Sunday, October 04, 2009

TROGLODAD's FATHERHOOD SURVIVAL TIPS: Surviving Cold Winter Nights with a Family Bed?

If you live in the midwest, they say you're in for one heck of a winter. Last year, it was an ice storm that knocked out power and sent many a house into freezing temperatures.  This year they're calling for bitterly cold temps, and a fair amount of snow.
So how do you keep you and family warm this winter?
Experts are often divided on the Family bed concept. Some think it makes it harder for toddlers to separate from their parents later. Others see no problem with it.
As I watched "3:10 to Yuma" yesterday, I was struck by how until modern times, people did in fact often utilize family beds to stay warm. Think how many movies you see set in pre-1900s times that don't have multiple people bundled up. Heck, even the Whos down in whoville tend to bunch up at night. Remember the grinch stealing that candycane from five or six Who children at once?
We have a family bed- at least, our toddler sleeps with us. Primarily because we gave up fighting her when she would come in during the night wanting to come to bed with us. Her older sister was the same, sleeping with us until she was 5, and got a "big girl bed".
I'll admit, in the winter, that little Toddler pressed up against my back can be warm. And now that she's out of diapers, there's no more waking up in a warm puddle of pee, courtesy an over-loaded diaper. But there are some dangers to family beds.
For one, there's the groin kicks.
If you're like me, at some point, you might roll over in the night. And that's when a little one happens to be dreaming about soccer team tryouts. Ouch. Way worse then being awakened by a charlie horse.
There's also the danger of tumbling. Tumbling out of bed that is. Always put the toddler BETWEEN you and your spouse, so you canact like natural bedrails.
Suffocation? That's a big fear of mine, that the little one will get a blanket pulled up over her head by one of use trying to bundle up.
Blanket kick-off is a big problem with my youngest. Like a dog dreaming of running, she inevitably kicks off the blankets during the night and I wake up shivering. That definitely wouldn't be good in a little ice age winter disaster.
And what about space? We have a king size bed. My wife takes up at least half the bed- limbs splayed out so she looks like she's been hit by a car or something. The toddler mimics this, and I end up with a sliver of bed barely wide enough to lay on. And on at least some occasions, I have awoken with my head on the nightstand- which is conveniently the same height as the mattress top. Or I'd have been on the floor.
So, how to use the family bed during a winter disaster to keep the family safe and your parts intact?
First off, slide the bed into a corner- but not on an exterior wall of the house. This corner will give you two walls to keep anyone from rolling out of the soon-to-be-overloaded bed. An exterior wall can get pretty cold, hence picking interior walls.
Next, put everyone in warm pajamas and socks. Cause with 3 or more folks in the bed, there's a good chance someone is going to have a limb uncovered in the night.
Staggered recline. That is, sleep head to foot if need be- make the most out of the bed space. In the case of little kids, you might even put one kid across the bottom of the bed, where the others' feet don't reach.
Staggered blankets. Avoid the compulsion to layer blankets on top of one another. Instead, have them overlapping, like shingles with two different blankets hanging off the sides. This also ensures maximum coverage for those on the edges of the bed.
Put weak bladders near the exits. If you have to pee every hour, or have a kid that sleep walks, put them near the edge, so they can get out of bed without walking on anyone else.
Need more than one bed, put them all in the same room. Sure you've got a kingsize bed, but what if you have 4 kids? You can't all squeeze into that big bed. Bring in one of the kids' mattresses and put it on the floor near, but not immediately adjacent to the main bed. Have one parent sleep on the floor mattress, one in the bigger bed. People put off body heat, so why not have it all in one small room, pioneer/eskimo style?
And finally, winterize the bedroom. You've got all that heat in there, no sense letting it get out. Who needs triple-paned, gas-filled windows, when you can buy a roll of masking tape and a some plastic painter's drop cloth? Cut out some plastic and tape it up over the window. Sure it might not be very see through, but remember that early american pioneers often used oiled wax paper as windows. Plastic will keep heat in and drafts out. Just remember to make sure you have some ventilation to the rest of the house so you and your fellow bed bugs don't run out of oxygen in the night.

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