There are so many advantages to living in Manhattan with young kids. There are always things to do on the weekends, hundreds of playgrounds, Central Park and all the activities offered there, thousands of classes… I could go on and on. But there is one thing that Manhattan doesn’t have, and that is space.
Currently, we live in a 2 bed, 2 bath apartment on the Upper East Side. It’s a little over 1,000 sq. ft and it’s perfect for my family of four. Of course, having only 2 bedrooms means that the kids have to share a room (and it’s not enough space when we have overnight guests!)
Luckily, I have two boys so they can share a room longer than siblings of the opposite sex. Now that they are 4.5 and 2.5 years old, it’s great that they share a room – their beds, toys and clothes are all in their bedroom and they have a walk-in closet where we store everything. I love watching them play together in their room when they’re not fighting over something. Getting them to share a room was not always easy though. Sleeping arrangements have varied over the last several years, and I can’t remember the last time the boys slept in their room and husband and I slept in our room all night. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s never happened before.
My oldest, Logan, has been sleeping in his own room since he was about 2 years old. We were co-sleeping/sharing a room before that, but I had to move him to his own room when the baby came. To help with the transition, my husband would sleep with him. Having Logan in a separate room was a blessing when Max was a baby. Max would nurse half the night and would scream if he wasn’t fed right away. Logan was teething and having night terrors around this time, so he would scream half the night. Having the kids in two separate rooms prevented them from waking each other up, so that at least one kid got a decent amount of sleep, even if the parents didn’t.
Then came the day when I knew Max had grown out of co-sleeping. He told me, in his limited words, at 18 months that he wanted to sleep in Logan’s room. We had a toddler bed all ready for his use in the kids’ room and he just crawled in and started sleeping there. Although the transition to keeping two kids in one room was not hard since it was initiated by Max, there have been nights when sharing rooms have been a problem.
For example, my kids had a very hard time with teething. When Max was teething, he would scream and only a bottle would console him. So in the time that it took us to heat the bottle and bring it back, Logan would wake up from the screaming. This meant that one kid got moved to Mommy’s bed while Daddy slept with the other one in the kids’ room. There were nights when one kid (or both) have been sick and coughing all night, eventually waking up the other one. This also meant that one kid got to sleep with Mommy. We’ve also had nights where someone has a nightmare and only sleeping with Mommy will fix the problem. Basically, even though they “shared” rooms, Mommy’s bed was there to fix any issues that came up.
We are finally at a place now where both kids sleep all night except in cases of illness or nightmare. Unfortunately, my husband never moved out of Logan’s bed. I don’t think the kids really need him there except to fall asleep and put them back down if they wake up – but my husband doesn’t see them much during the day so he’s having a hard time letting go. For now, I don’t plan on pushing the issue since I get the big bed to myself. There are still nights when one kid cries for some reason, but they are both pretty deep sleepers so they don’t wake up easily. And if they do, Mommy’s bed is always there for them.
I have no idea what we will do if we have another baby though. We may need to buy bigger beds.
Will your kids share a room together?