Two bedrooms, five people, including a baby and a child with type 1 diabetes. Can it be done? I assure you that it can! I'm actually surprised at how nicely my three sons bunk down together despite the variations in their ages and nighttime needs.
In our current situation, we have only two bedrooms to choose from. Since we value our independence and our grown-up time after the kids go to bed, my husband and I decided to just try to put all three kids together. We have just enough room in the kids' bedroom for a daybed with a trundle and a crib.
A typical nighttime scenario goes as follows. James and Luke jump into bed for the night around 8 p.m. We always test James before bed. Then we put baby Ben into his crib shortly thereafter. While most of the time I lay him down fully asleep, I have on occasion just plopped him into his crib while he (and his two brothers) were completely awake. I felt like super-mom when all three were soon sawing logs!
We have our fair share of nighttime interruptions, though. Baby Ben has, since about 4 months of age, slept about eight hours at night. This is nice for me, but it puts his wakeup time at around 4 a.m. This doesn't seem to bother the older two, however, who sleep soundly through the night.
James also prefers to have his infusion set changed at night. On these nights we tiptoe into the room of our three sleeping boys, and it becomes somewhat difficult logistically. Not only do we have to crawl around Luke on his lower trundle bed, but we have to use just enough light to get the job properly done without waking any of the three. The first night we tried it I felt sure it couldn't be done. I was happily surprised when James slept through a set change, Luke slept through what must have felt like an earthquake with an adult crawling across his bed, and baby Ben didn't flinch when the lights turned on in his room!
While this situation hardly seems ideal, it has had some really positive ramifications. First off, I'm so grateful to have my master bedroom remain a refuge for grown-ups in the early evening. It's so relaxing to be able to read by the bedside and get at least a few hours of rest each night.
The second advantage was truly unforeseen. The kids LOVE being together! The older boys have been roomies for years and have come to depend on being near each other to feel safe from the things that go bump in the night. Little did I know that the 6-month-old baby would be such a fan of close proximity to his brothers. Truly, he sleeps best when he is right there with them. The most precious moments of my day are when all three are snuggling right before lights off. Seeing the joy in that tiny baby's face as he lies on his big brothers' beds during stories and prayers is the payoff for all the hard work during the day.
I'm thankful for how well this situation is working for our family. I feel a sense of victory over the big D. On paper, it would seem like there is no way that I could feel comfortable entering James' bedroom for a nighttime test or set change without causing all kinds of disruption. Who wants to wake up THREE boys? I'm grateful that our reality is three boys sleeping (mostly) through the night, while permitting us to parent both an infant and a child with type 1 diabetes. If we can do it, anyone can!
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I'm thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.