We are moving our kids from bunk beds to single beds.
This is very disturbing to them.
They have been roommates ever since our son graduated from a crib to a real bed. Every night he left his bed and crawled in with his big sister. While this was cute and adorable and instagram-worthy, it wasn’t convenient.
It wasn’t convenient when sis kicked him out of her bed “on accident”. It wasn’t convenient when one of them was sick and then both of them were sick. It wasn’t convenient when two thrashing-in-their-sleep AND extremely-ticklish toddlers were sharing one small bed. Andrew simply didn’t want his own room. He felt safer, more secure, better when they were together.
So we bought bunk beds for them and consolidated space. We turned one room back into a guest room, another became an “office” and the kids have shared a room ever since.
Now they are growing up and so are their toy, book and clothing collections. Andrew hits his head every time he sits up too fast. Emma bumps her head on the ceiling without even trying. It’s time to look out for their future and save them some head trauma. We’re getting them single beds and eventually moving them into separate rooms.
But they’re both a little terrified about this prospect. The room is “theirs”. They each know where all their stuff is. They’ve each gotten to help decorate it. They’ve each built their own little world within that shared and sacred space. They’re safe, secure… and it’s better. For now.
We are thinking about tomorrow, and 2015, and beyond. We have a plan that will give them their own space, help teach them independence and force them to grow and develop in ways that they haven’t yet.
They don’t care about our plan. They like the safety of what they know.
We know what they need, now and in the future. We see them as they are right now, 6- and 7-years old AND as they are in two or three or five years.
They want things to stay the way they are, because the way they are right now is the way “they’ve always been”. It’s what “has always worked”.
The truth is obvious, isn’t it? It certainly hasn’t “always been” this way and even though it works now, it hasn’t “always worked”. They’re only 6 and 7. At best, it’s a very recent history thing.
Andrew used to fall off the bottom bunk in the middle of the night, so we moved him up to the top. This was wildly successful until he jumped off the top bunk one afternoon. Emma loved the bottom bunk but began to hit her head on the top bunk (if you’ve never met her, she’s fantastically tall for her age). So we switched them. For a solid month this seemed to be a terrible idea that neither one of them would ever really get used to. And then they did.
One night they started sleeping better and so did we. One night they forgot about “the way things used to be” and got used to “the way things are”. Because they are kids and they are good at that sort of thing. And they’ll do it again.
Maybe the rest of us can learn something from them.