Feb 10, 2012  •  In Aerin, Baby, Claire, Parenting, Personal

The Worst Things About Having Two Young Kids…

…is that they will wake each other up in the middle of the night.

Claire had been sleeping 10-12 hours straight through the night since she was about 9 months old. And as you can imagine, all that changed when a screaming newborn came into the picture.

And while this issue wasn’t quite as bad during the second month of Aerin’s life, when she regularly slept 7-8 hours straight through the night, it has recently become more serious as Aerin seems to have hit her 4-month sleep regression a few weeks early — waking up practically every hour during the night for the past week.

Aerin has been sleeping in our room — in her bassinet, the swing, or on our bed — since we brought her home from the hospital. I know that once she outgrows the bassinet, we will move her into a crib. The question is, where will we put the crib when we do not have any extra bedrooms?

Option 1:  Have the girls share Claire’s room. But this can only mean additional months of restless nights for poor Claire. (Because at least now, the sounds of Aerin crying is somewhat muffled by two closed doors and a white noise machine.)

Option 2:  Put Aerin’s crib in our living room. But this means that we will lose access to our living room after she goes down for the night.

Option 3:  Leave Aerin in our room and just move in a crib. But this somehow feels unfair to both girls — Claire for not being around her parents as much as her little sister, and Aerin for not having her own room.

What would you do in our situation?

When we purchased our 2-bedroom, 1067 sqft condo 4 years ago, we definitely did not have babies in mind. (At the time, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted kids.) We didn’t bother to check the school districts, and thought that we would always use the second bedroom as a guest room.

For these reasons, we know that we will be moving to a larger place in a more child-friendly neighborhood within the next few years. But for the moment, we have to make do with what we have.

I ask my mother how she did it when my sister and I were young. Back then, our entire family of four slept together on the floor of a tiny room.

“No one slept,” she answers.


ETA, 2/14/12:  Many commenters are asking if we have a walk-in closet we can convert to a nursery. We do have a large closet in our bedroom, but it is not large enough for a crib. Additionally, our master bedroom is not very well-ventilated, so our closet would be even worse if we close the door. For this reason, we definitely do not want Aerin to sleep in there. 

14 Responses to “The Worst Things About Having Two Young Kids…”

  1. We have friends that have an 8 month old and a 2.5 year old sharing a rather small room. The kids just learned to adapt. I was amazed that the little one slept right through his older sister’s coughing one night when we were over there for dinner.

    With two girls I would just have them share a room. Make sure that maybe that can’t stare at each other through their cribs or something so they both have their space. It will work though.

  2. MTY:

    Sorry, no insight, just wanted to say we have a similar situation. Our girls take turns waking up during the night. They don’t always wake each other up though, so that is a blessing for us. We kept our younger one in the bassinet until she was 8 months. She needed to be moved sooner, but like you, we struggled with the decision. They are in the same room now and we just deal with it on a night to night basis.

  3. We’re facing the same dilemma right now. Two bedroom wartime house, 2.5yo and 5m old. We’ve decided for our own sanity and to help teach the boys to sleep through each others’ rough patches during the night that they’re both going to be in the same room for now. And if baby fusses loudly for too long, he comes into bed with us for a bit.

    Not ideal for our sleep, but we want them to learn how to sleep in the same room. Also, it’s sad to hear our older boy calling out for his baby brother in the night when he wakes up and finds him gone. “Where are you baby? Baby come back!” :)

  4. Nichole:

    I would say keep Aerin in your room until she needs to be in a crib. Then move Aerin to the crib in the 2nd bedroom and put Claire on a mattress on the floor in your room. You’ll all sleep better and Aerin won’t wake everyone up in the middle of the night.

  5. There are 4 kids in my family and at various stages, my parents had up to 3 of us sharing a room. By the time my youngest sister was born, there were 6 people sharing a 2 br, 1 ba house probably the size of your condo. It wasn’t ideal, I’m sure, but no one was scarred by it as far as I can tell. I would just have the girls share a room for now, and, as others have said, they will adapt. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about it!

  6. Ang:

    As others have mentioned, I can attest that my oldest two (17 mos apart) adapted to being in the same room together. For a while, they even had the same sleep/nap cycle, which was really nice.

  7. donna:

    typing wghile pumping so excuse the errors

    both kids sleep un the same room and the other night mt toddler woke up at 4am & crawled into his sistyers crib and i watched bleary eyed as he prodded her and said ‘wake up & play’ and then he saw the video monitor and got really close it and said “mommy? are you awake??? lets play cars!!!’ which then woke up baby…

    i have an aftermath video on youtube of my two naughty kids. that morning at work, you bet i had a cup of coffee…

  8. I’d have them share rooms. Or do option C. I don’t see why that one is unfair – how can one get jealous of not having time together if she’s sleeping?!

  9. By the time our #2 comes, #1 will almost 2.5.

    Our plan is to keep #2 in our room in a pack n’ play until he’s sleeping through the night. We’ll then do a big shuffle. #1’s room is tiny, so they cannot share it. So, we’ll move both kids into the current guest room (which is the 2nd largest bedroom) and make #1’s current room into my husband’s office.

    #1 is a girl, #2 is a boy, so I don’t suspect we’ll have them share forever, but while they are young, they can share the big room together.

    We’re hoping by the time they want separate rooms we’ll have enough money to fix up the attic and make it the office/guest room. Then they can duke it out over who gets the big room and who gets the tiny room (unless there is a #3 by then, in which case the 2 of the same gender can share the larger room).

  10. Marcie:

    I’m voting for sharing a room. Mom & Dad need a space to keep their own, and that’s not selfish just plain good for mental and familial health. Kids are admirably adaptable and resilient, so they will adapt to living with one another (and probably learn to sleep more soundly through the night, an important trait in college….). :) Whatever you do is going to be right for your family, but that’s my 2 cents. (I wouldn’t judge you no matter what.)

  11. wen:

    Do you have a walk-in closet (or any larger/deeper closet) that you can convert?

    It may sound terrible, but I live in NYC and had a friend who had no choice but to convert their WIC into a “nursery” It wasn’t so much a room, just some place to put the crib. They took out a few shelves, repainted it, and stuck the crib in, and it actually came out pretty decent. When you live in/near a city, you do what you can!

  12. Do you have a decent size closet? Younger child slept in a closet for about 18 months, and then we moved her into her three-year-old brother’s room. Fortunately, that was only for about a year and now they’re in separate rooms now.

  13. Cyndi:

    Have them share a room. My sister’s three kids shared a room from infancy to about the time they were 5 or 6. They sometimes woke each other up but honestly those three kids can sleep through anything now. My sister did have problems when they moved and the boys got their own rooms. They missed each other but go over it REALLY quickly! Keep in mind, kids are much more resilient then we are!

  14. Erin:

    Is there a walk-in closet you can turn into a nursery? When I was 5 my newborn sister and I shared a room – I have no unpleasant memories. The other night the firealarm in our house went off. I ran into Max’s room – the alarm IN HIS ROOM, above his crib, was going off – and he just kept sleeping. I use the “it takes babies 3-days to make a habit” rule all the time. I can tough anything out for 3 days :) Maybe after three days the girls sharing a room will feel normal and easy for both of them. I also like option 3 – don’t worry about fairness – it isn’t like sleeping time is quality time.

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