When our kids were really little – like, baby and toddler – I spoke loftily about how they would always share a room, how even if we lived in a place where they could have their own bedrooms they wouldn’t, that learning to compromise and share and work with another person was so important, and that sharing created a special bond between siblings even if they hated it sometimes.
Then, when they were about five and three and we were living in a house with four bedroom, I found myself putting them in separate rooms. Gracie had started a habit of whispering to her sister half the night, and Joy was getting cranky and miserable from never having a place to go where her sister couldn’t follow. The guest room was transformed into Joy’s room, and life became much happier for everyone.
Now we’re in a two-bedroom apartment, and not-sharing is not an option, though at this point all of us wish it was. Joy is deeply introverted and high sensitive, and is reaching the stage of wanting her space to be neat, tidy, organized, and open. Grace is a chatterbox with no sense of boundaries, and still likes everything she owns to be out all the time, scattered everywhere. Things get tense.
While we can’t give them their own room – and safety rules on campus mean we can’t even let Joy go outside to play by herself – Carl and I did put our heads together to come up with a plan for making life a little better for them.
We cleared out probably half their toys and even some books (weep) and rearranged their room to be able to give them each their own desk, on opposite sides of the room. The desk is each girl’s own space, which the other one is not allowed to touch without permission. Eventually I plan to rearrange the books left in the crates so that the ones that are more Joy’s interest are with her desk, and the same with Gracie.
And we probably lost our security deposit with these, but I don’t even care:
Above each desk are two shelves, also for that girl alone, for trinkets and special things. And books, of course. The shelves transform the feel of the entire room; I love them so much!
We also bought some rolling carts with drawers, and shallow boxes to go under the bed, and are in the process of organizing their remaining toys so that they are clearly labeled and separated. I’m also thinking of some decorating improvements – new curtains, maybe even an area rug to go over the nasty brown carpet everywhere in the apartment.
It’s not a perfect solution, but what ever is? It’s better than it was, and that’s enough for now. Hopefully, when the girls look back on their years here while Dad was in seminary, the good memories will be the ones that have stuck.