In Which My Daughter Does a 180 on Having Her Own Room

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Categories From the Mouths of Multiples, Individuality, Loneliness, Overnight, Parenting Twins, School-Age, Sleep, Talking to KidsTags , , , Leave a comment

My daughters are at a turning point. Being together 24/7 at age 7 as they more deeply explore their distinct interests is grating on each other. M loves to sing and J sometimes just wants her to stop humming. J likes to see the bright side or educational opportunity in every challenge, while M just wants to have the freedom to feel and express her frustrations.

I’d sent the girls off to get ready for bed Sunday when J flounced out of the bathroom and threw herself into my lap.

J: M’s annoying me.
Sadia: Have you talked to her about it?
J: Yes! And she won’t stop!
Sadia: Just find somewhere else to be.
J: silence
Sadia: There are moments when I get frustrated. Sometimes the thing I do is go to a different room and do something distracting.
J: I can’t do that. We’re sisters. We’re in the same place. You don’t get it. Being an adult is so easy.
Sadia: hiding a smile Adulthood has its own challenges. You know, we do have an extra room. Do you want your own room?
J: How would you fix the bed back together?
Sadia: I was thinking you could sleep in the bed that’s already in the guest room.
J: Yeah! I’ll do that tonight.
Sadia: Oh! You need to let your sister know what’s going on so she’s not surprised.

I hadn’t anticipated J’s response. I thought that the idea of sleeping alone would horrify her, as it has done every time Daddy has brought up getting separate rooms. He and his sister were 13 months apart and in the same grade. He cherished the sanctity of his own space.

Five minutes later…

M: getting louder and louder But I don’t like sleeping by myself!
J: M! It’s just for a month.
M: Mommy, J says I’m annoying and she won’t sleep with me.
Sadia: I know, honey. It’s like when you told her last night that she couldn’t sleep in your bed because she was annoying you.
M: It’s not the same. I don’t like sleeping by myself. I only sent her to a bed in the same room. Who’ll sleep with me?
Sadia: What if I sleep in your room?
M: I guess. My bed. I need snuggles because I’m without my sister.
J: It’s for a month, M. In one month I’ll try sleeping in your room if you’re not annoying. If you are annoying I’ll go back to my room for one more month.

With little fanfare, J went to bed in the guest room. We read a chapter of Little House on the Prairie together in J’s new bed. The girls said their prayers.

J: … Thank you, God, for giving me a mom who understands my needs…

The new arrangement lasted one night. In the car yesterday evening, J brought up having come to snuggle with us around 2:00 am when she was suffering a snuggle deficit. She reports our having had a conversation. I didn’t remember it at all. I didn’t think of my lack of memory as a big deal, but J interpreted it as “sleep talking”. She has an inexplicable terror of sleep walking. After many tears and endless attempts on her part to get me to remember the discussion and on my part to show that there was nothing wrong, she elected to sleep in M’s bed for comfort.

I wonder where she’ll decide to sleep tonight. At least she’s convinced that I understand her needs. From my perspective, it’s all a big fat mystery.

Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.

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A slow farewell

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Categories Napping, Preschoolers, Sleep, ToddlersTags , , , 12 Comments

Oh, my friends, it is truly a sad day in my house.  I have come to acknowledge a painful fact.

The nap is on its way out.

*sob*

OK, it’s not gone yet.  And, to be more specific, it’s my son who seems to be getting ready to drop it.  Over the last few weeks, I’d say were at a 50-60% success rate on his nap.  If we do something especially exhausting in the morning, or weather conditions are favorable (I’m not kidding), we get a nap.  If we don’t do much, or if some number of planets are out of alignment, not so much.

It has become quite a balancing act.  You see, even on a good day, he will mess around in his room and sing to himself for a while before going to sleep.  The challenging part is how long to let him continue.  Do I go in after a while and remind him to go to sleep? Sometimes seems to work, sometimes not.  Plus, to make things even more interesting, I find he’s a lot worse-tempered if he ends up falling asleep too late (and I usually end up having to wake him up lest it get too close to dinner and bedtime).  While he’s happiest on the days that he gets a “normal” nap, he’s actually not all that bad when he skips it outright.

I’d love to blame this on our recent transition to separate bedrooms and toddler beds, because who doesn’t like a scapegoat? But the truth is that his naps were going downhill in this very manner for several weeks before we made the switch.  And, at least now he isn’t keeping his sister up.  I also have to count my blessings in that he does stay in his room without a fight, even if he spends much of the time singing at the top of his lungs.

Surprise Chicago Trip

Alas, all good things must come to an end.  I will continue to hold onto our sporadic nap, or quiet time, or break in your room, or whatever you want to call it, for as long as I can.  At a bare minimum, we need the break from each other until September, when they start preschool in the mornings.

Surprise Chicago Trip

I can only hope all that learning exhausts them.

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