Tonight we walked by the boys' room and heard a little post-bedtime mischief. "Go to sleep!" Garrett yelled in.
"Ok- I'll get back in my bed." replied Drew. This prompted dad to flip the lights on, revealing Drew just hanging out in one of his favorite spots- Isaac's crib.
What used to be "room time" in the morning has now changed to "crib time"- the two of them chillin' in the crib. After a few weeks this spring of scolding and disciplining Drew for being in Isaac's crib, I finally thought, "Why am I fighting this? If they want to be together, that is a good thing." So we made some ground rules (Drew cannot JUMP or stack toys which encourage Isaac to climb out) and now they play together for an hour every morning...in the crib.
Crib time is a roller coaster of emotions. They scream. They laugh. Isaac inevitably cries because Drew takes a toy. Drew inevitably yells because Isaac scratches him for taking his toy. They play, read books, empty the crib, and then just wrestle for the remainder of the time. Male bonding in it's early phases? I guess so.
A few weeks ago, a friend and I were chatting about house size. How much room do you really need for a family of 5 or 6? we mused. I've never imagined our kids would all have their own bedrooms, though I never pictured three or four sharing a room. I think there are pros and cons on each end, but then there is something to be said for learning to share your space and your things in a way that makes everyday life really overlap.
I think of my years of sharing a bedroom with my sister who is 18 months younger. It was one of those situations where there was an imaginary line down the middle of the room, with her things being organized, clothes folded, books arranged by the Dewey decimal system, etc. My side was more...flexible. I'm sure it did some good things for her soul to tolerate my mess, and we did have hours of play together in our room. Once we hit the teen years, we had our own space. I guess that's pretty good timing.
I want our kids to be close, to value each other's friendship, to feel part of this shared experience that is our family and really love each other.
Last Saturday night was a first for our family- Isaac went to grandma's house without Drew. I was expecting a little backlash from the 4 year old at being left behind. When grandma's van pulled up, Drew burst into tears. I started to console him about not always getting to go everywhere, when he sobbed, "I'm just going to miss Isaac so much!"
I think some of that is his personality; he is our little "people person". But there is also the reality that their lives overlap, that to do an evening and morning without his baby brother will cause change and some loneliness. I'm glad that they are not simply co-residents of this home, but that they really share life. It's such a blessing to see, particularly as we count down the days until the newest resident makes her appearance. I don't know how she will change the dynamics between her brothers, but I hope the bond will be such that this time next year we will need a bigger crib. =)