Sunday, June 3, 2012

If you don't sleep good, we won't sleep good

Recently my husband and I were surfing the home away website, looking for a last-minute vacation spot in Rhode Island in July. While we found lots of cheap, available two-bedroom homes that claim to sleep six people (and three bedrooms that claim to sleep eight to ten), we bit the bullet and splurged on a three-bedroom cottage.

We are a family of four.  Why, why, why, might you ask, do we need so many bedrooms? Can’t the kids bunk together in the same room? Wouldn’t it be so cute and fun?  I answer you this: the kids need separate bedrooms so we all can GET SOME SLEEP. Worth every extra penny spent, every time.  Because there are some basic elements to any good vacation: fun location, quality family time, and rest.  And rest, as in restful sleep, my friend, is of the essence. 

We are devotees to the sleep mavens—Ferber, Weissbluth, Mindell, the Sleep Lady—believe you me, we’ve read them all. I can wax poetic on the pros and cons of each method--but that's for another post.  I’ve heard that other families do fine with two, three, even more young kids sleeping in a bedroom. That’s great for you, I say.  For our two kids, we’ve found that they extremely sensitive to how, where, and when they sleep—each in their own different ways.  We’ve figured out what works for them. They have their own loveys, their own bedrooms with special blackout shades, and a white noise machine humming in the hall between their bedrooms to reduce background noise.  We’ve got daily routines for both kids down pat, and rarely deviate from them, only once in a blue moon. And from experience, that short nap in the ergo, stroller, or car seat, that later bedtime from the plane ride—often means we have hell to pay the next day. Even with all that planning, there’s always the unexpected to disturb their sleep: a fever in the middle of the night, little miss’ recent nighttime coughing, or the sound of her crying in the other room waking the dude up. And that is not relaxing for anyone concerned.

Are we being rigid, you say? Yes, definitely. I never thought we would be so tied to the clock, or that we’d be such sticklers to have them sleep in separate bedrooms.  But as parents of these two young children, we live their ups and their downs every day.  And for these two munchkins in particular, that rollercoaster is made worse or better by the quality of their sleep.  My husband and I have grown to accept it, that’s just who they are.  So if they'll sleep better in separate bedrooms, we will too.

One day they’ll be bigger, and it will be cute and fun to see them snuggle up in bunk beds (after they are done fighting over who gets the top bunk, of course).  But for now, the fun comes from everyone getting a good night’s sleep.  To my children, I paraphrase Vidal Sassoon’s famous comment (with apologies for poor grammar): If you don’t sleep good, we won’t sleep good.

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