Monday, 2 November 2009


My big boys share a bedroom. They have bunkbeds and share their room. Well, I use the word 'share' very hesitantly because 'share' is not the best way to describe their use of the room. They share it when they are asleep and cannot argue over who stands on which part of the carpet, but when morning comes so do all the difficulties. How can it be so difficult to understand "Max, Toby would like to be on his own for 5 minutes so come and play downstairs and leave him alone"? You or I might not find this hard, but when it is a little boy who feels an overwhelming need to annoy and irritate his big brother, this instruction would present quite a problem. Or is it hard to understand this: "Toby, please can you share your desk with Max because he needs somewhere to draw too" ? Obviously when you are an 8 year old boy with a need to be the boss, sharing something that is yours can clearly not happen.

We talked about whether to swap them around so that Jonah goes on the bottom bunk, Max on the top and Toby has his own room. But then we realised how ridiculous that would be. Jonah + bed = extremely high stress levels. We are not ready to put him in a bed yet, and because he wakes up at the crack of dawn every day (and often before the crack), we did not want him to wake Max up at that time too.

So what solution did we find? Desks! After a disappointing trip to Ikea (disappointing because I could not stop and look at anything, but had to race around the shop like it was an Olympic Sport before our boys could wreck anything / put biscuits crumbs all over the floor / climb out of the trolley / steal anything without us realising), we came home armed with 2 desks, 2 chairs and several boxes. We set them up in their bedroom and told them they had a desk each. They had 3 boxes each. Their desks are for them to have "their own space". They are not allowed to touch each other desks or boxes.

The amazing thing was (and you will be amazed if you know my boys) that they sat at their desks for hours! They drew, wrote, read, created, tidied and untidied, made up exams for each other (yes, that is really true!) and loved being there. Even this morning before school they were both sat at their desks! If you did not know us you would take one look at their bedroom which now closely resembles an open plan office (excluding the bed!) and think "pushy parents, fancy buying them a desk each!" The reason for the desks, however, is so much more simple than academic pushing, it is solely for the purpose of reducing the fighting and giving them a small amount of space that is theirs and theirs only.

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