NEW YEAR, NEW ROOM!
I still remember the room my mom created for us. My sister and I had separate beds and I got the one by the window side. We were to share the writing desk in the middle, which had a seat you could pull out and revealed extra storage spaces. It was simple and neat, but above all, it was fun. I had endless days of hanging blankets all around for my makeshift fortresses. I imagined many of my days away in that room and it is perhaps this sort of happiness to have my own space as a child that made me wanna do the same for my boys.
The room is rectangular and straightforward. It makes for easy fixing, with windows that give it a daily dose of wonderful sunshine.
The house came with cabinets and it took me a while to change the one in the kids’ room because I didn’t want unnecessary expenses. But part of a child’s developmental needs is to help them grow in independence and ownership through their environment, and a cabinet customized to their size is one way to do that. So I eventually bit the bullet and had a new one made with which Philip (and soon, Manu) can easily pull his clothes out and put them (or hang) back into place.
The Bed (Why is there no crib?)
I got the Ikea Kura Reversible Bunk Bed frame, which can grow with the boys through the years. While I chose it to function as a double-deck bed for us, it can also easily be flipped upside down to turn it into a single poster bed instead.
Other ideas include turning the entire lower level into a bean bag corner, or a little study nook. There are endless possibilities with this design and that’s what I love about it.
I got my bed frame from Furniture Source.
The blue canopy is also from Ikea and I bought it in Singapore.
Cannot wait for Ikea to open here in the country!!!
Now people ask me why I don’t have a crib and here is why.
It was actually my sister who introduced to me some RIE principles and the concept of Freedom of Movement, which is basically a way of caring for our children (especially infants) that is mindful about their freedom when it comes to their moving and choices. To be honest, I didn’t realize how much of our baby items were actually designed to constrict children’s will and movement until I encountered this philosophy.
Take for example the exersaucers. It’s so deceiving to think the baby is busy with the number of activities in his personal center (which also is not to be encouraged; too much in one place only creates confusion and disables the more valuable work of concentration), when the truth is that s/he is seated through it all. This means that the baby is prevented from crawling, pulling up, and moving from one level to another, which are things that a baby might rather do. (And are all developmentally crucial stages to hit!) Add that once bored, he has to cry to be taken out of the thing. He is pretty much “trapped” and encouraged to be more dependent on adults when using such contraptions.
Apply the same philosophy to cribs. Baby is asleep and has to cry to be taken out of his/her bed, instead of waking up and finding confidence in just crawling out of his/her own space to wherever s/he feels like going.
A Note: But I do have a Joei co-sleeper, which is a crib-like purchase we made for a couple of reasons. One is because I needed a specific napping place for him on our second floor, where most of us stay during the daytime. I find that naps turn out to be better when they are associated with a specific place so the sleeper is able to do the trick. It actually took me a while to find the perfect sleeper pen precisely because I was looking for something that does not make my baby feel helpless and almost every other playpen did that — they boxed out a baby from moving further. Thankfully, that is not the case with the Kubbie Joei Sleeper. It is pretty unique in that it has a zipper option that allows the baby to freely hop in and out according to his liking through it when the padding is already placed down to its lowest level.
Every baby gear purchase that we make for the home pretty much communicates this message to our kids: while you can be helped, you aren’t helpless at all. And also, we don’t like unnecessary expenses. An instagrammable crib can be pretty expensive. HAHA. I remember getting one for my firstborn some five years back and was so bummed that he didn’t even sleep much on it! We ended up co-sleeping and taking more naps in his stroller. Had I known that there was no need for a crib and baby mattress back then, I would have probably considered putting my money on the next item instead.
To this day, our marital bed has no bedframe. Why? Because our mattress is superb and more than enough. It has served to be our “home” through the many seasons of our marriage.
We bought this at a time when we still didn’t have much money, so you can say it was a memorable purchase, haha! But we did it because we valued rest and sleep. And it has been worth it. In all the years that we’ve had it, we’ve always found our bed to be constant and comforting.
And it is with this very principle that we purchase Mandaue Foam’s Flex Premium foam beds for our kids’ room. We wanted quality mattresses that would grow with our children, with which they would find something familiar during times of change, as well as comfort.
Their Flex Premium mattress is their highest quality foam and has the right balance of firm and soft (so true, I’ve personally tried it and I sleep on it!), which is suitable for all types of sleepers.This pillow is so so so soft!!! It actually feels like a cloud haha! This is Mandaue’s deluxe pillow filled with grade A polyester microfiber and covered with 100% cotton fabric. Material is also resistant to dustmites, bacteria, and it is anti-allergy.No need to worry about outgrowing the bed, right?
And if it makes you spend a little more than usual for a baby mattress, it can already grow with him through the years. (They say 10 years before you must change a good mattress.)
A word on off-gassing
This seems to be a concern among moms. It is basically the smell a new mattress emits which they say causes SIDS or bad chemical reactions in babies.
Mandaue’s beds are safe from off-gassing poisonous toxins. They say that while other people might not like the odor in some instances, there are no health risks reported about them ever since.
Ours didn’t come with any smell at all and if I guess if you feel uncomfortable about it still, you might want to air it out for about a few months or maybe you can put a baby pad on top of the mattress itself.
I got this Pillow Fort Waterproof Sleep Anywhere Pad for Manu which I use on our own beds, and also for when we are traveling. (We never know what they have in those hotel or airbnb beds right, hahahahaha.) I love it because it does not crumple like a soft blanket, so moms won’t fear that the pad will end up covering baby’s face in his sleep.
The Other Corners
What is a room in the Bonifacio household without books, right? So there should always be a shelf.
Also, I placed mats and toys that fit the two boys’ respective seasons. I have a five-year-old and an infant and their very different needs have been the biggest challenge of setting up their shared spaces. Like, how do you address two different seasons, two different sizes, while somehow staying coordinated and united? (I suggest: minimalist colors and designs. Everything must be based on something white, beige, gray, so when you throw in color it doesn’t look messy or noisy.)
My personal belief is that your bedroom must be associated with rest and sleep. It must be a place where your mind, body, heart, soul, can retreat in peace. Focusing on gentle and clean colors can definitely help to set that mood, as well as good lighting. That is, natural available light viewed directly from some window, and lamps in warm colors than harsh white lighting.
This “cabinet” is actually a bunch of square plastic plates by Simply Modular. It’s been such a good investment. I have used it several times over, in many different ways since I got them. It could be a cabinet, a shelf, and it can also be a table!
A good amount of negative space is also effective in communicating that “in this room, it is okay to do nothing.” Do not clutter the room with objects good for working and tinkering because that will only want to make your get up and start working. And since we live in the digital age, try to make the bedroom a zero gadgets area (something we have yet to employ, tbh), where we can relearn to be okay being just with ourselves and our thoughts again.
What is your personal belief when it comes to setting up your bedroom? I’d like to know! Leave a comment below, will you?