I grew up in a family of five. Until I was a junior in college (at which point I finally relinquished it) my brothers shared a bedroom, and it wasn’t until my parents moved (when I was out of college and my youngest brother a senior in high school) that they had a house with more than one bathroom. Growing up my friend Lindsey’s parents had their own bathroom; a “luxury” I could barely imagine.
At the time I was envious of Lindsey and her family’s 2 1/2 baths (they also had a CD player which hooked into surround sound speakers in the ceiling of the family room and kitchen. Holla!), but now (with all my years of wisdom) I am so grateful that I had the experience I did: that my brothers and I had to learn to live in such close proximity to one another. We had to learn to share.
Since moving to Virginia, our kids have been sharing a room (it has also been functioning as their playroom which is, incidentally, one of our favorite places to hang out as a family) and since our recent trip to Honduras they have also been sharing a bed. So far this experiment is going smoothly, I think only a time or two have they woken each other up, and it might even be helping them sleep better than they would otherwise. If nothing else, Eleanor doesn’t ask to have a light on anymore at bedtime because she has her brother to snuggle up to.
As children of the opposite gender, I know that they will not be able to share a room forever. There will come a time when they will need their own space – they will want privacy – and there very likely will come a time when they don’t squeal with delight at the sight of one another. But until that day, Tim and I are doing what we can to encourage respect, responsibility, and sharing between the two of them in the hopes that they carry this forward when they are older.
At times their love for one another ends in tears – like when Eleanor is playing “chase me around the house trying to get my toy computer” with Oliver while Oliver is playing “let me catch up with you so I can play with that toy computer you have in your hand” with Eleanor – but more often than not they find a way to entertain each other quiet nicely. This morning when Eleanor came downstairs after waking Oliver pointed at her, smiled brightly, and handed her a little toy pig while holding a duck in the other hand. He was on a mission to play and wanted his sister to join him.