I’ve had my heart set on Isla and Theo sharing a bedroom since long before Theo was born. We have a spare room so it’s not really about space, it’s more about the bonding experience and required sharing that comes with it. Apparently I wasn’t mentally prepared for the challenge. Isla was always a great sleeper. By five months she was sleeping 12 hours straight every night with very few exceptions. Theo, on the other hand, is still up several times each night screaming his little heart out until I give that boy some milk. It’s exhausting for me, but also for Isla because it turns out she’s a light sleeper. It also turns out I’m stubborn so I refuse to give up!
In the beginning, I couldn’t figure out how to get Theo to even sleep in the crib, again, unlike Isla, who took to it easily. I’d have to nurse him to sleep and then try to transition him to the crib without waking him, which never really worked. I would’ve been better off chopping off my arm than pulling it out from under him. Finally, after one particularly difficult night a few days before he turned five months, I decided on the fly I was going to sleep train. Chris was at a work event so I was juggling bedtime on my own and decided I couldn’t take one more night of fighting Theo to sleep. Needless to say, Chris came home to a house of horrors. Isla was yelling, Theo was screaming and I was sitting on the couch in their room silently holding back tears. It was not pretty. Every time Theo did start to quiet down and drift off, Isla would yell “SHE-OH!” and we’d start all over again. Eventually Chris took her into our room to watch Bubble Guppies while I sat on the floor of the nursery (out of sight) and let Theo cry. I got up to rub his back a few times, but never picked him up and tried not to linger for too long.
If you’ve ever sleep trained you know how difficult it can be. The screaming is unbearable. But just when you think you can’t take one more minute because this is cruel and your neighbors are going to call DYFS, it stops. One second Theo was screaming his head off and then suddenly he rolled himself over onto his belly and passed out. And that was that. We brought Isla back into the room about 15 minutes later and Theo slept through the whole thing.
The next night I expected more screaming, but instead I laid him on his back and he instantly rolled over onto his belly and fell asleep. He cried a little on nights three and four, and occasionally he’ll put up a fight still, but for the most part bedtime is smooth sailing. Sometimes we put Isla down first if Theo isn’t tired and I nurse him in our bed and bring him in when he’s ready, and sometimes we’re able to put them down at the same time. Isla never ever got out of bed at nighttime until Theo moved in. She’ll run around, put things in his crib, call his name, unplug the nightlight, bring toys into her bed, get a drink of water or just be a monster, but she eventually makes her way back to her bed and Theo sleeps through it all.
The other night I put Isla in her bed, turned off the light and sat on the couch in their room to nurse Theo. I could see Isla was watching us but was hoping she’d drift off. Not so much. She very slowly climbed out of her bed and with a big, sneaky grin on her face started tip-toeing over to me. She was trying so hard to be stealthy that she was losing her balance as she teetered on each foot. I’m certain she thought I couldn’t see her because the light was off and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. She then climbed onto the couch, nuzzled herself under my free arm, started sucking her thumb/twirling her hair and cuddled with us until Theo was done eating. This is now her favorite bedtime ritual and I secretly love the double cuddles.
If only I could get Theo to stop waking up three times every night and we’d be all set!
Are your kids in a shared room? Are you sleep training? Do you have a baby/kid who will not sleep through the night? I’d love to hear your stories, especially if you’ve mastered two kids in one room and want to drop some knowledge on the rest of us coffee addicts!