Over the summer, we had a disastrous experience staying in a hotel room with our 2-year-old and 5-year-old.
Our 2-year-old had been in a bed for a month and we had managed to find a budget hotel with a pull-out couch so everyone had a bed. We left after dinner with the idea that we would just put the kids back to sleep when we arrived at the hotel. That worked well enough.
But, at 4 in the morning, when my son needed a glass of water, my daughter (the 2-year-old) woke up and started singing and chatting. She had her own room at home and wasn’t used to being with the rest of us. No matter how much we told our son not to respond to her, he couldn’t resist. And that was the end of sleep.
This was a frustrating experience in itself. However, it made us very nervous about our holiday travel when we would all be staying in a room together again for five nights. I injected the hope that she would be more pliable at that point, as she would be a few months shy of being 3 years old. However, we decided to prepare. Historically, the kids have had some “sleepovers” in her room with him on the floor in a sleeping bag. So, for Hanukkah, we gave her a sleeping bag of her own. We started having sleepovers in his room, too, to get her used to the idea both of being in a sleeping bag and the practices of being quiet during the night. (Thank you, Hanukkah, for giving us the extra month of training this year.)
So far, these have gone reasonably well. She has gotten out of bed once for a new diaper and twice because the sleeping bag slid off the sleeping pad. And, of those three times, she only woke her brother once to help her open the door. Having her own sleeping bag and getting used to it seems to be exciting, but not so exciting that it’s keeping her up.
However, we have yet to try them both on the floor in sleeping bags and we’ll need to do that before we leave. I can just imagine her repeatedly poking her little curly head out of the sleeping bag, trying to have conversations with him. And then it’ll be like we’re back at the hotel again, not getting sleep. I do sincerely appreciate that my son is willing to be a guinea pig for these experiments.
We’ve talked a lot with both of them about what it will be like to be in the same room with all of us and what will happen. We will put them both in bed and then we will come to bed later and be very quiet (we’re staying in a big house with other families). Since our daughter does have a tendency to come out of the room for various things, we have told her how to find us but still encourage her, as always, to stay in the room and sleep. She nods solemnly, repeats what she’s supposed to do, but still doesn’t always listen. She’s still 2, after all, and growing into these new experiences is great fun.
At least, it is for her.