New Post: June, 2013

When people find out that Grey and Atticus share a bedroom, their first response is usually a question like, “How long do you plan on doing that?” My standard reply is, “Till it’s creepy.”

We always wanted them to share a room, but we never set out to turn it into a lifestyle. Turns out that it’s a pretty big deal. Not just because we’ve got two kids in the same room, but we have two kids of opposite genders sharing the space. And now that we’ve gone this long, it seems silly to quit till it becomes either apparently necessary or totally questionable (right now I’ve got boobs/masturbation, whichever happens first, as a clear marker).

We recently became interested in a house (that didn’t work out), and when we went with a realtor to see it we noted that it was only technically a 4 bedroom house: one of the bedrooms was actually just one larger space with a closet on each end, and down the middle was one of those accordion partition walls that you could open and close. The agent was working hard on Grey to get her on board with the “big bedroom” with “all that closet space” and shoving her brother into the tiny loser bedroom at the end of the hall.

Grey was adamant, several times over, that she and Atticus would share the space, and when they needed breaks from each other they’d just pull the divider shut. The realtor didn’t know what to say to this small, insistent person.

When Daniel started fixing up our current house we discussed secret passages and hidden rooms that we always imagined for ourselves when we were tiny. So he installed “the secret door” for them.

Image

It leads from their room into the closet of the front bedroom that we use as our catch-all area (bookshelves, exercise equipment, art area). When we first showed them what Papa had made for them, they were ecstatic. When we first moved in, Atticus didn’t even have to duck to go through it. Grey made a rule that “only small people” can use it.

They use it to chase and hide and sneak and escape.

Sometimes I wish I was better at sharing space. Or better at protecting what is important to me, even under pressure. I’d really love a secret door for sneaking out, too.

What about you? Did you ever imagine fun hideaways as a kid? (I drew out plans for a dinosaur-shaped bed complete with stuffed animal storage and a reading nook.)

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11 comments
  1. Oh, I had LOTS of house plans growing up. When we lived in a brown double-wide in the sticks of western Oregon, I decided if it was my house the first thing I’d do is stencil on neon geometric shapes (It was 1993, what can I say?).

    When I drew my own plans, I had loads of secret passages and bonus rooms. Now all I think about when I think secret passages, all I can think is SPIDERS. O_o Did I mention black widows love this climate?

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      You *would* have plans! I think we would’ve been childhood besties…. :) I never thought about the spiders until last weekend we were at my in-laws’ and the kids went exploring the attic spaces in the eaves of the upstairs. Who knows what’s hiding up there!

  2. Melissa Williams said:

    D’arcy and Julian share a room and Schroeder and Maggie share a room. I suppose puberty might change this situation, but for now I like the dynamic. We have this awesome attic in our garage that I’ve thought about turning over to the big kids as a hidden, secret space. It’s even air conditioned (or could be if we decided to turn the a/c on). These are the kinds of things good childhoods are made of :).

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      Yay for your kiddos sharing! I love that they’re paired up like this, Melissa. We’ll have to brainstorm closer to puberty…. Daniel built the kids loft-style beds, so they still each have personal space underneath (and can shut a curtain for privacy). They know they have to ask permission before going under each other’s bed.

      I LOVE the idea of that attic space turned into a kids-only hangout! Can’t wait to see photos if you guys end up doing it.

  3. LaLa said:

    You know ours shared a room until A requested her own space. Now we just get the awkward, “….and, where is the master bedroom?” It’s always fun to watch peoples faces when we tell them that James and I sleep on the living room floor. It’s just a societal assumption, children of opposite genders must have their own room, and parents must have a room. Also, my cousins shared a room from birth until they moved out on their own. Sharing a room or not, when you live in the same house with other people you’re going to run into awkward situations from time to time. I see it as a matter of showing mutual respect and compassion for one another.
    That being said, James had dreams of making a secret passage through the attic connecting the kids rooms, but we opted for the cheaper option, and just added in the pocket door for the living room.

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      Secret attic passage! Awesome. And that pocket door is the stuff of my dreams.

      The thing that’s good with your family is you do something till it stops working and alter the plan until it fits again. There’s some extra flexibility that comes with being willing to bypass those societal assumptions. :)

  4. Jess said:

    I love that your kids share a room, it’s so cool. And I’m totally jealous of their secret door. As a child I was in love with my great Uncle’s house (still am, actually) because it is old and magnificent and has secret things like pull out beds behind doors, laundry chutes, and telephone nooks.
    I’d like a secret escape door into a tiny book nook.

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      Jess, one of my favorite things is Frank Lloyd Wright’s home in Oak Park, IL. For his kids’ bedroom(s) he took one space and built a wall down the middle, but the wall doesn’t go up to the ceiling! It’s just a divider; boys on one side, girls on another. http://www.houzz.com/photos/2120943/Frank-Lloyd-Wright-Home—Studio-traditional-kids-chicago

      Your uncle’s house sounds awesome! I love exploring old homes like that…there’s always something new to discover. If I ever have a house with a dumb waiter, I’ll be in heaven. And if you guys want to add in a false wall to your unfinished space there, I know we could line it with book shelves and cover the floor with cushions and make that dream come true!

  5. Elizabeth said:

    Our secret places were all outside. Two doors down was the big pine tree we could hide under. And down the street the other direction we would hide inside a lilac bush. It’s where we’d go when we “ran away” for the shortest possible time. I had my first own room when Kristen went to college. Out of 4 kids, I always had to share with someone. I don’t think I even cared about it then, though. I definitely don’t now. I don’t want my own space. I want people in my space all the time. I always want space big enough for more than 1 person, so I can share it.

    • alltheseblessedthings said:

      This may be my favorite thing about you. I want to be more like that when I grow up. :)

      We made our secret spaces outside, too! Mostly up in trees. Do your kids do that? Mine are always finding tiny places to cram themselves into as some sort of secret hiding plan. Inside or out, it doesn’t matter. There’s always hiding going on.

      • Elizabeth said:

        They haven’t successfully spent enough time up in a tree. Most in this yard are either too tall or too small. Gus is obsessed with treehouses now though so I think there may be one of those in his future.

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