Tuesday, July 22, 2008

De-bunking the Ark

Or how we fit soon-to-be 9 people in one house

Let me go officially on record by saying that we did not inherit a mansion with 17 bedrooms en suite. When we moved aboard the current Ark, we *only* had 4 kids. By suburban standards this was clearly above average as evidenced by the conversation I had with our builder during the house inspection.

Builder: So, how many kids you got?

Me: Four.

Builder: FOUR? Where are you going to put them all?

Me: Ummmm...we were thinking about using the three bedrooms upstairs.

Builder: Really? I'd never have imagined it. When we designed this house, we put in the master bedroom along with a bedroom for a boy and a girl; and a guest room, of course.

Me: Of course.

Builder (walking away muttering to himself): Four kids...can't imagine it...

I wonder if I should have told him we weren't planning on having a guest room? But, at the time, it seemed as though the thought might have sent him over the edge. It probably wouldn't sit well with him if I called him today to tell him of the additional two (with a third on her way) children we've managed to squeeze into the three thousand square feet of living space we have here.

House size--or more specifically number of bedrooms--seems to be one of those items on the "how could we possibly add another child to our family" list. As if when there isn't an equal ratio of children to bedrooms, everything we've been taught to believe is important in raising children starts to unravel.

I think it's just that simple. Somewhere in our HGTV-minded culture (trust me this is not an HGTV-bashing session. I big, red puffy heart LOVE HGTV.) we've come to believe that each child wants, needs and deserves their own bedroom.

Thematically designed...

including hand-painted murals...

with co-ordinating six billion thread count sheets...

full of novelties and knick-knacks...

and awash with enough material goods to bless an entire third-world country (okay, maybe just a small one) for a nation wide Christmas gift exchange. Not that there is anything wrong with a well-decorated room. Taking the time to make the spaces in our home beautiful can bring great glory to God--the Ultimate Decorator.

Unless the decorating becomes an obstacle for welcoming the most glorious of God's creation--- human life.

Jumping down off my soapbox now, to answer the original question that is often posed to us, "Where does everyone sleep?"

Well, the Captain and I have our own space--barring any new babies or late night thunderstorms.

The two older girls sleep here:

The two little girls sleep here (and you'll notice a crib all set up and waiting for our new Baby Girl to join them):

Baby T sleeps here (now officially in a "Big Boy Bed"):

And, The Boy, has secured a literal room of his own in the basement we finally finished. I'd show you a picture, but, as it is, I'm lucky Sir Privacy allows me to mention he still lives here.

As you can tell, the bedrooms are just that--rooms for beds and bureaus--for sleeping and dressing and occasionally a quiet place to read. That's definitely all they have room for, too. The largest of these bedrooms might measure 12' x 13'. Toys, games, puzzles, etc...are kept in the "common" areas of the house where we can enjoy them together.

The more I think about it, maybe I should share this information with our builder friend. It might help him---and others---quite a bit.


Ericka said...

I'm chuckling at your post.
Your bedrooms are so adorable, I love love the colors, very restful and peaceful.

scmom (Barbara) said...

As the only girl in my family, I ached for a roommate. I loved my sorority house for just that reason. Now my only-girl daughter aches for a roommate. "Your own room" is highly overrate IMO. Still praying.

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

Beautiful bedrooms!

And it's better to fill those bedrooms with people who will be there using them!

We only have 4 kids right now and I'm hoping for more!

Anonymous said...

When I was little (Irish Catholic family) all five of us (the kids) slept in one bedroom. We had to push the crib out in the hall every morning to open the closet.
In the closet there was a box of underwear, a box of shorts and a box of tops.

Some kind soul gave us an AC as my mom was so miserable and pregnant most summers and that was kept in my parents room. When it got really hot in the summer everyone slept on the floor in our parents room.
When we got older we moved into the unfinished attic. This was fine with us.

It was such a shock when I adopted years later and had to have social services check the house out for the home study. They actually measured the old bedroom room and shook their heads saying it was a bit small (for ONE child).

Of course when I picked my child up she was being kept in a small room lined with bunkbeds and several babies to a crib. I think 17 children shared that room.

My mom is still very offended about the comments on the bed room.


Julie Cooper said...

Hi Jane - When my sister was in junior high, she convinced my parents that she just *needed* her own bedroom. I was in 4th or 5th grade and sad when she packed up her stuff and moved to another room in the house. I liked the company!

In our home, we have four bedrooms. Right now, the oldest boys (ages 10, 9 and 7) sleep in the same room. They like each other's company (usually!). Our 4-year-old son has his own room. He goes to bed earlier and wakes up earlier. No complaints so far from any of the boys. Eventually we'll need to change the office into a bedroom when the 3 oldest boys decide that they just *must* have more space. Hopefully not for a few more years!

I think your story about the builder is so funny! Thanks for sharing it and the photos of your rooms. Julie

Michelle said...

Jane, the rooms look lovely. I can't imagine if our oldest girls didn't share a room. Now they're older (almost 19 and 16) and have their own rooms for the first time. They've only been apart for a month and they've already had their first *sleepover.* They miss each other.

For our younger children sharing a room provides wonderful opportunities to develop stronger sibling bonds, learning to get along well with others and for the ones who are *new* to our family, helps them feel part of the family much sooner than if they were in a room by themselves.

Ginny said...

I have really had to let go of any ideas of a "normal" bedroom arrangement at our house. We bought our house when we had one child (little did we know we would convert to Catholicism a couple of years later and have all of our two kids then we're through thoughts happily erased from our minds). It is just under 1500 square feet, and techically speaking it is a one bedroom house. We are very creative though and use one side of the living room as our "bedroom," a large closet works as our little girl's room (which she will soon be sharing with a baby sister), and the one bedroom upstairs, which is pretty large in my opinion-which will soon be home to four little boys. I have friends with the same number of kids who have houses literally four times the size of ours who could never live like we do. However, I like my little house, and my kids have the great outdoors because we live in the country!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your post. I feel so silly sometimes worrying about things of the world when really they don't matter at all. I actually feel sad for the child that won't have a same sex sibbling beause they will feel alone sometimes. I know that as an only child, I really wished that I could have had a sibbling to share things with.......even my room!