Bedtime can be tricky. Toddlers have their own ideas about how things should be most of the time, and they tend to have very definite opinions about how bedtime should work. Once you’ve established a routine, that’s it. That routine is king and queen of all things bed related. Deviate from the tried and the tested and your early evening can disappear into a seemingly endless spiral of interminable requests: “Where’s Teddy? Will you read me a story? Can I have the light on?”… We’ve all been there.
One of the things that we struggled massively with was noise. Even though our eldest, Owen, was happy to sleep with the door closed, he was – and still is – deeply sensitive to noise. He’s definitely on a spectrum. But it really upsets him if there are background noises that interrupt his concentration. It’s bad enough in the daytime, but at bedtime it was a nightmare.
He’d always been a bit hair triggered, but when his little brother came along, and the noise level became that bit more difficult to manage things were seriously starting to get out of hand. He was losing sleep and we were losing our hair. In a small house with only so much room to run to, we were running out of ideas. For a while we resorted to having a cot downstairs for the baby and then carrying him upstairs to bed once Owen had nodded off.
Happily, we stumbled across a solution almost by accident. We had the loft converted and in the process we had to have the internal doors replaced by heavyweight fire doors to satisfy building regulations.
But the big bonus, aside from being reassured that the kids’ rooms were pretty much fire-proofed, was the way Owen couldn’t hear what was going on in the rest of the house. You’d think that the big benefit of a loft extension was having more space wouldn’t you? Not for us! The big boon in our house was the way that those big solid doors with their snugly sealed edges worked as the most fantastic form of sound-proofing. Although the doors were substantial, luckily it didn’t mean compromising on style and we managed to choose a design which was in-keeping with the rest of our loft extension.
It was like we had two new children. No sooner had we put the kids back in their rooms after all the building to-ing and fro-ing than all the “He’s keeping me awake!” complaints became a thing of the past.
All of a sudden we stopped getting the ‘angry Owen at bedtime’ scenario that involved harassed parents, one child talking about sending the other one back (there’s a thought!), and the whole family dynamic lurching off the rails before Coronation Street had got started. I even think Owen and his brother are getting on better, just because we don’t have all that angst about the place. Someone did suggest that we might be reading this all wrong, and that what’s really happening is that we can’t actually hear Owen kicking off!
To be honest, it’s not a theory I’m keen to explore any further than I need to. It’s not just Owen who likes a quiet life!