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March 27, 2013

Brothers at Bedtime

When I was pregnant with Henry, I had three prayers for him:


  1. That he would live. – Check.
  2. That he would have either the same food allergies as Jacob or none at all. –Still to be determined.
  3. That he would SLEEP. – Dare I say, CHECK?


I know that people live with many more people than four in much smaller spaces than a two-bedroom apartment, but until now, I really didn’t know how. (I still don’t know how in a lot of senses, but run with me here.) I spent a whole lot of time during my pregnancy worrying about the logistics of getting two kids to bed at the same time. Turns out, for us, the answer is simple: Do bedtime routine as per normal, then walk out of the room. Done.


Jacob slept in our room until he was four months old. When Henry was two months, I felt the time to make the switch had arrived. I felt a little guilty at making it happen sooner with Henry, but then remembered that:

a)    I’m a much better mom when I’m well rested; and

b)   John and I both have older brothers. We survived. Henry will too.


For a couple weeks we were putting them down separately, which was fine when both John and I were home. It was harder when John had to travel or work late, but even then, it wasn’t impossible to get them both in bed. It just took longer.


It was only one night when I was on my own to get both boys in bed and quiet by eight pm, when I was hosting my writers’ group, that I realized the answer could be so simple. Henry has acclimated night and day quickly, thanks to the routine we keep for Jacob. It is only natural that he would understand how bedtime works as well. I can hold Henry through stories, prayers, and songs, nurse a little as needed, and then say a double good night. If it weren’t still Lent, I’d ask for an “Alleluia!”


What’s more than the routine, I believe that their sharing a room, knowing that someone else is in there with them, helps both of them to settle down. If we play our cards right, Henry doesn’t really fuss when I put him down, and Jacob hasn’t been up talking or singing nearly as long as he used to. It seems that they are content to be with each other, and that makes me really, really happy.


We haven’t sleep trained yet, so it’s yet to be seen how extended early morning crying factors into the equation. But for now, I am blown away by how well this setup has worked out. The relationship between these two brothers is on its way, and what a beautiful path it is thus far.

  1. genius. this post is sheer genius. We’re in all kinds of disarray when it comes to sleep arrangements at our house… but I’m starting to think that Zoe can really start to sleep in the room with Slade. Does Jacob sleep in a toddler bed? I think I remember that he does, right? I’m mostly nervous about Zoe climbing in the crib with Slade and “helping” him sleep

    • Yes, Jacob has been in a toddler bed since before Henry was born, so we didn’t have any issue with whose bed was whose. Jacob doesn’t come out of his bed unless we go in and get him, so the climbing is not a worry on our end . . . yet. Jacob definitely talks to Henry, but there is space for a hamper between their beds, so Jacob would have to get out of his to reach Henry.

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