by Ann Waterman
With the news that our family would be expanding, my husband and I decided it was time for our two boys to become roommates and free up some space for the newest Waterman. We moved them in together immediately after our summer vacation: Since they spent the holiday sharing the same bed and had grown accustomed to sleeping together, it seemed like the ideal time to make the change.
The boys love being together in the same room, but the transition hasn’t been without its challenges. My oldest son knows that leaving the room after bedtime is frowned upon, except to use the bathroom or for some other emergency (like monsters, according to him). Our two year old, on the other hand, can no longer be contained in a crib and likes to attempt room escapes. Our solution has been to darken the outside hallway and lock the doors to other rooms to make night expeditions as unattractive as possible — with a night light in his room to beckon him back — but this doesn’t always work.
Even if the boys do stay in their room, there can be a lot of shenanigans that go on well past their bedtime. On some level, the late-night conversations and giggling fits are heartwarming — and I’m sure will provide many happy memories for both. But after the umpteenth visit upstairs to quiet them, it can get pretty old. Fortunately, they’ve begun to catch on to the art of staying under the radar, so while there may be shenanigans going on, my husband and I can’t hear it — and we’re OK with that.
In spite of the additional effort involved in getting this new sleeping arrangement to work, it’s worth it to us. After my stint in college as a resident assistant, where I mediated one too many disagreements between roommates — some that escalated to outright wars over the pettiest things — I was adamant that our children would share a room with another sibling at some point in their lives, no matter how many rooms we had in our home.
In a world where we’ve become increasingly isolated from each other emotionally, psychologically, and physically, we want to foster a spirit of togetherness however we can. Of course, room-sharing is no guarantee of brotherly love or lifelong friendship; still, we want our sons to know what it’s like to live closely with another person — to have disagreements over shared spaces and things, to learn how to compromise, and to discover the joy of always having someone there for you. It can only help prepare them when they face the same problems later in life, whether it’s with a college roommate, housemate, or spouse.
Did you share a room with a sibling growing up? If so, do you feel it benefited you? And if you have any suggestions for making sibling room-sharing work, I’m all ears!
Image: Ryan Haber Photography