Sunday, December 11, 2011
Mr. T's room
I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but our house is small. Not quaint small, but really really small, like 950 square feet. This would be perfect for a couple who doesn't like to entertain much but for a family of four, well, sometimes it feels pretty cramped. Especially in the winter when we can't use our fairly large back yard as an extra room. There are many good things about our small house: it's easy to clean, I can always keep an ear on the kids, it's affordable and in a good neighborhood with a great school. It's safe and cozy and warm and we are fortunate to not worry about making payments or being upside down in our mortgage and, as I previously mentioned, the back yard is huge and fenced in, which I think is great for kids.
Still though, when all four of us are here and the kids are rambunctious I find myself wishing for a basement or a playroom or a 2nd story where they could go. To offset this smallness, I made sure that the kids got their own rooms. This may seem counter-intuitive but when you spend all day or all your time at home WITH the family, it's good for them to have a place they can go that they can call their own. Plus their personalities are not conducive to sharing a room. We have 2 bedrooms, which are decent sized, one is ours and one is Miss E's. When we bought the house, we weren't expecting to be here with two kids.
Then came the wonderful Mr. T, and the crash of the housing market. And when he was about 8 months old, we realized he needed a room. So we took the one car garage, which had been enclosed into the house already, split it in half and made half of it his room. One half of a tiny used-to-be garage in a 1930's house. It's small. To make matters worse, you step down about three stairs from the main part of the house to the laundry room and the door to his room is off the laundry room. The walls are drywall, the floor is regular flooring, but there is not much disguising that it's sitting on a cement slab in a largely uninsulated part of the house. In the laundry room is a door to the outside that no amount of weatherization can fully keep the cold air from flowing in through. Long story short, in the winter, Mr. T's room is a bit cold. His bed is covered in flannel sheets and down comforters and the floor has a thick wool rug but in the cold part of winter, it's pretty chilly.
Last night, after his bath, he and I were down in his room and he was shivering as I was rapidly trying to help him get his pj's and socks on. In the sweetest, littlest voice possible he started this conversation:
"Next time, when we get a new house, can my room be upstairs by yours and Miss E's?"
"Yeah sweetie, it can."
I felt so bad for him at that moment. He never complains about how small his room is, or having the closet with the water heater in it in his space, but somehow this plaintive little request for a warm room in the main part of the house broke my heart. Now I know his room is fine, but this is just one of those things that makes me really realize that sometimes, through no fault of anyone's, the second kid gets short-changed a bit. The older kid gets short-changed in other ways and we have a saying in our house "not everything has to be fair" but I still felt pretty bad that we can't offer him something nicer than his cold tiny room.