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It will be GREAT, I told myself, when we bought the house with only two usable bedrooms. The girls will share. They’ll never be scared because they have each other, and they’ll grow up to be the best of friends. I also nurtured future bunk bed fantasies, left over from my tween years at overnight camp and juiced by the Restoration Hardware Baby and Child catalogue.

The reality: A preschooler and a baby are on very different wavelengths, and nothing about bedroom-sharing is going smoothly. Maybe in a few years they’ll be better roommates—if I survive that long. For now, here’s what happens on an almost daily basis:

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1. The kid is scared to go to bed without a nightlight, while the baby requires pitch black darkness to sleep.

If the door is opened precisely 6.4 centimeters, we can satisfy both customers. And you know how precise preschoolers are, so this never gets screwed up.

2. The older kid needs a parent to lay with her at night.

The baby’s already asleep, so the rule is no talking or for God’s sake at least whisper. Except the whisper of a 5-year-old could be heard at the back of Carnegie Hall.

3. Baby’s piercing wails wake preschooler up from a sound slumber.

Good luck nursing and giving back scratches at the same time!

4. Preschooler’s nightmares (why, why, why did I let her watch Gremlins?) wake sleeping baby from a sound slumber.

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