Those little visitors are Nora and Emily.
I'd have to say that, when Nora was born 5 1/2 years ago, I knew my sleep schedule was going to be interruped by midnight feedings and the occassional bad dream. I had NO IDEA that this many years on, I would be getting up regularly in the middle of the night. Not every night, but a lot of nights. No wonder I've accquired quite the caffeine habit. Something, Ryan and I decided, needed to be done.
Last winter we played around with the idea of moving the girls into one bedroom and converting the other bedroom into a toy room. I was worried this wouldn't work, seeing that the only experience I had ever heard of involving sisters sharing a room was nothing short of a disaster (yes Aunt Jessica and Aunt Stephanie, I am referring to you). Besides, Nora would never want to leave her beautiful princess bedroom.
Or so I thought. As the months have been going by, the midnight visits have increased steadily. Our sleep, not just the grown-ups sleep but the kids sleep, was suffering. One morning I found Emily asleep on my wooden floor. She was too tired, apparently, to make it all the way over to our bed. That was the final straw.
A few weeks back Ryan and I used our muscles to move furniture and toys and we created two new spaces in our home. Emily's room, which is slightly larger and painted in a lovely shade of calming pink, was chosen as the new bedroom. Nora's huge bed clashes terribly with Emily's daybed, but at the moment I don't care. Really, its more important for them to feel like they have someone, that they're not alone, and that bed is the place for rest.
Nora's purple Princess palace was chosen to be the toyroom. With a minimum of investment (because hey we still don't know if this is really going to work!) we set up the room like a little girl's dream. There are now two toy boxes, two cubed shelves, and an armoire filled with dress-up clothes. The rule is no toys outside of the toyroom. This is designed to help keep the house from looking like a tornado went through it, but more importantly, its to keep the girls from having any distractions that might tempt them out of bed.
So far the switch-a-roo is working! The girls still get out of bed, for sure. But the number of noctural shenanigns are down significantly. And, usually, if one kid gets out of bed, the other follows. I only need to get up once from my chair to put them back to bed!!! This actually does make a difference!
If the switch-a-roo is going to be permanent, I plan on redecorating the girls bedroom for Christmas. Until then I will share pics of the new playroom. Note there is room on the wall for a flat screen TV. I think, personally, that putting a flat screen TV in there is the worst idea ever. They will never play in the yard again as long as they live. But the whole keep the toys in the playroom rule isn't going as well as hoped, so I have to keep my options open.