We've got, realistically, 3 options that seem possible. (We've ruled out some options; No to construction to add another bedroom -- Even if we leave aside the financial question, that would probably cause our house to be difficult to sell down the road. No to placing the infant in my (very large) master bedroom closet -- caseworker says the "room" has to have 2 exits, usually a door and a window. No to moving.)
Option 1: Put Peter and Edmund back into the same bedroom.
- They've shared before, beginning when they were 6 and 10.
- They are both permanent family members, so the state cares less about their sleeping arrangements than it will about the baby's.
- When they started sharing before, they were both in elementary school. They are now 10 and 15, 5th and 9th grade.
- Their daily schedules are wildly different. Peter is in extracurricular sports activities and often up working on homework or just relaxing in his room until 10pm; Edmund's bedtime is 8pm. Next school year, Edmund will start school later, so could stay up later, but will then also not need to get up in the morning until after Peter has left for the day.
- Lately, they have been sniping at each other a lot. Nothing especially nasty or worrisome, just typical brothers-who-can't-help-point-out-each-other's-mistakes.
- Umm. It means the boys don't have to share a room?
- M is a light sleeper. She sleeps well through the night and sleeps through noise outside her room, but if you so much as open her bedroom door, she wakes up. There's no way she'd sleep through a baby needing night-time feedings.
- When M is awake, she is noisy. She talks and babbles and screeches. She will be perpetually waking the baby as soon as she herself is awake.
- M is too little to understand that she might need to be quiet if the baby is asleep.
- If the baby is a boy, we are only allowed to do this until M is 3 years old. (Unless we finalize his adoption before then. Given how fast M's case went, that's entirely possible as she will likely be about 18 months when the baby is born.)
- This causes the least disruption to the rest of the household
- We're not even sure we're allowed to do this. When M first came, she was in our room in a Pack-n-Play because the respite boys were in the room that was to be hers and one of them was in her crib. The caseworker said it was OK "for now" because of the special circumstances of the respite boys being here for a short term. I don't remember whether it was the "in our room" or the Pack-n-Play part that was a potential problem. (I seem to recall the Pack-n-Play was not considered a "suitable" bed by the state. I'm not certain if that was the only issue or if she was supposed to have her own room, too.)
- If we are allowed to do this, I'm sure there is an age limit after which the baby has to move out of our room.
- Mr D is a pretty light sleeper. The Pack-n-Play tends to be a little noisy. M was also a noisy sleeper -- making little sighing and grunting noises in her sleep a lot. If this baby is similar, Mr D will not sleep well. And when Mr D doesn't sleep well, he is cranky.
- How to put this delicately? I'm not comfortable being intimate with my husband with someone else in the room, even a newborn that's unlikely to notice or care what we're doing. Hence, I'm a little concerned about our marital relationship with this option.
Option A: We set up rooms as though the baby is sleeping in M's room, but actually s/he usually sleeps in a Pack-n-Play in the office.
- Nobody is really sharing a bedroom
- Everyone has as much of a chance at normal sleep as is possible with a newborn in the house.
- We're lying to CPS.
- The office contains computer equipment used by Mr D for work and by the children for school. This equipment would be off-limits when the baby is asleep?
- The office also contains our answering machine, which I'm not sure can be relocated.
- We're not lying to CPS
- Having the baby in our room has an approximate end-date
- Mr D still won't sleep well for however many months it takes for the baby to sleep through the night.
- M will be older -- probably 2 -- when she's expected to begin sharing "her" room. (Is that a Pro or a Con? Not sure.)
- Nobody is really sharing a bedroom
- We're not really lying to CPS. (Although we would probably make it look as though we were still sleeping in our own bedroom.)
- Sometimes it might be just Mr D sleeping on the sofa bed, while I do night-time feedings in our bedroom.
- We have less privacy overall sleeping in our living room (it doesn't have doors).
- This has to be temporary, but it's harder to say what will be the end-date.
- It really is big enough to be a small room, which is all a baby needs.
- No one is really sharing a bedroom, as the closet has its own door.
- We're lying to CPS again. And this lie is much harder to keep hidden, as the things currently in my closet would have to be moved elsewhere to make room for the baby. And then, when caseworkers come visit, I have a completely empty closet?
- Also temporary, also a vague end-date.