By Lisa Cherry
When anyone asks one of my children if they have their own bedroom, I have to chuckle. In a household with eight kids still at home, the odds are not good. We are very blessed to own a house with ample space for our larger than average brood. But when you do the math— 3700 square feet divided by ten—you find that extra space is in short supply.
Our home had been sitting on the market for a long time when we purchased it in 1999. Not many people wanted a five bedroom house, without a luxurious master bedroom suite. We carved out another bedroom in the large, partially finished basement to round up to six. It was perfect for us. So right now with our first two kids launched out, the next two oldest teens have private spaces, while everyone else has a roommate.
Over the years, we have had many combinations of roommate assignments. It would take a family archivist to keep track of them all. Coordinating nap schedules, room décor, sex and age of occupants has made for nearly annual room adjustments.
Some of our bunk arrangements have worked better than others. Actually some of the best ones have been some of the most unlikely. Once we moved Lydia’s crib into an already full bedroom with her two young teen sisters. They were thrilled to have a baby with them and her cries no longer awakened her brother Ethan, who was a toddler at the time.
But when Kalyn moved out in August, we were positioned for a severe multi-room shake-up. Rebekah, at sixteen was due for the promotion to a solo teen bedroom. Lydia, at eight, would need to move in with Hannah, fourteen. But only if, according to Hannah, she put her dolls in the closet and changed her bedspread from Cinderella-pink to a trendier black and white.
That left Josiah needing a new bunkie. It seemed logical to move Ethan, his nearest in age brother, out of the room with his two older brothers and in with Josiah. But we always offer the oldest kid the first shot at a move. To our surprise (and delight) Micah at twelve volunteered to share with little Josiah. I guess he figured it might be easier to control the behavior of a three or four-year-old, than that of his very messy nine and eleven-year-old brothers.
It’s worked beautifully. Micah whips that room into shape in no time, and only occasionally bribes Josiah with a piece of candy to perform.
Somehow in all the “roommate” talk, Josiah missed the wording. He shouts out “I need my teammate!” when he is calling for Micah.
Teammate. I like that concept. I think we hit a winner with this room assignment. Now if I can just find a way for my other two boys to remember they are playing on the same team. Doug keeps assuring me that boys just naturally express their manhood by wrestling and pushing on each other.
It must be true, because somehow, those sweet boys who have beaten and pounced on each other all day long can sometimes be seen at bedtime “camping out” together on a blanket in the living room. Side by side. Fiercely competitive, but teammates still!