Let me first qualify this post by saying, I know nothing about babies. Really. I’ve never been a baby person, nor have I spent any substantial time with them. We’re totally winging it over here.
We originally bought a two bedroom house (albeit a tiny one) because we envisioned having a guest/baby’s room (and in that order). I remember being pretty self-righteous and saying things like “Elch, why in the world do people dedicate an entire room to ‘kid-stuff’?!” I said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again, I know nothing.
Our approach to the monkey’s sleeping situation was not guided by any particular method, it was simply that we couldn’t decide on a crib. Between cost, design and our tiny space, I remember throwing my hands up in frustration and saying, “Why do we even need a crib?!” I was thinking about having just a day bed so that my mother (and other guests) could have an actual bed to sleep in. But again cost, design, and space were not intersecting. And I felt like I had time to decide since I knew he’d be sharing our room for the first part of his life.
I wasn’t sure how we would establish our family sleeping situation; I didn’t even know how I felt about it other than the extreme stereotypes represented in RomComs everywhere: Hippy-Dippy Family Beds whilst shunning vaccinations vs. ice-cold, detached robot parents who farm our raising their kids to a staff. Surely there were more options than this?! I implored the same approach we had with Heston’s impending arrival: we would just figure it out. We started by RENTING the most beautiful (and functional) bassinet, but my little guy didn’t do much sleeping in it (much to my disappointment.) And really, if I could have had my way, I think I would have preferred co-sleeping with H until he was
in college old enough. But by 7 months when we knew H could lay on his back without choking (and sort of roll over) we knew it was time to fish or cut bait. I felt like I had this window to transition him and this was it. Armed with some research and my sleep bible, we put Heston on a mattress on the floor.
This has not been the best decision for hosting guests (or it is the best depending on how you look at it 😉 ) but thus is life. Nothing about Heston’s life has been what we thought it would be, so why should his sleeping arrangements and our furniture choices be any different?
Once I started reading all this Montessori stuff; most of it really resonated with me. And boy did I have to do a 180 from “no kid stuff” to “adults no longer live in your house.” (or so it felt!) Clearly from the photos, we’re not 100% Montessori. (But it’s hard to be 100% anything, amiright?!) Apparently, everything is supposed to be kid-sized in the kid’s room, but that didn’t work for us. (Hello huge, antique armoire-that-contains-all-the baby-crazy-stuff-because-my-house-has-no-storage.) And really it’s been a process to get his room to the state it’s in now. When we first put him on the mattress there were cords and kid hazards everywhere…but he wasn’t crawling. It was a game changer when he became mobile; that’s when I had to really think about things like outlets and furniture falling over, and hiding places out of view of our camera. And as he grows, I’ll have to continue to tweak little things, but he’s got the gist of it…now.
And really we couldn’t be happier with our choice to do this. I definitely questioned it a few times… especially when he spazzes out and crawls around the room screaming because he is so tired. But the reward is his independence, no fear of transitioning to a “big boy bed” and getting to lay down with him among other things. Also, I’m not worried about him falling out of a crib.
We keep “quiet toys” in a bucket that he can access any time. And he regularly goes to his bookshelf wall and grabs books to read. He goes in fits and starts whether he does this in the morning. More often than not, he sits patiently on his bed and stares at the door, refusing to put a toe on the rug. B & I say he’s pretending the rug is “hot lava”! If (and when) he wakes up crying, at a nap or in the morning, I know he’s not well-rested and so I steel myself for a cranky baby for the next few hours… and know that we’ll get to try again soon.
When we first started sleeping separately, we all had to get used to so much freedom. See the photos below that make me a serious contender for #motheroftheyear!
Shockingly I love all this kid-sized/proof stuff because it’s helping him be so independent. (This from a woman who still wears her baby daily.) But maybe it’s that balance that I like. I’m also in LOVE with the fact that he can understand so much and can do it himself (the Montessori mantra)! He started brushing his own hair — or at least trying! He can bring stuff (i.e. a dirty diaper!) to the other parent if you ask! He can crawl to his weaning table and that tells me he is hungry! He crawls to his room/bed when he’s tired! It’s mind blowing and I feel so proud every time we communicate (without tears!)….all because
…we couldn’t decide on a crib.