September 9, 2014 25 Comments
Welcome to the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Home Tour
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.
When Daniel and I bought our house 12 years ago, we made sure to choose one that had space for a child. We planned to have one child; we thought we might consider having two, but in choosing the house we were allotting space for one. Here’s the whole story that led to our daughter Lydia being born in May, nine years younger than her brother Nicholas. “Everybody knows” that siblings with such a large age gap don’t share a bedroom and/or that siblings of opposite sexes don’t share a bedroom…but I’ve never quite understood how a newborn baby can share a bedroom even with her three-year-old sister: Doesn’t the baby’s crying to be fed every few hours disturb the older child’s sleep?
Besides, our experience with getting Nicholas to sleep put me firmly in favor of co-sleeping with my baby at least until she’s weaned. It’s just so convenient to respond to those 2am whimpers by opening my nightgown and cuddling the baby closer, instead of dragging myself out of my warm bed and into a chair in another room where I’d have to stay awake the whole time she’s nursing! Daniel fully supports my sleeping with our babies, but he isn’t all that keen on sleeping with anyone and is sometimes disturbed even by my presence; a few weeks of sleeping with the newborn Nicholas (and me) convinced Daniel that co-sleeping was something he could handle only on an occasional basis. Therefore, we couldn’t use our master bedroom for co-sleeping with baby Lydia–and for many reasons, we’d concluded that having the family bed in the kid’s room works best for our family.
The trouble was, we didn’t have a spare room that could become Lydia’s bedroom. Our house has three private, upstairs rooms, but the back one seems to have been built as a sleeping porch and later enclosed–it partially overhangs the back yard, and that half of the room is encased in siding rather than brick–and although we got extra insulation added when we had the siding replaced, that room gets much colder than the rest of the house in the winter. That’s why we use it as Daniel’s home office rather than a bedroom. It would not be a healthy sleeping place for a baby. Also, Daniel works from home and is an introvert; he needs his own room.
We thought back to what we’d learned from the apartment where we couldn’t sleep in the bedrooms and the home-buying process that inspired: Instead of making a list of rooms we needed, we made a list of spaces we wanted to have. When we toured a house that we thought might be the one, we tried to work out where each of the spaces would fit. One of the things that attracted us to this house we bought was the large and versatile dining room.