We've had our girls sharing a room since Allie was 2. I guess it's been about 4 years. They have a bunk bed and a beautiful room painted raspberry-pink. All along we've planned on letting them have their own rooms eventually, but not until Avery was maybe closer to middle school. Well, lately the fighting has gotten worse. Man, that has to be one of the very hardest things about parenting - hearing your kids be nasty to each other. I know their shared gender and closeness in age makes the fighting almost inevitable, but I refuse to accept it. Rich and I are constantly talking about praying about how to help the girls get along and treat each other with respect.
On top of that, we're trying really hard to teach them responsibility for their own things and helping to clean around the house. Folks, I'm going CRAZY in this area. Since I'm working every day, it's much harder for me to just do their work for them, and I know how important it is to be teaching them to pick up after themselves.
So we've dubbed Saturday mornings as "family clean-up" time. The girls are required to clean their room and the playroom, as well as pick up anything else around the house that's theirs. They also are given one chore (Avery's is usually to vacuum the stairs and Allie's is to clean the doorknobs or windows). Throughout the week, of course, they also need be trying to keep things straight. But I'm just too busy and tired during the week to enforce it much. Last Saturday the girls spent the entire morning whining and crying and finally got their small amount of cleaning done when we said they couldn't eat lunch until it was done.
One of the biggest obstacles to their cleaning is that they can't seem to get along while they clean. So yesterday, during all the struggles of Saturday morning cleaning, Rich announced it was time. Time to move Avery out and give her her own room. She's been asking for a while, but fairly content to stay with Allie. We've been talking about it and thought maybe we'd wait for the summer. But this seems to be a wise decision. I'm hoping that having their own space to be responsible for, rather than basically a free-for-all everywhere, will help them take a little more ownership over their space and things.
I was sad. At bedtime, after we had switched Avery's stuff and they were settling into their own rooms for bed, Allie told me, "I wished she could wait 'til tomorrow to move". She felt a little scared to be alone, even though she's slept alone off and on in the past. I felt sad for Allie and sad that it seemed it was the end of an era. The era of my girls being little and always together. They're both in school and making their own friends and spend too much time apart for this mama's comfort. On the other hand, when they're together there's WAY too much fighting! Well, this morning I went to check on the girls because I knew they were both awake. I peeked into Avery's room first and guess what I found? Allie was quietly sitting on the floor playing a game and Avery was trying to fold origami on her bed. They LIKE each other! They have their own rooms and they chose to be together this morning!
Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder :)