27 January 2012

the biggest bed in the world

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We've been playing musical beds around here for such a long time. Trying to keep flexible enough to accommodate everyone's needs as they grow and change and their needs change. Often we (and by we I mean Huz) will need to sleep in another bed so that an owlet (usually little owlet) can snuggle in and we can all sleep soundly. Our combined needs have changed so much that we now own at least one bed of each size from bassinette to king sized bed. And we've moved the bunks way more times than I can remember. They've been in every room as we've moved between variations on co-sleeping and personal space. I'm a little tired of the musical beds game...

What I do know is that we need to provide the space for the owlets to sleep near us if they need. It's always a bit of a tug of war, this growing up stuff. Our owlets ebb and flow through bursts of independence and needing to be a babe in arms all over again. We could choose to not respond to that need and send them back to bed, time after time, escorting them to the loo for the umpteenth time... Or we could just make some room, both in our beds and our hearts. One day they will sleep in houses of their own and we will miss this.

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So, right now we have the biggest bed in the world. Well, maybe not that big, but big enough for us. A king and a queen sized bed pushed together, which fills the room entirely. There's ample room for everyone. And there's still a bed to escape to elsewhere should someone need some space. Right now I have three owlets sleeping soundly. Little owlet's heart just about exploded as she told us this was her dream come true... I expect she'll be sharing the space for a while yet, and that's just fine by all of us. Yes, we will sleep well tonight.

22 comments:

  1. Yay. We've had a queen & king single next to each other since I was pregnant with number two and now have a bunk over the single so we have a two story bed :) I expect mr. 2.5 will be ready to move out before Ms. 5.5. Her needs for closeness are stronger and that's ok.

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    1. I must say, I've found 5yo to be a particularly needy age for both my big girls. Little owlet slept happily in her own room for a long while, before her current need arose. Big Owlet went through a similar thing at the same age and we moved her bed in next to ours... It is so important to watch for those changes and respond to them, I reckon ;)

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  2. I love love love this. And as for tiny in that huge bed - OH! The cute XXX

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  3. hello :-)
    i have to say, that is so so cool. its perfect in fact :-)

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    1. Hi manda, lovely to meet you :) Thanks. xx

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  4. Is there anything more sweeter than watching our children slumber?

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    1. Possibly the only thing sweeter is watching my eldest sigh happily at the sight of her youngest sibling slumbering beside her <3

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  5. What a great idea! I just told my husband the other day I would love to sleep all together in one room. Now I just could show him what my idea was. It must me lovely and heartwarming to see your loved ones sleep so tight. Wonderful!

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    1. It is so gorgeous, Monique! Happy smiling faces every morning :)

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  6. I agree that children need their parent in varying degrees but to accommodate them beyond 2 ½ is in my view not very healthy , children should know and understand they are loved and very important to there Loved ones but keeping them that close for an extended period of time can only stunt emotional growth and the natural forming of independence both in thought and deed. Children need boundaries and parents need to have time to be child free, by that I mean close to hand but not in each others space. For how can the child learn what it is to be an individual. Can only harbour over dependency and clip there emotional wings.
    Lilly

    Breaux Bridge, La.

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    1. What a ridiculous idea to dictate a maximum age for sharing physical and emotional closeness during sleep. Children learn to be independent by moving away from the parents at their own pace, and if they need to come back and check in every now and again, it's a natural part of development and they will move away in their own time.

      My oldest daughter, who did not bedshare with me and who was in her own room after 1yo, wanted to come back and co-sleep when she was six, which we agreed to because it seemed like the only way to deal with massive struggles we were having over sleep. She instantly stopped resisting sleep, and eventually moved out when she was eight, after her sister was born, so for a while it was all four of us in the same room. We had a QS and KS next to each other and a single mattress on the floor for her. She's now 14 and very mature and independent, while still having a strong, stable bond of attachment. If we HADN'T respected her need to reconnect through something she missed out on in her earliest years by forcing her to stay in her own room, it would have harmed her development of emotional autonomy.

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    2. ^^^^ Also note the bit about sibling born in the interim - the advantage of everyone sharing a family bed is that it leaves plenty of spare rooms to be "child free" in ;)

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    3. Hi Lilly,

      I appreciate your thoughts, but we tend to treat our owlets as individuals with individual needs and we respond to them as they arise. This helps them understand that they always have our support and love and gives them a firm ground to launch independently into the world, which they will, in their own time.

      I thoroughly agree that children need boundaries, as do all human beings to some extent and we communicate those boundaries very effectively with them, where appropriate. As for child free space, we now have a room for the children to play and a room for our own creative and intellectual pursuits, so you see we have absolutely made the most of our space.

      It may interest you to know that a whole family sleeping together in one room is quite the norm in traditional Japanese homes, along with many other cultures. It is both practical and commonsense, saving space while providing nurture and support where necessary.

      We are very happy with our choices and how we choose to parent our children and I'd ask that you consider that before you find fault and offer your opinion. We have researched widely and base our decisions on evidence and instinct, rather than the opinions of others. But thanks for reading. I hope you find something here that moves you to respond in a positive, non judgemental way and you feel like visiting again sometime.

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  7. Which is why grown ups sleep together... because they need to clip their emotional wings and become over dependent on each other?

    Perhaps do a little research, do a little thinking and write your own opinions on your own blog Lilly of Breaux Bridge, La.

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  8. Our daughter co-slept with us until SHE was ready to move to her own bed. That happened to be just after her 5th birthday. In the two years since she changed rooms, she has refused to co-sleep, much preferring her own space. Does that sound like she's over-dependent, Lilly? No, I didn't think so.

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  9. Neither of my kids has ever slept with us, but the biggest bed looks great. I want one just for me :-) hahaha. Seriously though, we clearly parent very differently but the positive commonality I see here is the care and consideration of your life with your children, and this is what we share. What is most lovely for me here is you celebrating a detail of your life with your family, despite it being a run of the mill everyday detail (we all go to bed somehow, sometime, somewhere). I need to stop and be happy with the living more :-)

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  10. I am just impressed that cats can type.

    http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/18298159-Lilly-Calico-Cat-Breaux%20Bridge-LA

    And to be honest, by the look of your pic Lilly I suspect that you got kicked out of the litterbox quite early. Maybe harbouring some unresolved issues about your own parental neglect?

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  11. the comments were constructive and I tend to agree with them, but thats just my opinion about bed sharing full time. but I don't think the bitchyness is necessary just because someone doesn't agree with your parenting style. Your children will disagree with you all the time as they are not robots. please don't get nasty over it to them as well as they will leave the nest way too early.

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  12. Interesting. Robots? Really? I doubt this as the people who replied to your opinion believe that our children are free thinking individuals and we involve them in our decisions/conversations. Hardly at all robotic.
    So do you have some of scientific, peer reviewed and evidence based study to back up this notion of robotic children prematurely moving out of home? Should be expecting my two year old to be scanning the classifieds for a rental dometime soon?

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  13. Anon, I'm just not sure why you want to waste your time sharing "just [your] opinion" on co-sleeping on a co-sleeping family's blog, frequented by other co-sleepers. You must know you can't change our minds and that "just [your] opinion" is actually quite rude because by coming here to share it you are really coming here and telling us we're parenting wrong. You may not see it that way, but how else is it meant to be taken? Perhaps read some of the research on co-sleeping and if you're not up for chaning "just [your] opinion" find blogs by non-co-sleepers to share it with.

    None of us have any problem with our children disagreeing with us. We're in relationships with them. You are "anonymous" behind a computer screen, it's a little different. Please don't equate us disagreeing with you with the very loving and connected relationships we have with our diverse and autonomous childrem who choose to co-sleep with us.

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  14. Owlet Mama,

    Excuse me not knowing your name-- I found your blog on a Google search and this is the post I landed on! I'll browse more later. Anywho, next month I am creating a similar setup. We have two cheap hotel Sertas now, queen size. I will be buying two newish queen matresses to put on top of each of those, giving us two queens side by side. There will be no bedframe in our set up.

    I also intend to bring my 2 1/2 year old back into bed with my 16 month old and I, and hopefully my husband! My question is this: did you have to do anything special to keep the bed together? We currently have a crib sidecarred to our queen and anchored down with straps. Are straps and such necessary?

    Thank you!

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