No one in our house has his or her own room, though everyone would desperately like to.
I had my own room growing up so I’m not sure why I decided somewhere along the line that it would be better for the kids to share. The boys had their own rooms when Jonah was a baby, but when he was about 3 and gave up naps, we moved him in with Adam.
I guess I felt there are life lessons to be learned when you share a room. You learn to get along; you learn to compromise; you learn to share. Or not.
For a long time, Adam was pretty mean to Jonah and Jonah hated sharing a room with him, but more recently, they have learned to work things out. They peacefully coexist these days. I think because they share a room, they are more likely to play together. Though Adam has outgrown Lego’s, sometimes he will get down on the floor and play with Jonah. They also have to work together when it’s time to clean up — although this often elicits disagreements over whose mess is whose.
Technically, there is an extra bedroom in the house, but I claimed it for my office when we moved Jonah out. The room has a bed in it, but we use it as the “sick” bed incase one of the kids get sick at night. After a recent bout with the stomach bug, Adam decided he liked my office and wanted to claim it as his own. I shut that down pretty fast, however, and sent him packing back to the room he shares with Jonah as soon as he recovered.
I’ve always figured that one day, one of the kids would move into the attic. We have a pretty decent third floor that even has a rustic bathroom, but so far there have been no takers. The insulation up there isn’t great so it’s beastly hot in the summer and frigid in the winter. The kids usually have their sleepovers up there and that’s been working out pretty well.
Over spring break in Rhode Island, the girls had their own rooms. I didn’t love it. When we weren’t doing something else, they sequestered themselves in their rooms and shut the doors. At home, they spend a lot of time in their room reading and on their iPods, but at least they are in there together.
Maggie and Lilly aren’t especially tight sisters. They get along, but they don’t have a lot in common and they don’t share secrets. I’m hoping one day this might change. I’m hoping that one day, they might actually start talking before they go to sleep at night.
It’ll be easier if they are in the same room.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 14, Lilly, 13, Adam, 13, and Jonah, 9.