We finally did it. We caved and got the girls bunk beds. We got the MYDAL Bunk Beds from IKEA. I have a love/hate relationship with IKEA, but that is a whole other post. The girls love the new beds. I am getting used to the idea.
The upside is that they are both sleeping better and we freed up a bedroom. This allowed a household shuffle that moved the playroom into the extra bedroom and my craft stuff from the dining room into the former playroom. When all is said and done it has really enabled us to reclaim a lot of the house.
The good news is that we now have an actual dining room that is not full of sewing projects. I have a craft room with lots of storage and the option to just close the door and walk away from the (hidden from company) mess. The girls have a playroom that is in their own little area and is much easier to keep contained. I have asserted my domain over the entire first floor which now, as if by magic, stay clean. I had not realized how much of my daily "work" was actually just bulldozing all the toys out of the communal living space back into their rightful storage places. Now I can just shut the door on the mess and the toys are not continually spilling into the living room and stressing me out.
The bad news is that bed-time requires a fair bit of orchestration. The two of them were not really sleeping before, so it has not become worse, but it is tricky. Liz is trapped in the death spiral of sleep deprivation. Having given up her nap she is now way too tired to settle so she is up playing in her bed until 9/10pm. Having long since missed her window for good sleep, she is up no later than 6am ready to spend another day crying and tantruming. Kill me now, nap transition blows. Now I take her to bed as early as 6pm and stay with her until she settles enough to stop keeping herself awake. Then I can read to Charlie and get her tucked in. When Liz is asleep and the room is quite and boring, Charlie soon follows. It is a bit of a to-do, but the two of them then sleep until 6:30/6:45 and then hang out and play until the "clock turns green" at 7. Believe it or not, this is a major improvement from the old method where the two of them would spend 2-3 hours screaming across the hall at each other while searched for Kindergartens with a boarding option.
It has been a tough few days with the transition and the house overhaul, but tonight I had two very tired kids peacefully asleep at 6pm by their own initiative. Bunk beds man. Worth every freaking penny!