Need help making 800sf/1bed apt work for family of 4, please. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 02-22-2012, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I need help with ideas on how to live with my DH, almost 3yo and 8mo son in a 1bed/1bath 800sf apartment. Friends of our offered us the place for a decent rent. My problem is basically sleeping arrangements. My son cosleeps and wakes anywhere from 3 to a million times per night. We have the occasional rough night where he's awake for an hour, or cries loudly, etc. My DD (almost 3yo) sleeps in her own room on a twin bed (and is no longer nursing and usually does pretty well almost every/all night). My kids take baths at the same time each night, but then DH takes DD to her room for books and eventually bed, and she's usually wired and making noise. I nurse DS in a dim living room with music on, and wear him down in the carrier, and then place him in his sidecar or our bed. He is a LIGHT sleeper.

If there is only one bedroom how do I manage this? ...without DH and I having to be utterly silent and/or go to bed at 7:30pm? (when DS usually falls asleep.)

Long story short, my DH quit his job to follow a dream of starting up a business of our own and/or partnering with another guy out west (we live in Tennessee currently, but are selling/closing on our place here next week and must vacate.) We'll be at DH's mom's house for ~4 weeks before we go to California where this apt is located. So, we have no income right now, but some savings/cushion. So, the rent is good, but the place is small, compared to what we have now (1540sf)

Ideas on how I can best configure the space?? Help! I know DH is going to want to rent our friends' place, but I'm scared it will be stressful.


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#2 of 19 Old 02-22-2012, 06:37 PM
 
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Is there another area of the apartment that could be converted to a bedroom?  Could you use a corner of the living room for your DD's bedroom?  It sounds like she's the one who really needs the separate sleeping space.  You could do a junior loft with a play area underneath.  Maybe even use a room divider to make it a whole separate room sort of.

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#3 of 19 Old 02-22-2012, 09:12 PM
 
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I would consider giving the bedroom to your daughter, then if you have the savings, get a pull-out couch for you and dh to sleep on in the living room, with ds and his sidecar.  Easy for me to say, but he won't be a newborn forever, and maybe in a few months he'll be sleeping through the night, or at least for longer stretches, and then he can move in to the bedroom with dd, so then the kids are tucked away while you and dh will have the rest of the house to yourselves in the evening.  I might also try keeping a little sleep area for ds in dd's bedroom then, so once she's asleep and you get him to sleep, you could lay him in there until his first wakening, so that way he's not out in the living room all evening.


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#4 of 19 Old 02-23-2012, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there another area of the apartment that could be converted to a bedroom?  Could you use a corner of the living room for your DD's bedroom?  It sounds like she's the one who really needs the separate sleeping space.  You could do a junior loft with a play area underneath.  Maybe even use a room divider to make it a whole separate room sort of.

The apartment is renovated, and I don't think they'd let us permanently convert anything. I like the idea of a room divider, but I don't think DD would be able to sleep if we were out in the living room hanging out. She's a good sleeper...but THAT good? I don't know... greensad.gif She's not the pass-out-cold-no-matter-what kind of kid. (Neither is my son, LOL) eyesroll.gif My DD goes to bed with DH reading her some books and laying down to tell stories, but then I think she lays awake for a while sometimes, and needs the dark and music to keep her relaxed and laying down.
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I would consider giving the bedroom to your daughter, then if you have the savings, get a pull-out couch for you and dh to sleep on in the living room, with ds and his sidecar.  Easy for me to say, but he won't be a newborn forever, and maybe in a few months he'll be sleeping through the night, or at least for longer stretches, and then he can move in to the bedroom with dd, so then the kids are tucked away while you and dh will have the rest of the house to yourselves in the evening.  I might also try keeping a little sleep area for ds in dd's bedroom then, so once she's asleep and you get him to sleep, you could lay him in there until his first wakening, so that way he's not out in the living room all evening.

I should edit that we just put our mattress on the floor because DS is pulling to stand and crawling OVER everything....so no more sidecar! We do have a king mattress and a twin for him that I thought maybe could go on the floor in the bedroom, plus something for my DD...plus maybe something for the living room if we need someone (DH and DD maybe?) to sleep out there. We could bring the crib but I don't think DH wants to.


Ugh! I'm so confused!!!! My biggest problem is that both of my kids seem to need their own space and quiet/music/white noise in order to fall asleep and stay asleep. It seems like DH and I will be stuck going to bed at 8pm. greensad.gif I would LOVE if DS STTN and they both could be in the bedroom together, but I am not holding onto any hope that he will anytime soon! lol.gif


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#5 of 19 Old 02-24-2012, 05:12 AM
 
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I don't know if this will be reassuring or not, but we coslept with all four of our kids at once; the boys exited for their own room at age 7&8 and the girls did the same.

 

I had frequent night-nursers and night-wakers during much of that time.  Also a child who snores.  I'm a light sleeper.

 

We all got used to it.  I am sure, in your case, that there would be a transition period. I was amazed at how my kids were able to adjust to each other's sleeping/nursing/waking/snoring noises.  Really.

 

There were periods of time when we'd put the older one(s) down first and THEN put the baby down (after baby fell asleep in the sling.)  Could you put a pack-n-play or small floor pallet in your living room and put your baby down there, and then transfer him to the bedroom when you and DH go to bed later?  Sounds like your older one needs talking and attention when going to sleep. 

 

Another thing is that there were spans of time when I really did go to sleep with the little ones because it meant more rest and sleep for everyone (including me).  It didn't last forever.  But especially with the transitions your family is going through, could you simply lie with them while they go to sleep, nursing the baby and perhaps letting the 3yo snuggle your back while you do?

 

I found that my kids NEVER had fear of the dark or sleep anxiety when we did it this way.  We put a full futon on the floor next to the big bed, and I would lie between the older one and the baby until they fell asleep, and then I would either fall asleep or maybe slip out to the big bed, and when the baby woke I would bring him/her into the big bed with me for nursing.  If the older one was restless or had a bad dream usually I could just reach my hand down and hold hands while s/he fell back asleep.

 

Remember that this is temporary, and when the time comes for your kids to have their own rooms, you can make that transition then.  In my experience, having us all in the same room meant they were really really ready when the time came (and it wasn't an option when they were younger or we would have moved them sooner.)

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#6 of 19 Old 02-24-2012, 01:47 PM
 
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We are currently living in a 1 bedroom with our 6 month old and almost 3 year old.  Our 3 year old does co-sleep and our 6 month old is not a terrible sleeper.  We moved just after our son was born from a 1600sf house.

 

What I would do in your situation is but DD bed in the bedroom and then put your king on the floor too in the bedroom.  Put a book shelve or something to seperate the two beds.  We have a twin and a queen on the floor in our room.  Put your DD to sleep first and when she is soundly asleep you can go to bed.  If you find your DS up and crying for too long then you can move to the livingroom.  Your DD probably already hears him in your house and just goes back to sleep.

 

On a brighter note: living in such a small space makes cleaning much easier!

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#7 of 19 Old 02-24-2012, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UGH!! I had a response typed to the quotes and every time I hit return it wipes it out and I have to start over!!!! Gah! So, no more quoting! grr... ;/

Anyway...I want to try us all in the same room, although I'm not sure on the bedroom dimensions, if it can fit our king, a twin for DD and possibly the crib for DS. We'll have our king and twin on the floor to start off, since we'll have no furniture in the beginning. Everything we pack we will have to drive in our cars from TN to CA, so nothing big will come MAYBE DS's crib, but I am on the fence on whether it's smart to bring it or not. I say yes, DH says no. It's the Ikea Gulliver crib, so it has a small footprint. But we stopped sidecarring since we put our mattress on the floor. It sure would be nice to have a king and a twin together for just me, DH, and DS, with DD on a separate twin.....sigh.

From where we are NOW, by the time I nurse DS to sleep and he's ready to transfer into our bed, DD is still up in her room having books/stories from DH, and pretty wired most nights. As in, if she was in the room where I was transferring DS to the bed (and he'd need silence with low music to stay asleep, and even that is no guarantee!) I'd imagine she'd pop up and be noisy when I came in the room with DS. Maybe she will start behaving?? Maybe DS will start sleeping like a baby log?? Don't think so... lol.gif I think the most adjustment will have to be for ME. redface.gif

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#8 of 19 Old 02-25-2012, 04:22 AM
 
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From where we are NOW, by the time I nurse DS to sleep and he's ready to transfer into our bed, DD is still up in her room having books/stories from DH, and pretty wired most nights. As in, if she was in the room where I was transferring DS to the bed (and he'd need silence with low music to stay asleep, and even that is no guarantee!) I'd imagine she'd pop up and be noisy when I came in the room with DS.

 

How about you nurse baby in the bedroom and DH does the bedtime routine with DD out in the living room?  Then when DD is good and ready she can sneak in quietly and go to sleep.  Maybe you could even make a game out of how quiet she can be. 

 

Another thing that worked in our family was to not put kids down to sleep until they were really, really ready.  Like, we waited for them to tell us they were tired, or we all went to bed together at the time we parents were ready.  (Yes, you won't get "grownup time" every night, but in our house it felt worth it for the ease it brought to bedtime.)  At your DD's age, my kids bodies seemed to settle on their own general schedule, and when they were older we instituted set bedtimes.  Yes, sometimes this meant they stayed up late and we had to get up early for something in the morning, but that generally meant an earlier natural bedtime the next night.  May or may not work for you, but it helped us ensure that the only people in the bedroom were the sleep-ready people.

 

Also because our bedroom was packed with beds (king, queen futon, and twin bunk beds!) and small dressers, the bedroom was off-limits for playing.  No toys, just beds and clothes.  This way whenever someone needed sleep, the bedroom was available.  The toys stayed in the living room and other main areas of the house.
 

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I think the most adjustment will have to be for ME. :o


Yes.  You hit the nail on the head.  Take some time getting used to the idea of being radically flexible and it won't seem so radical anymore.  Good luck.

 


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#9 of 19 Old 02-26-2012, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How about you nurse baby in the bedroom and DH does the bedtime routine with DD out in the living room?  Then when DD is good and ready she can sneak in quietly and go to sleep.  Maybe you could even make a game out of how quiet she can be. 

Also because our bedroom was packed with beds (king, queen futon, and twin bunk beds!) and small dressers, the bedroom was off-limits for playing.  No toys, just beds and clothes.  This way whenever someone needed sleep, the bedroom was available.  The toys stayed in the living room and other main areas of the house.

Yes, I thought of getting DS to sleep and then actually carrying DD in once she falls asleep out in the LR. That is where I think we'll start. It *might* work. LOL (trying to be flexible!!!!!) I want to cram all the beds in the one room, but our friend says they will not fit. Although he is pretty mainstream and probably is not expecting the mattresses on the floor and butted up against each other! LOL

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#10 of 19 Old 03-06-2012, 03:39 PM
 
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Yes, I thought of getting DS to sleep and then actually carrying DD in once she falls asleep out in the LR. That is where I think we'll start. It *might* work. LOL (trying to be flexible!!!!!) I want to cram all the beds in the one room, but our friend says they will not fit. Although he is pretty mainstream and probably is not expecting the mattresses on the floor and butted up against each other! LOL


Sounds workable!  Let us know how it goes. 

 

Good luck. :)


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#11 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh. Well, so far we did a HORRIBLE job of packing only what we "need, love, use"... We ended up getting an "emergency" storage unit because all our stuff wouldn't fit in our two cars. DH says it will fit in the apt and wants to get a small trailer to take it.

Right now (while the apt is still sight unseen for us) is to put DDs twin in the "foyer" area of the apt right by the doors to the bedroom and bath. Hopefully put king and twin together in the bedroom for me, DH and DS. But that doesn't solve the trick of DH and I having to be in the dark/quiet once DD falls asleep. Lately DS has been crying out at night, having difficulty settling, and waking ~every hour, and DH isn't wild about carrying DD into the main bedroom with him, since he thinks our son will wake her up (she normally sleeps all night)

We will see, I guess. Just hope I can take it easy and not get stressed. Not likely!!! LOL

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#12 of 19 Old 03-08-2012, 01:37 PM
 
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We live in a big house. W all sleep in one room. Four kids, two adults. The three yr old wakes up screaming in the night from nightmares, every night. The six and eight have never been woken up by her. Kids sleep hard I think. The only one who wakes up all night is me, to hush, comfort from a dream, nurse, etc etc etc.

Just saying, it's totally doable, and I agree. The kids will adapt, and feel safe and happy if they do wake, bc you are lose by tio comfort them.
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#13 of 19 Old 03-15-2012, 12:01 PM
 
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We're in that situation now (except with only 1 DS and one on the way). I really appreciate its simplicity (...most days)

 

Here's what we did:

http://www.oploftbed.com/plans/gallery.php

 

Our set-up is currently the 8th one down. Though we've since moved our bed out from underneath and against the adjacent wall with the space under the loft converted to a play space (rug and shelves). In your case you could easily slide a twin or double or futon under there for yet another sleeping space.

 

We've actually decided to buy a house, but we had planned on staying here for another year in which case the plan was to put a pull-out sofa/futon in the living room for those rough nights where 4 in a bed(room) is simply too many.

 


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#14 of 19 Old 03-15-2012, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I like the look and idea of the lofts, but I'd be nervous with my DD sleeping up there, since she's not yet even three years old. Very cool idea though! I saw something similar on the Ikea website.

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#15 of 19 Old 03-17-2012, 04:20 PM
 
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Ikea has some really short lofts in the kid section. The bottom bed is on the floor and the top is probably around 4ft.

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#16 of 19 Old 03-20-2012, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks I'll check those out! I wish her twin could fit over our king...

We arrive at the new apartment tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes!

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#17 of 19 Old 04-01-2012, 11:53 AM
 
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How is it working out? We are trying to figure out something like this ourselves! Lol

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#18 of 19 Old 04-13-2012, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How is it working out? We are trying to figure out something like this ourselves! Lol

It's getting there! Things are still nuts because we're slowly acquiring furniture and it's nice to finally get a place to put things away. And we also had some fairly major and annoying plumbing issues that delayed unpacking/settling in.

For nights, while DH is brushing teeth with DD, I nurse DS and wear/rock him to sleep, then lay him down in my/his bed. I bought a white noise machine this one! and it really helps block some of the noise. DH reads books to DD while I'm with DS and soon after he carries her in and lays her down, and of course she's wide awake but most nights we can keep her quiet enough that DS doesn't wake up. He still wakes a bazillion times per night, and MOST nights it doesn't bother DD.

DH, OTOH, is sleeping on an air mattress in the living room because he snores like a buzz saw. eyesroll.gif Seriously, I can hear him even with the noise machine, the space heater going, music in the background and my door closed....!!!!! duh.gif If anyone knows a natural remedy for snoring PLEASE let me know!!! lol.gif

One thing that is bothering me is that my almost 3yo DD thinks we're in a hotel. She keeps asking about our "real house" and talking about things there back in Tennessee.

It's really small in here, and we have too much stuff that doesn't seem to have a home yet, but we're working on it. And even though I feel overwhelmed with STUFF, I still every day note things that I'm missing, things I need, wish I had, etc...it's tough. Doable, but tough sometimes. I REALLY enjoy the simplicity (or I WILL, once the air clears a bit and the dust settles.) I like emptying the dishwasher in three minutes. I love that I can vacuum the whole place so quickly. California is beautiful! It's so much more naturally-minded here than in Tennessee, so that is awesome!

I was hoping to blog about this whole experience, but I've discouraged myself about it (who'd really want to read it?) and I can't think of what the heck to call it. We still have no income, no job. But we're looking into business options. It's scary. Exciting, too.

ETA we bought an LG all-in-one washer/dryer combo that is working out GREAT. Granted, it doesn't have the capabilities of a traditional set, but for our use it's so wonderful to have. I don't have to leave the apartment to do the wash, I don't have to share with owners who have dog hair, dog pee/poo (they are house training a puppy), and who use Downey, Tide, etc, which I don't want near my cloth dipes. It's a great machine for a small/limited space.

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#19 of 19 Old 04-15-2012, 03:46 PM
 
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Glad to hear it's working out!

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