The boys have discovered that they can play in the closet which is Titus' bedroom. Well, they can play in the bed that fills up the closet which is Titus' bedroom. We're always happy about finding a new indoor place to play... seems we have exhausted pretty much every corner and empty space of floor.
Some day I might put together a sort of virtual tour for you of our house so you can gape at me and say things like "only one bedroom?!" and "you sleep on the couch bed?" as if you didn't hear me the first time I said it. However, it was a very conscious decision to continue living here beyond its capacity to hold us comfortably. In order for me to stay at home with the kids and our family to go on running on one income we had to make sacrifices, and in the grand scheme of things giving up my bedroom seemed like nothing compared to years of playing with the boys. So our "real" house is rented out and here we are, all four of us crammed into 850 square feet of cluttered 70-year-old back-of-the-farm-house goodness.
I share a closet with a 4 year old, a 1 year old and a neglected yarn stash. There are baskets of toys in the tv cabinet. Every Monday I run 12 loads of laundry because we have one of those half-sized washing machines crammed next to the refrigerator which is crammed next to the stove. My sock drawer has been absorbed by Moses' jammie drawer and my baby sleeps in the living room closet (quite comfortably, I might add). Every night after the boys have been asleep for a few hours and we have had some much-needed adult time, Brett moves the coffee table, folds out the couch bed, I put the linens on it and voila - the living room has become our bedroom! Yes, at times this process is a bit of a "dagger," as Brett says, but neither of us would trade this time for the things it has taught us.
Yes, I know you are waiting with bated breath to hear what these jewels of wisdom are, and you are in luck because I am prepared to share a few of them with you. First of all, there are a lot of things that you think you need that you don't actually need. A bedroom comes to mind. Nor do you need a garbage disposal - save those scraps of food for the chickens, throw them in the trash in the first place, or get over your fear of scooping up a disintegrating pile of wet broccoli-rice casserole with your bare hands. You do not need cold running water. When you get into the shower and want to avoid blistering your scalp, simply shave your legs at the other end of the tub while enjoying a nice steam bath. The hot water will eventually run out and you will have a full 3 minutes to wash your hair and the rest of your body before the water turns frigid. Another plus: boiling water is just as effective at waking you up in the morning as cold water. (Oh yes, run your kids' baths about 30 minutes before you plan on putting them in the water.) You do not need a "tv room," a "play room" a "sewing room" a "den" a "dining room" an "office" or a "parlor." You DO need a label maker, tons of pieces of furniture with drawers, and mad organization skills.
The other thing we have learned that I would love to pass along is to be considerate of one another's space and privacy in an environment that isn't always conducive to such behavior. At our house there is no banging on the bathroom door demanding that its occupant "hurry up." We have learned that in a pinch three out of four of us can totally go pee outside if the bathroom is otherwise occupied, inclement weather notwithstanding. We have learned that it is entirely possible to completely forget another person is in the room with you, providing an often-welcome sense of calming isolation. I regularly sew and watch "The Bachelor" while Brett brews beer 12 paces away from me. Neither one of us even knows what the other person is doing and are thus not at all annoyed by the sappy displays of affection or terrible smells emanating from the stove-top.
Of course, Brett and I both look forward to the day when we'll be living in a "real" house, and if I let myself I can actually YEARN for my own bedroom. Some day we will be there and our house will be just as full of junk. We will have a garbage disposal that I won't know how to use and a parlor that I won't know how to furnish (fill it with lots of labeled dressers, right?). I'm sure I'll have a closet all to myself and it will have just as many shirts and orphaned socks jumbled amongst the shoes on the floor. I will have an even harder time keeping things clean, and when we lose something we might actually lose it for good instead of being able to say "it will turn up by the end of the day." Titus will be in a real bedroom but never able to fall asleep since he will have spent the first 2 years of his life sleeping in the equivalent of a sensory deprivation tank. I know that some day we will look back with nostalgia on the "couch bed years." As for now we are doing just fine. And if you will excuse me, I have to go make my bed.