Friday, November 30, 2007

A [n Unwanted] Room Of Her Own

I have to say, not much about parenting has completely surprised me. I suppose I might have been surprised by some things when Jonah was a baby, like the fact that newborns have no eyebrows, or that raisins come out pretty much exactly as they go in. But I can't remember the last time I felt as caught off guard as I felt when I realized that Hilary decidedly did NOT want her own room, which is what she got when Erika moved in to her new room last week.

Honestly, it never occurred to me that there was anyone who wouldn't want a room of her own. But that's just my bias as the older child, the one who was always desperate for privacy to write angst-ridden poetry and listen to Air Supply. I don't even know, so many years later, if Keri ever wanted her own room, or if she liked having me close by, the way Hilary obviously liked being close to Erika, so much so that she announced she was going to sleep in Erika's trundle every night. We told her that wasn't an option, and almost every night since she's come into our room minutes after being tucked in to mournfully inform us that she had a bad dream and needs to sleep in our bed.

Andy told Hilary that when Gretchen was a little older, she could move in to Hilary's room, and Hilary seemed pleased by that idea. I'm curious to see whether she's as enchanted by it when she's six. In other words, what plays the greatest role in shaping our desires: age, birth order or inborn temperament? I can't help but wonder, as I imagine Keri and Matty have also, how Declan might be different if he was growing up as the older of two children in a home instead of the middle of what basically amounts to a family of seven.

Overall, though, Hilary's adjusting pretty well. We're trying to spend more time with her, and we praise her for what a big girl she is. And the fact is, she doesn't hate everything about having her own room. Like every kid in the world, she really loves sleeping on the top bunk, which she claimed the night Erika moved out.

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