It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Truth be told I’ve lost my way a bit. March was hideous for the number of appointments and meetings we had for kiddo. I’m going to write about that in another blog but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t thrown me off course with a number of things. And blogging was one. So, to get me back on the blogging train, I wanted to let you all know about the transformation we have had done to our spare room! Which now truly belongs to kiddo.
When we moved in to our house, kiddo was only 9 months old. We had plans, big plans, including more children and a childminding business. Hubby was home based so he finally had his office. We were completely unaware of the future needs of our son at this point. And so like the creative person I often am, I started browsing Pinterest for ideas on how to decorate his new bedroom.
We gave him the smallest room in the house. After all at 9 months old he hardly needed a bedroom to cater for the masses. And so I began to paint an elaborate room full of roads, trucks and diggers. Some gorgeous green grass and a bright blue sky. It was what any boy would dream of (mostly). But little did I know this would be the first of many problems we would encounter with our chosen design of kiddo’s room.
As the months passed and kiddo’s beautiful personality began to shine through, I realised that he needed a calm, plain and safe environment for a bedroom so that he was not over stimulated by busy walls, or put at risk by furniture on which he could self harm.
18 months ago we started to make changes to transform his bedroom into a safe space. We added memory foam padding to walls, all furniture was securely attached (which we would have done anyway) and a large bean bag was purchased. A bag I would come to loath over the coming months as I spent many a night attempting to sleep on it. For as kiddo grew and introduced us to autism, the sleep reduced drastically and anxiety swept him up if one of us wasn’t in his room at night. With no room for another bed, the bean bag was our only option. Bloody thing.
As the nights grew longer, the sleep more rare, it was obvious that kiddos room was not sustainable. He had ripped the wallpaper from the walls, whether this was sensory or because he couldn’t visually stand the design who knows. But he wasn’t happy. We weren’t happy. Change needed to happen. So work began on our spare room.
My attitude to design could not have been more different this time. Plain walls, no paper. A nice subtle colour that was not overstimulating. No furniture, instead a built-in wardrobe with high handles and a lock that was flush to the wall. He can’t get in, he can’t pull it on himself. A soft carpet for him to stim on. Again plain in colour and a subtle dark shade. A black out blind with no cord or tie, curtains had been a huge distraction in his old room. But most importantly, TWO single beds. Kiddo had his own bed (specially made so he can’t fall out) and one for me.
The second bed was bought with the intention of allowing me to sleep at night, but its impact has been so much more. Kiddo no longer asks to come straight downstairs when he wakes. He curls up next to me in my bed and we have a cuddle. Once he even drifted back off to sleep!!! But what I have really noticed is how he is so much calmer. Me in a bed has so much more permanence than me sat on a bean bag, not sleeping, anxiously waiting for him to fall back asleep. And he clearly picked up on that. We are still awake for the same amount of time but instead of being a time of anxiety and resentment, it’s a time of peace, calm and closeness. Very much like in the early days when he required night feeds. I used to whisper that it was our special time, the world quiet and still.
Now obviously I’m a damn site more tired nowadays than I was then, but now I can lie down and close my eyes. Occasionally a little hand finds its way into mine and kiddo snuggles in to me in my bed. From the child who so often hated a cuddle, refused physical contact, this means so much. And I don’t care what people say about correct parenting protocol at night. I’m going to drink in every cuddle my son gives me. Because it is a privilege, not a chore.
The weeks of getting his new room set up were tough, messy and cramped. But so worth it. I’m just sorry we didn’t do it for you sooner kiddo.
Thanks for reading,