It sounds sort of harsh put that bluntly, but that’s pretty much what happened. We swapped our kids for two bookshelves.*
Our bedroom is now kid free, or at least kid bed free, but it does have a lovely new bookcase.**
In return for banishing the kids to the outer wastes we’ve tried to make their new room as enticing as possible.*** It's not very big, but neither are they, and I think it's cosy.
My Poppet loves her bed. She spends hours in it putting her dolls to sleep, singing to them, giving them milk and reading them stories. “Night, night, sleep well,” she whispers tenderly as she tucks them in.
Poppet's cot, newly draped with a stray length of silk, its original mosquito netting having torn in one of the Sprocket's Tarzan days, is a great nook for reading stories. I know we’ll be spending many many happy hours here.
But… the kids still aren’t that keen on actually sleeping in their room. Certainly not for a whole entire night. While my Poppet will shoo me away during the day: “Go away, mummy, my bed!” My Sprocket tells me he doesn’t like his room. He wants to be in Mummy’s room.
And of course it breaks my heart.
I’m getting used to curling up pretzel-like in the cot with both the little ones at night and holding them until they sleep before precariously dis-attaching myself to pad through to my own bed, to sleep right next to my beloved, just us in our suddenly vast bed.
I’ve also grown used to small, bereft voices calling out in the wee hours of the night and the appearance of little faces at our bedside.
We still generally wake up in the morning with the full complement of family members.
But I suppose waking up with books and babes is no bad thing.
*I've taken a few liberties with the title of Neil Gaiman’s brilliant kids book The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish.
**The second bookcase of the title we had room to sneak into the kidsroom, finally a place to store all their books which have been forming piles everywhere!
*** This involved moving the piano out of the spare/guest/junk room. Not fun.