metro window film

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we are not having any difficulty sharing our little bungalow with our baby in terms of space. obviously each new age and stage brings different and sometimes larger gear/stuff (e.g., clothes are larger and take up more space in drawers, she may want sports equipment/a bike/a play kitchen/art supplies, etc.), but i’ve heard from parents with older children that the first year is truly the worst when it comes to stuff. so seeing as we’ve (almost!) survived her first year in 800 square feet, i have no doubt we can make a space of this size work for us long term.

notice how i said “a space of this size” and not “this space”? the layout of this particular house is killing us right now.

it wouldn’t make sense to move within toronto at this time since a move to victoria is quite probably on the horizon. (we hope to have our plans firmed up early in the new year.) but, given our experience here, if we do end up shopping for a new home in victoria then i have a number of thoughts about the ideal layout. we’d still like a small house (under 1,200 square feet), but the bedrooms (at least the nursery) should be as far removed from the kitchen and bathroom (bathrooms? let’s hope!) as possible. right now frankie’s tiny room manages to share walls with our bedroom and the dining room and her door (which is glass and not so square) looks into the kitchen directly and is about two feet away from our sole bathroom.

here is an abridged list of things we can’t do while frankie is asleep:

  1. shower
  2. make food
  3. talk at a normal volume
  4. vacuum
  5. empty the dishwasher
  6. watch tv or a movie at a volume above 13 (so we have to use the closed captioning feature)
  7. flush the toilet
  8. let the microwave beep
  9. turn on any lights except the one built into the microwave
  10. allow the washer or dryer to ding
  11. empty the recycling off the front porch into the bin at the side of the house
  12. drop anything

you guys, pierre has to grind his coffee beans in the basement every morning. over the past nine months we have become so used to this madness — like, it’s totally normal for me to hover around the washing machine so that i can turn it off the second that the cycle is done. i can only vacuum my house on weekends when pierre is home to entertain the baby as she cries if i vacuum while she is awake and she will wake up if i vacuum while she is asleep. i have a very hairy cat! this is a problem! when can i shower or eat or go to the bathroom if not while she is asleep?

unless frankie turns into a very heavy (i’d settle for moderately heavy) sleeper as a toddler, i have a feeling we might be shopping for a new house next year, period — whether we stay in toronto or move to victoria. or maybe we can replace some windows and do some soundproofing here. but, for right now, this is where we live with our very sensitive sleeper. so pierre asked me to at least solve the issue of frankie having a direct line of sight into the kitchen when she’s in her crib. i hemmed and hawed because i didn’t want to replace her bedroom door (not only do i really like me a french door, but i like being able to check on her when she is sleeping without opening her door — because opening her door is another no-no) nor did i want to hang a bulky curtain.

so i started looking into window film (not a decor choice i ever thought i’d be googling) and found a pattern i really liked at home depot. the colours matched her crib sheet exactly and we have other mosaic tile-type stuff around the house so i didn’t think it would look out of place. plus, the product i bought sticks to glass with just water; there are no adhesives so it won’t ruin the door at all. i’m super happy with it! i decided to leave the film off the top third of the door so that i could still see in, but frankie can’t see out. it does absolutely nothing to help with our noise problem, but it definitely fixes our sight problem — no more big blue eyes staring at us making dinner in the kitchen.

please, in the comments — is there anything i can do to help us to not feel like prisoners in our own home? she already has a white noise machine. how do you fellow small space dwellers deal with napping babies?

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6 thoughts on “metro window film

  1. We were obsessed with silence when our son was younger too. I used to embrace the fact that it made me much more mindful when doing something as simple as closing a drawer!

    Thankfully now that he is 2 he will sleep through nearly anything, so fingers crossed you will have the same experience.

    1. thank you!! this gives me hope! and yes, you do do everything mindfully with a sleeping baby, don’t you? of course, it’s also make me totally aware of just what a klutz i am! very carefully putting a dish in the sink and i still manage to drop it!

  2. See? I was going to suggest a white noise machine! But you’ve already thought of that!!! That’s a tough one. But sometimes it’s a problem you create for yourself! I read when I was pregnant that newborns adjust to their environment and if you are not a quiet family – don’t be quiet around the newborn. We didn’t hold back and both kids were heavy sleepers (but the first one took FOREVER to sleep more than four hours and the second one had colic… 6yrs later when he cries we still have a bad PTSD response to the sound). So there’s that. Babies really will find a way to mess up SOMETHING related to sleep! Thankfully they DO outgrow it and toddlers/kids usually do sleep like the dead. Obviously you need help with it now and she’s not a newborn. For daytime napping: does she like sleeping in her stroller? Maybe walk her into a snooze and leave her to sleep in her stroller in your mudroom. Then you can make more noise in the rest of the house. For mornings and evenings – this really doesnt help though.

    That said (for future!) have you considered renovating your current house so that the bedrooms are both in the basement? Like an upside down two storey house. You could use the existing master bedroom as a playroom or TV room and your daughter’s room as an office. Be sure to sound insulate the basement ceiling (Roxul Safe and Sound is great insulation for this).

    But if you’re moving… When it comes to small houses – I’m a huge fan of the 1.5 storey design! I’ve been in a big new house and it just didn’t give us the useable space that our current, good sized 1.5 storey does. The kids have big rooms upstairs (and at a certain age physical separation for the bedrooms is great) and we have our bedroom and office in the two main floor rooms. With a good family/playroom in the basement we’re set – the main floor is between the TV and their floor. When they move out one day (maybe!?!) we can just ignore the second floor and have space for overnight guests.

    I feel for you! Note though a bigger house may not help – my sister-in-law was in a big suburban house with a floor between the bedrooms and family room and still had the same issues with her kid being a light sleeper. I always wondered though if the extremes they went through to be quiet contributed to his sensitivity. Once he started school he was tired enough to sleep deeply! Anyhow. A bigger space may not help. Then again – having a baby’s room in the middle of the living space facing the kitchen is just not ideal!!

    Good luck!!!!

    1. thank you for your very thoughtful response! i LOVE 1.5 storey houses — i think they’re perfect! your house sounds like it has a great layout. that’s definitely what we’ll be looking for in victoria, if we move.

      if we stay here, then yes, another renovation is part of our long term plan — probably a master bedroom and ensuite bathroom in the basement and to give frankie rose our current bedroom, which is a little bigger than her current one. this would mean we’d have a second bathroom on a separate level, so we could at least shower without waking her up! we’d also then have the noise barrier of a proper ceiling; right now the basement is just rafters so there’s not much separating the floors as far as noise goes. we’ll also be replacing all the windows (they’re older than i am) so that will help with external noise.

      and you are probably right — i’ve probably created my own light sleeper with all the measures we’ve taken to be quiet! i don’t know if there’s any undoing that now… but i do know most toddlers sleep like the dead, as you say, so i’ll keep my fingers crossed 🙂

  3. Hi, thanks for a lovely blog!

    My daughter is just a few days shy of 18 months. I find her sleep patterns change all the time. From 6 weeks until about 9 months I was the smug parent whose child slept through every night, although getting her down for her day time naps was a problem. Since then I had to swallow my smugness because as everyone else’s babies started sleeping through the night mine stopped, although day sleep got much better. We have re sleep trained her (nothing major, just being consistent, letting her cry a little if she doesn’t sound too upset and having minimal stimulation when we go in to resettle her) and she seems to be doing better now.

    At the beginning these things seemed huge and I worried I was ruining my child, or myself. Now I’m much more relaxed. Everything is a phase. She will sleep through, if not now then eventually. Missing a nap won’t kill her. A broken night’s sleep won’t kill me. Noises do occasionally wake her but I try to just act like normal and resettle her if needed, most of the time she is capable of resettling herself.

    So I’d say either accept it as a phase and try to not let it worry you. Or sleep train her out of it. That means acting like normal in the house and getting her used to sleeping with noise and resettling herself if something wakes her. I’d say in a week she will be sleeping through most noise. Is it worth it? Maybe.

    1. thanks for sharing your experience! we’ve also been very well rested new parents; Frankie first slept eight hours straight at seven weeks old and gradually worked her way up to 12 hours. she rarely wakes in the night, except, as i mentioned, if we step on a particularly squeaky floorboard or drop a pot in the sink, which is frustrating for us. that being said, she’s 10 months old now and the last two weeks have been trying at night, small house aside — separation anxiety and her first cold, i think. i’m pretty sure that even if she had her own private wing she would be waking frequently right now!

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