer’s name ‘Da-choo’ all the time now, and also her own name, ‘Rah-Rah’). It always seemed like an adorable idea. Archer was excited about it too, as he has been sleeping on the single bed on the floor, and I would always cave and say yes, only to come back into their room about five times to threaten pain and suffering unless they just went to bed and finally give up and put Era back in her crib.

My mistake was actually trying to have them in the same bed. Once I took out another mattress and laid it next to Archer’s, we had success. We are now on our fourth night of Era out of her crib and on the floor next to Archer. She’s still napping in her crib during the day but she loves this new arrangement. When I put her to bed she says goodnight quickly, to get me out of the room. She scrunches up her lips for a kiss and flops onto her pillow, as happy as can be.

This isn’t really a success story (yet) because sharing a room means they take longer to settle down, and Archer is going through a phase of resisting bedtime. He also complains that when he’s trying to sleep, she pokes him in the eye with potato head parts 🙂 But by 9 or so, I come upstairs to find this.

Beds everywhere and they sleep on the floor
Beds everywhere and they sleep on the floor

I can’t believe my baby is sleeping in a big bed now! But hearing them make each other laugh behind the closed door reminds me again and again how lucky they are to have each other. When we found out we were having a girl, I think I had a twinge of regret that Archer wouldn’t have a brother play-mate. But now that Era is here, I love seeing the way they play together and love each other. Archer tells Era that she is the ‘loveliest girl in the whole world’, and his name is the first thing she says in the morning. I hope they always love each other as much as they do now, even if that love is hidden deep down during their teenage years. 🙂

Love, your old roomie,

Martha

*what we call a king sized bed is called a super-king sized bed, which can make buying sheets confusing.

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