Saturday, July 14, 2007

Danger! Keep Out!

We live in a 3-bedroom house.

When we bought this home 3 years ago, I was under it's spell. Under it's spell, and desperate for a little more elbow room than our 1,200 square foot first home was providing. I was so mystified by the lure of this new property that I refused to see a few of the glaring details (like the fact that it still only had 3 bedrooms and a teeny tiny kitchen with much less cupboard space than my first one) that would gnaw away at me every day like a big sign that said "I told you so", reminding me of my impatience to hold out for something more ideal for our family to move in to.

There, I said it. I regret pleading, begging and doing all sorts of favors to get my husband to even agree to look at this house, let alone BUY it.

But, buy it we did.

It has taken some time, but with a lot of hard work and some creative new ways of looking at the "previously modified" (they put in walls where there should be none, who does that?) spaces in this home, we have made it ours. We've painted and replaced and knocked down walls. We've landscaped and cleaned and tidied up. We've tiled the floor and created lighting where there was none. We've re-wired and planted and fixed things.

But nothing can change the fact that there are still only 3 bedrooms. And there are 5 people. And yes, of course the mommy and daddy get to "share" a room, but who else, in our complicated arrangement, will be sharing?

The answer was that the girl got her own room. Why? Because she's a girl. Simple, right? Not so much.

After 3 years of trying to get her to actually sleep in her own room, it came to me.

All the rest of us share a room, and she feels left out. She isn't comfortable in her own room unless someone else is in there with her. Hence, the countless hours spent reading bedtime stories, sprinkling magic monster dust over everything and lying with her until she falls asleep only to wander into my bed a few hours later.

On the flip side, the boys had been sharing a room since before her enterance into this world, and probably don't remember a time when they didn't share a room. And although their occasional pleas for their own rooms were heard, they were just as easily dismissed because we were not about to embark on a total home remodeling project to create a 4th bedroom (and a 5-piece master bath for me) just yet. Nor were we in the market to move again.

Fast forward to a few months ago. I was cleaning kids' rooms, trying to create a new way to give the boys more space in their cramped quarters and it came to me.

What if Wyatt and Katie shared a room?

After consulting with them (they were all for it), the disassembling of the bunk beds commenced. McRae fetched various sockets of assorted sized with which I could take the bed apart and then we, as a team, moved it into Katie's room. We put the bed together, put the sheets and blankets on it and filled Wyatt's side of the room with his things.

That night, a magical thing happened. I read the usual bedtime story, kissed Katie and Wyatt goodnight, walked away and . . .

She went to sleep.

Wyatt seemed happy with his new space, as he is not a child craving a whole lot of privacy or alone time just yet, and McRae was quickly plotting all the things he would do with "his room" (even though I reminded him that he still needed to share the closet with his brother and if anyone wanted to build any massive lego buildings or set up the Brio train, it would be done in his room because now, he had the most space). His gears were turning in overdrive, and the re-arranging began.

He took all the books off his shelf and neatly stacked them according to his tastes (and size, another important organizing method). He made his bed military fashion and hung up his awards from school. He made a trash can out of legos after I told him he didn't need a garbage in his room (but he needed one for pencil shavings) and he cleaned all the clutter left from his brother.

He let his inner o.c.d. shine in his new room. He even vacuumed it by himself.

And then, he put this on his door:

And below it, another:

It was kind of him to give me a backstage pass (I'm a lucky groupie, aren't I?):

Because now I have access to see him doing this:

In his own room, on his neatly made bed reading of ways to tie a knot and make a battery.

I am also happy to report that Wyatt and Katie are enjoying their room together and sharing the space does not seem to be an issue for them, for now. I know my days of this arrangement are numbered (hopefully a large number), but it seems to be working for now, for us.


Lisa Fine/Kelly Kelly said...

We live in that same house. Ha! I cannot go anywhere in the house without hearing everyone else. Ugh.

I loved the signs on their doors. so cute.


mom said...

Oh, my. Those signs are really funny.

I am remembering sharing with MY brother, when my big sister just couldn't take my childish ways. She DID have 5+ years on me and big bro was caught in the middle. Plus, I don't think she would have EVER handled our raising tadpoles & salamanders in the bedroom....

He & I lasted longer than it was thought possible, entertaining ourselves with nightly games like "Name that Tune", until the inevitable need for him to have some male space drove him to the basement room that was barely finished in time.

Today? All is well. Have a great relationship with both siblings.. to the extent I am actually looking forward to our "sibling trip" this fall.

But I think I'll share a room with my husband.

Left Coast Sister said...

Too funny! At least you'll never be able to say you raised kids with no personality, no imagination and no wit!

Ann(ie) said...

Those signs are hysterical!!!

Becky said...

wow i'm glad that all worked out! i have NEVER had my own room. i shared with my sisters and now i share with matt!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I fell victim to new construction too! While we have enough bedrooms....the kids' rooms are terribly small! Add in the absurdly huge loft bed contraption and a train table and you can hardly move in Junior Mayhem's room! Guess I should have measured!

That's just not how we roll at the Mayhem!

Aunt C said...

I want to come live at your house - it always sounds like so much fun. Besides, I now live with the tadpole and salamander raiser. I periodically ask Grandma C if she wants him back, but she always says no - so I guess I'll keep him. After all, he is pretty special. :)

Salome's Mom said...

I love the signs and you have the cutest kids. I used to sleep in the same bedroom as my sister when I was a little girl and could never imagine sleeping by myself so I can relate.

Mamacita Tina said...

Hilarious, love the signs!

Glad to hear everyone's living peacefully together, and Katie's sleeping now. Yes, that was brilliant thinking on your part.

Mom Sleppy said...

We live in a 3-bedroom house, too. Well, right now the adults are sleeping in the den because the master bedroom is being re-tiled. One bedroom is the office (we have a home business), and the three kids share a bedroom. They don't all sleep in there. The middle child sleeps in the living room because he wakes up after we go to sleep and moves to the couch. The older one started sleeping in the living room, too, because his brother (middle one) has moved into the living room. The youngest one has no choice but to sleep in her crib because, well, it's a crib.

But you didn't have to know all that. They are all under 5 years old, so they don't care.

I really wanted to comment on that great, excellent, super fantastic book that your son is reading. Amazing collection of really dangerous stuff. My husband got it for Father's Day in hopes to be able to share the fun cool activities in there. But be cautious! It really is a "Dangerous" book!