Since Kembe came home from Haiti, we’ve been playing a bit of the musical chairs with our sleeping arrangements. We have tried every combination imaginable. The girls have their own room, but India has the occasional night terror, which wakes up Karis, which results in a situation Mark and I lovingly refer to as “Girls Gone Feral”. It is usually resolved by bringing one of the girls into our bed so they can at least scream it out in separate rooms. Then the boys – I swear, Kembe is still on Haiti time. He wakes up at the crack of dawn, whereas Jafta could happily sleep until 9am. He could, that is, if he didn’t have a little brother in his face at 5am baiting him into some sort of mischievous activity like writing on the walls or lining the bunk rail with playdoh because Kembe knows mommy and daddy are dead to the world. In order to avoid this, we’ve been having Jafta sleep in our room. But then Kembe gets jealous. And sometimes a girl (or two) has made her way into our bed, and somehow this happens:
Now I should mention that I am not a fan of the family bed theory. If you wanna co-sleep and snuggle the night away with your kids, more power to you. I have always been a hands-off kind of sleeper, and fortunately I married someone similar. We have our cuddle – and then we retreat to our separate sides of the bed, leaving plenty of room for the Holy Spirit and a body pillow my husband
resentfully affectionately calls the Joni Mitchell Wall.
Our family sleeping arrangements are endlessly on my nerves, because they aren’t exactly conducive to sleep, and because having a kid or two n the bedroom is not leaving us the space for that little activity that got us into this situation in the first place. (You know what I’m talkin’ about. FILLING OUT HOMESTUDIES. Bom chicka bow wow.)
And naptime is another story altogether. All of these kids could still benefit from a nap, but none of them will actually sleep if a sibling is in the room. So we rotate beds and rooms, and even my room has a toddler bed AND a pack-n-play in the corner to accommodate a child at naptime and in the middle of the night. A little part of my soul dies every time I walk into my bedroom and see TWO beds for children in the corner.
The only solution I can come up with is that we need a fourth bedroom. Except, I don’t want to move, and we can’t afford an add-on. One day, I started hunting around the house trying to figure out how we could bunk one of these kids somewhere else. The garage seemed a little neglectful. An airstream wouldn’t fit in the breezeway (I measured). The coat closet was a contender . . . but finally I set my sights for a little bit of attic space I assumed was above the closet in the boys’ room. I just knew there was some space up there that we could create into a little loft for Jafta. We had our contractor friend come over and he agreed it was likely, but didn’t have time to confirm. A few weeks went by, and I was itching to get this project going.
Yesterday, I got a wild hair and decided to take a hammer to it myself. I didn’t consult with Mark on this plan. The kids and I were having a quiet day at home, and I just decided: today was the day. I grabbed our biggest hammer and told all the kids to come watch mommy bust up a wall.
The boys were THRILLED. They were dancing around and cheering me on, and couldn’t quite believe that I tearing up the house. I think my status as “coolest mom ever” was forever sealed in their minds. I chipped away at that drywall, and the attic space was exactly what I thought it would be. When Mark came home, I showed him what I had done, and after he got over the
fear shock at my spontaneity, he was actually pretty excited. We started scheming how we could create an entrance to the space without blocking the closet int he bedroom, and decided that the linen closet in the hallway would be the perfect place for a hidden ladder.
After the kids went to sleep, Mark and I ripped out the ceiling of the linen closet. It was now about 10pm, but Mark was in the zone, too, and we continued clearing the space. Kembe wasn’t sleeping (perhaps because of the noise?) so we let him crawl up into the space with Mark while he worked. He was SO excited. He kept saying, “I love this! I love my family! I love you guys!” Too cute.
(Last week Kembe was talking about life in Haiti, and he told me he had mommies (nannies) in Haiti, but he had never had a daddy. I think he likes having a daddy).
I’m sure that will be easy. Now, the only problem is figuring out where to store our sheets. Because the linen closet is currently full of adorable children.