March 2011: Your Kids

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 Problem: Getting kids to bed, and to sleep

 

The plan was simple: Olinda, 1, would share a room with her brother Shepard, 3, thus freeing up a guest room for their grandparents’ frequent visits.

 

The Davis family—despite the togetherness in evidence here—found that 1-year-old Olinda sleeps best by herself (just like big brother Shepard).

After a few surprising incidents and many long and sleep-deprived nights, it was clear that the arrangement was not going to work.

Brigette and Charlie Davis have spent the last two years reworking, rehabbing and generally rethinking their Rose Hill neighborhood home. The 1,200-square-foot residence had previously been configured for separate living while serving as a boarding house of sorts. But the Davises were inclined to widen doorways and knock down walls to create a more family-friendly, open living space. The second floor, however, would continue to provide privacy via a master bedroom for the couple, one room for guests and the third for the two young siblings. 

“We started putting them together for naps,” says Brigette. “And that was like a joke.” She goes on to say, “We caught [Shepard] doing some things we didn’t really consider”—such as dropping a large I Spy book on crib-bound Olinda (Brigette is quick to point out that he was trying to be helpful by offering his then-4-month-old sister some reading material). 

Ready to rethink the arrangement, but not to give up on it entirely, the Davises still had their kids share the room at night. Naps were in separate spaces. “We were trying to preserve our idea that the kids’ room was set up as the Kids’ Room, and that this other room was the guest room.”

Flash forward a few months. The kids were keeping each other awake, sometimes giggling for hours and other times, fussing. No one was doing a lot of sleeping, their parents included. 

“We were just so done [by that point],” Brigette recalls. “[Shepard] was just getting really feisty, he was really tired, and it was just too much.” 

Into separate rooms they went and it was a remarkably smooth transition. That first night apart they both fell asleep easily and slept longer than they had in months.

POT IT UP

 

Not just for flowers and herbs, these brightly colored containers (made from bamboo scraps and rice husks) are ready to be filled with baby socks, toy cars, crayons, toothbrushes or cherries. These 100-percent biodegradable “planters” promise years of multi-use. Available at Fifth Season Gardening on Preston Ave. ($1.45-5.75).—C.B.

 

Olinda’s crib moved to the spare room down the hall, along with her clothes and a few toys, but not much else. As a guest room, it had been minimally furnished with a full-size bed, side table and desk (which now occupies the room’s wide closet). The existing burnt-orange walls seemed appropriate enough for a little girl and the addition of flowery wall decals added some feminine flair. 

Now the room is used every day instead of just a few out of each month when the grandparents visit. When they do spend the night, Olinda moves, with her portable crib, into her parents’ room. And everybody gets a good night’s sleep.

Although it wasn’t what Brigette and Charlie had in mind initially, giving their children separate places to rest has allowed everyone peace of mind.

However, when asked if they’d ever reattempt the bedroom merger, Brigette replies with an optimistic smile, “Yeah, oh yeah.”—Christy Baker

 

 

 

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