Friday, March 21, 2014

Sensory Smart Bedroom!

For those of you who don't know, we're a cosleeping family.  This means that in my bedroom, I have a queen sized bed butted up to a twin, and Skeeve, Mad Natter, and I all share one sleeping space.  Now, however, Mad Natter is on his way to six years old, and he really needs his own room.  He's had one, but it's been with the toddler bed conversion from our crib in there, and it hasn't really been "his" so much as it's been a kids' room.  So, when the tax return came in, Skeeve and I set off to IKEA.

Mad Natter's room is small.  It has room for a twin bed, and about two feet of space at the foot of that bed.  And it's square.  No matter what you do, this room will not hold everything you want it to.  So, we went with a loft bed, hoping to make the most of being able to put things UNDER the bed, opening up the whole room for use, rather than immediately eliminating a twin-sized-portion of it.  It's still not big enough, but we were able to make it work for our needs.  So far, anyhow.

See, I have many things that Mad Natter's room needs. It needs to hold his toys and his bed. It needs to hold his trampoline ('cause that bad boy ain't goin' in the living room, thank you!), and I wanted it to hold a sensory escape as well, because we all need that sometimes.  So, in his room, he has his bed - complete with Avengers sheets - as well as play space.... and now more.

First, we have the bed. It is, obviously, a loft bed. The window is locked up tight and barred from the inside, lest someone small get any ideas that they haven't thought all the way through. The loft itself is a good thing. Mad Natter likes the idea that his bed is so tall, and that he can touch the ceiling with his head.  It's almost too tall, truth be told, but that's pretty okay, as it means he'll wake himself bonking his head before he flops out of the bed to the floor.  Anyhow! I hung some really sheer curtains from the bottom of the bed, both on the side you can see, and at the foot of the bed. This allowed me to put together a small "storage" space at the foot of the bed for his drawers, as well as an under-the-bed play area.  The bonus to that one?  You can't see through it to well.

Next, we have the sensory zone.  First, we have the trampoline.  I love this little thing. I wish I could find a place for it that didn't sound like it was going to crash through the ceiling, but hey. We take what we can get. In the meantime, this serves its purpose, and does it well.  Every day, Mad Natter goes up to jump for either songs or numbers on the trampoline. There is a sensor under it that counts how many jumps, and he can either listen to the trampoline call a number, and jump that many times (times how many numbers he was told to jump for), or he can push a button and it will play a song that he'll jump to. Sadly, this is an activity that is best enjoyed with an audience, and my knees are bad enough that the stairs (13 of them!) give me trouble sometimes. But he still jumps, and it's still a huge help.

Our sensory tent...  Mad Natter got this tent from Hammie and Buppa two Christmases ago, and he loved it. Then we had to put it away due to space issues. It's back!  This is his sensory retreat. Inside the tent is currently a cuddly bear and a beanbag chair (I don't know why the bed rail is in there for the photo - I'm chalking it up to 5yo boy). Once I'm able to get my sewing on, it will also have a weighted blanket, and probably some books as well.  It's a place for him to go that's away from everyone, without actually having to be out of my realm of hearing and seeing.  He doesn't often use the tent, but I suspect as time goes on, it's going to be more and more important.

 And the fun stuff, too!  Can't forget the fun stuff!  First, Mad Natter's kitchen.  He has a stove, a fridge and freezer / pantry, and a washer/dryer, all of which are plunked into the corner of the hiding space created by the curtains. I may hang the whiteboard, or I may move his chalkboard panels in there... or even both.  Not sure yet.  Anyway, this little kitchen often brings us a whole lot of interesting meals, snacks, and drinks, and is usually quite a fun place for Mad Natter to play.  He really does enjoy 'cooking' for us, and that makes all of us pretty happy.

Naturally, what kid's room is complete without a toy-dump? The sheer volume of toys this child has is making me think of asking for experiences for his next birthday instead of toys.  There are SO MANY.  And, as is unsurprising for anyone else raising a gifted little one, the toys are all across the board.  I'm not sure if you can see them, but there are Curious George phonetic readers, a couple Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day style picture books, and several Magic School Bus chapter books in the top shelf, the middle contains toy animals and stencils, the third is trains and Angry Birds, the bottom is puzzles, games, and lacing cards... And the prominent toys there are his Minecraft iron sword and pickaxe. He always brings one or the other with him. Even if we're just walking down the block. It's an interesting thing.

All in all, it seems to be working out well for us.  It's not an idyllic wonderland now that all the components are in place, but... it's helping.  I'm hopeful it will help things chill out a little, but we'll have to see how it all holds up, and keeps together.