June 22, 2011

a bunk-bedside table:a tutorial

Bedtime is, for the most part, my job in our house. Because our kids share a room and they cannot be trusted to fall asleep on their own, we basically have to read to them until one of them falls asleep. That one is almost always Evelyn. Actually, it is always Evelyn. Except once, when Briton was really tired and Evelyn had napped. I tend to have a stronger reading out loud endurance than Will so I do the reading and hence, the bedtime routine. Plus, I hate to do the dishes. So I do bed, Will does dishes and we're all happy. (By the way, we are currently reading this book which may be one of the best read aloud chapter books I've ever come across)

In theory, I love to put my children to bed. Who doesn't want a nice peaceful end to the day with stories and kisses and sleepy children quietly dozing off? Except bedtime is almost never a peaceful affair around here. It's more of a battle of wills. Who will prevail? Who will go down for the count?

The root of the problem is that my son needs less sleep than I do. It's the truth. He's always been that way. The kid can stay up for hours longer than I can. So, while I may be more than ready for him to drop off to sleep so that I can have a half hour of grown up discussion with my husband before I doze off myself, Briton is only, say, 2/3 of the way through his day. It makes things interesting. Especially since the advent of the bunkbeds.
Remember when I said that the tent over the top bunk cleverly disguised the fact that his bed is never made? Well it also hides his little kingdom of stuff up there. His bed is full of thing to do after his sister has fallen asleep. I can't really argue with that. I used to keep stacks of books under my side of the bed that grew and grew until they pushed out on Will's side and tripped him when he got up in the night. It's genetic. We're bed pack rats. But it's also causing a problem at bedtime.

Imagine, if you will, that it's the end of the day at my house. The kids have, after several false starts, managed to get their teeth brushed, flossed and mouthwashed, had a bedtime drink and then the inevitable glass of water which leads to the even more inevitable last minute bathroom trip and are finally, finally settled down in their beds, ready to hear a story. Evelyn is tucked in with one billion animals around her, I'm sitting down at the foot of her bed with a book and my iphone set to flashlight mode (because the lights are off, otherwise she'll never get to sleep) and Briton is happily ensconced up above in a pile of Legos, graphic novels, sudoku books and who knows what else.

"One upon a time, there was a, Ow! Briton, a book just fell on my head!"

"What book? Bone? I need it! Can I have it back?"

"No! It fell on my head! Why are you dropping things down the crack?"

"I didn't drop it! I moved my foot and it just fell!"

"Fine! Ok, Back to the story. Once upon a time there was a... "


"What was that?"

"Um, a Lego plane?"

This continues until I'm forced to tell him to hold perfectly still until his sister falls asleep, which he hates, which leads to complaining, which lengthens the whole bedtime process because Evelyn can't help butting in with a

"Briiiitttttoooooonnnnn! You're making noooooiiiiisssseee! You're waking me uuuuupppppp!"

His old bed was very handy at catching all of his junk in the ledge that ran all the way around the mattress, plus it had a substantial headboard that was perfect for nightlights, figurines and a variety of newly built Lego creations. But a bunkbed has none of that, it just has cracks between the bed and the wall for things to fall though.

What he needed, I decided, was some kind of shelf. But not one with sharp edges jutting out from the wall that might cause middle of the night head injuries. A triangular shelf that fit into the corner would be perfect. Except where I could find a simple and cheap (preferably free) triangular shelf was anybodys guess.

Round about then I remembered seeing, somewhere on Pinterest, that some brilliant soul had stained a wooden magazine box and attached it to the wall as an entry table. Perfect. Except instead of the corner of the wall, I could use the corner of the bed itself. And instead of stain I could paint in whenever I got around to painting the bed. And luckily enough, I had a couple of wooden magazine boxes hanging around. So after some paper shifting,
And with the aid of three screws (the drill was pretty useless, by the way, because it was too big to fit in the box to do the actual screwing for two of the screws, just go with a screwdriver and some elbow grease)
We had a bunk bedside table.
Plenty of room for his books, a surface for his toys and a lamp (which I screwed right into the table. Just be sure you aren't going to hit any wires and make sure it's unplugged when you drill the hole through) and nice curved injury free corners.

My head is so much happier now.