a bedroom decision: a big-boy room for our big boy.

L-Q-Shared-Bedroom-Wide-Shot

since completing the space before Q’s arrival in November 2014, our boys’ shared bedroom has been one of my favorite spaces in our home. the paint color {Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue} is a calming almost-neutral blue that changes from day to evening. the vinyl triangles on the wall have such an impact, especially for so little money. but most of all, the idea of my two boys dreaming away in the same space delighted me.

however, when it came to actually living out the reality of this idea, we hit a few snags.

first, a note on breastfeeding Q, since this definitely impacted our choice to move L into his own room. in December 2015, while i was on holiday break from my full-time job in higher education, i worked hard to wean Q during the day, so that he was only nursing in the evening and during the night. this helped immensely with my supply issues that i had shared before, as instead of pumping at work to try and provide bottles of breast milk for daycare the next day, i was only nursing in the evening and 1-2 times during the night.

after a few weeks of that routine, i weaned Q a bit more, so that he was only nursing before he went to sleep {between 7-8 p.m.} each night. i would nurse him to sleep, and then, once he was settled and sleeping soundly in my arms, i would transfer him to his crib, where he would sleep the duration of the night. this continued until mid-February, when we officially ended our breastfeeding relationship after 15 {mostly successful} months; since i nursed L for 15 months, i wanted to hit that same mark with Q.

after weaning Q completely, we began laying Q down, awake, in his crib in order to establish a bedtime routine and to help him to grow comfortable falling asleep on his own. during the first week or so of this transition, we had L fall asleep in Mama and Daddy’s bed, so that Q could adjust {we did our own variation of the Ferber check-and-console method, which also helped baby L to learn to feel comfortable falling asleep on his own} to this new bedtime arrangement. Q adjusted within two weeks to this new routine, and he even seemed to relish being laid in his crib, snuggled up with a soft blanket and his beloved Mickey Mouse {he loves to suck on Mickey’s nose as he falls asleep!}.

so, after Q adjusted and would put himself to sleep consistently, night after night, we began conducting L’s bedtime routine {a few books, apple juice and prayers} in the living room before laying L down to sleep in the boys’ shared bedroom.

in short: this did NOT work.

both of our boys are snore-makers, and L is a rather restless sleeper, meaning that he often kicks off his covers, turns and rolls in his sleep, and even mumbles or talks from time to time. these factors compounded with both boys in the same bedroom, and L and Q would wake each other up numerous times throughout the night, which resulted, come morning, in not only two sleepy and cranky children, but also two exhausted parents.

in an effort to make this work, we tried multiple variations of this bedtime routine: we tried putting L down to sleep first. we tried putting both boys down to sleep at the same time. we tried snuggling with L in his bed {while Q was already asleep in his crib} to help our oldest to fall asleep quicker and more quietly. sadly, nothing worked.

so, out of desperation {and utter sleep deprivation}, we decided to move L into a “big-boy room” downstairs {what was formerly the guest room/third bedroom/Jord’s video game zone}. even though i had determined long ago that no child of mine would sleep an entire floor away from me, his Mama, until he was in elementary school at least {a vow that makes me laugh hysterically now}, we found ourselves, just three weeks ago, painting walls and moving furniture up and down the stairs, and planning decor.

L’s “big-boy room” is nearly completed now {and we can’t wait to show it to you…after we hang some curtains and a few more decor items}, but after living with this arrangement for just a couple of weeks, here’s how we know that this decision is working for all four of us:

  1. our littlest, Q, sleeps SO much more soundly – he’s sleeping up to 12 hours each night in his crib without a peep!
  2. L wants to show off his “big-boy room” to anyone and everyone that comes over to our house. in short, he’s so delighted to have his very own space.
  3. apart from a few exhausting nights when our dear L was feeling under the weather, he’s done remarkably well with adjusting to sleeping downstairs. the first few nights, he asked us to stay downstairs while he fell asleep, which we were happy to do – after all, our lower level makes us quite happy – but as soon as we heard him snoring away {or, more likely, as soon as we finished that night’s episode of House of Cards – NO SPOILERS – WE AREN’T DONE WITH SEASON 4 YET!}, we’d head upstairs to bed ourselves.?
  4. finally, apart from feeling sick ourselves these past few nights {go away, allergies!}, Jord and i feel like we are {finally!} sleeping soundly. while there are times when we wake up in the night to check on the kids, especially if we hear L stirring or calling out for us {and thankfully, we can hear this pretty well – our bedroom is located right above L’s}, we have our bed to ourselves again, and it’s such a blessing.

up next: the reveal of L’s big-boy room! until then, check out this mood board of sorts on Pinterest to get a design sneak-peek.

{photo by Creative Kindling}

About Sara

Sara works in higher education, but she's most proud of her role as a Mama to two precocious boys, Lionel Conner, age 4, and Quincy August, age 2. In honor of turning 30 in 2016, she pierced her nose to "keep her young." She loves watching guilty-pleasure television, writing about motherhood, decorating her first home, sipping red wine with her husband Jordan, and chasing after her sons.
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