Monday, May 14, 2012

Separate bedrooms: addressing the issue by design

Right now, our boys enjoy sharing a bedroom.
They face each other as they fall asleep.
They often decline to snuggle in our bed when they awaken at night because neither wants to leave the other alone in his room.
They look for each other and, usually, awaken each other as soon as the sun rises.
But we know that will end someday.
We know it should end someday.
So this left us with a dilemma as we approached the architect who will design our next house, our final house, we hope. A timber frame hybrid on a hill surrounded by fields and woods. A place to write in peace. A pantry. A mud room. A place that ... okay, I'm getting off track.
I'm just a little excited.
At five years old, Matthew and Jonathan will still bunk together when we eventually move in, but they will probably want to separate before the older kids move out. In talking both virtually and in person with identical twin boys and parents of identical twin boys, I have found the average age for bedroom separation requests is junior high -- seventh or eighth grade.
Since we are starting from scratch with this house, we have the opportunity to address the issue in our design.
We pondered moving one twin into the basement, but not for long.
I don't like the idea.
I find peace in knowing all my kids are together on one floor.
I also worry that Jonathan and Matthew will waiver in their insistence at separating, wanting their own rooms one minute and whining for togetherness the next. I have visions of furniture making multiple trips up and down stairs and across hallways and back, and kids sneaking up and down stairs in the middle of the night.
No, that wouldn't work.
So we thought and thought and thought.
Then we thought some more.
Finally, we came up with a solution: two separate bedrooms of equal size with wide, pocket doors between them. The architect sent the preliminary sketches this weekend and we showed them to the twins. They were thrilled.
When we first move in, Jonathan and Matthew will sleep in one room. Their dressers and some of their toys will be in the other room and the doors will remain open.
The doors can stay open when they move into their own rooms, allowing them to check on each other or holler to each other when or if they are nervous.
Matthew and Jonathan can take the initiative to shut them when they are ready.
Our hope is that they will easily and naturally work their way apart when the time is right.
And, yes, we realize it will not always be smooth-going.
We'll have plenty of ice packs available for the fingers, toes and limbs that will likely fall victim to those pocket doors as identical adolescent hormones rage. But the twins are five now and I choose not to think about that.
Instead, I'm thinking about hardwood floor, trusses, great rooms and coffee at sunrise on a wrap-around porch.