Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The Children Are Nestled All Snug in Their Beds... Part 2
Just goes to show that daddies are good co-sleepers too.
Word to the wise: don't type your blog posts in too much of a hurry. It's inevitable that you will forget something. I rushed a bit through my previous post on how to keep infants and children warm at night in the chill of a 55 degree home, thus I neglected to add the last tip.
Sticking with our Victorian Night Before Christmas theme, imagine how the beds of the poem's subjects would have looked. A stand alone metal bed frame with a mattress perched on top? Guess again. Canopy and four poster beds were very common back then and with good reason. The drapery surrounding the bed is just one more layer of insulation, keeping out the cold and keeping in the body heat. So, if after layers of pajamas, socks, and blankets your child is still cold, or if they absolutely must sleep by themselves, consider adding some drapery around the bed. We've all seen the cutesy mosquito netting kits for sale in department stores that promise to make your daughter feel like a princess, but you don't even have to buy anything to make this idea work. Grab some extra sheets, blankets, curtains, or yards of fabric that you have laying around the house and nail/staple it right to your child's ceiling if you must. It may not be pretty or ultra-convenient, but it will work.
The method I prefer, if your child doesn't have a canopy bed, is to attach curtain rods to the ceiling and hang the drapery fabric from that, very similar to this. If the bed is against a wall or in a corner, you can simply install the rods at the open sides of the bed. The wall won't provide as much insulation as the canopy will, but it'll save you money and/or time this way and still give much the same effect of keeping warmth in. Make simple tiebacks from your ribbon stash (what?? you don't have one!?), fabric cords, or strips of fabric. You can get as fancy or as simple as you'd like with this. Let your imagination and the supplies you already have guide you.
A canopy is probably not the best idea for an infant who is old enough to pull to a standing position by themselves or for toddlers who still live in close connection to our genetic relatives, the apes. Those curtain rods will not hold up to a lot of pulling or swinging, and you don't want to add anything that might become a choking hazard. For your newborn or very small infant who is not yet doing much moving in their bed, install the curtain rods far enough out from the edges of the crib that they won't be able to grab them, even accidentally, through the bars of their crib.
One very last thing. Do your best not to put your child's bed/crib near a window. It's inevitable, regardless of how new or good your windows are, that there will be a draft. I know that sometimes it's just impossible not to use a window wall because of a room's configuration, but do your best. If the bed must be by a window, get some thermal insulating drapes to keep out the drafts.
If anyone has any pictures or other do-it-yourself canopy ideas, please share!