The way we sleep

Winter’s approaching, though you’d barely notice. Sophie was out in the paddling pool on Tuesday morning, helping me to clean all the bath toys that had found their way outside during summer and stayed there gathering dirt and cobwebs. She was home from Kindi with a little virus that reared its head Monday night with a temperature and sore throat. Thankfully she normally gets over illnesses quickly and with a little extra rest she is soon back to standing on her head and bouncing off every surface. She’s a tough cookie. However, the sore throat and fever did require some extra loving: On Monday night she came downstairs saying she couldn’t get back to sleep around 9.30pm. She was so hot and it was cooler downstairs so Dan and Sophie ended up playing happy campers on a couple of mattresses on the living room floor.

We do like to play musical beds at Chez Lee at the moment, but we are getting some sleep – which is the all important goal!

I am staying put in my bed with Alice, whilst Dan is floating between our bed, Sophie’s room (she has a double futon) and Charlotte’s bed (she has moved her whole bedroom back upstairs, but decided to sleep in her old room downstairs; where there is now a comfy double bed!).

Charlotte has now made every bedroom, apart from ours, her room in the short three year’s we’ve been living in our current home!

We are fortunate to have lovely, spacious bedrooms. We have three upstairs and one downstairs. The downstairs one is really useful as a spare room/play room. Since Charlotte moved back upstairs I have now put all the ‘big’ under three toys in the new ‘spare’ room. It’s handy having them close to the main living area as I know how little people prefer to play close to the adults and the action. Under three toys tend to be so space consuming and I’m glad to have the downstairs room free to store many of them; rather than tripping over building blocks, giant lego, farms and train-tracks in the living room.

Charlotte’s more delicate possessions are now safer upstairs. She’s moved on to books and stationery being her main loves. She’s frequently got ‘works in progress’ on the go and they will need to be safely shut away when little Miss Alice starts to move!

Goodness knows where Alice will eventually sleep. She’ll be in our bedroom for a while yet, so no need to think about that for the moment. I might end up putting a futon on the floor in our bedroom for her – but need to safe proof our bedroom and clear under our bed first!

Sophie never slept in a cot and was happy on a futon, which also made for easy night feeds. Charlotte was in a cot, but we quickly moved her onto a double mattress on the floor, way before 18 months. It was great as we never had any issues of making the transition from a cot to a ‘big bed’ or getting arms and legs stuck in cot bars.

I have a cot up for Alice, but doubt we’ll use it much. I’ve really gone off them. I didn’t know any different when Charlotte was born and then I started reading about Montessori philosophies and the ‘Continuum Concept’ and felt that a mattress on the floor was more practical and convenient for night feeds, as well as making for a happier child (well, it’s worked for us!).

I sometimes dream of a house with functional living areas all on one level, centered around the main living area.

Instead of separate bedrooms there would be one main room for sleeping, with partitions. Nearby would be the laundry room with wardrobes for every member of the family; so that clean clothes could be put straight into the correct place.

With everyone sleeping in one area there would be no need to heat multiple bedrooms (great for the environment and a whole lot cheaper too). Few New Zealand homes have central heating and although we have underfloor heating downstairs it doesn’t heat the rooms upstairs in winter; so we still need individual plug in heaters in the bedrooms.

In my dream home the main living area would have two zones; one for the adults to relax in – where ornaments, artwork, cushions, candles and vases of flowers would all be safe (Ha, ha! Might need a lock on the door to this room!); and one for the children with soft furnishings safe for them to bounce around on and space for them to be creative. Then there would be the cooking and dining area, which would overlook the children’s play-space so that multi-tasking could be easily accomplished.

Finally, a study room with computers and lots of books would be a dream.

One things for sure, sleep is high on our list of priorities and we are happy as long as we get some – no matter where! I’m getting enough as long as I go to bed soon after the older girls and Dan is better off with the big girls – as little Alice keeps him awake with her noisy night feeds, snuffles, grunts and trumps! And he needs his ‘thinking’ head to succeed at work and bring home the bacon!

Meanwhile, Alice is now settled and pretty much asleep between 7 or 8 till midnight and then she wakes every two to three hours till 7am, when she is up for the day. She has about 4 naps a day at the moment – I’m not counting. She sleeps in a sling or the front-pack for all her naps – or over my shoulder or on my lap!

She drifts off like a dream and wakes happy πŸ™‚

Links:

No Crib for a Bed: A Montessori Approach

Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three
by Paula Polk Lillard (Author), Lynn Lillard Jessen (Author)

The Continuum Concept
by Jean Liedloff

The Liedloff Continuum Network