Guest Post by Bruce Devereaux
When dad’s older brother beat him to the outhouse this one time my father lay in the long grass with a gun and shot him between the eyes as he emerged. Fortunately it was an air rifle, but their mother still heard all about it.
“You could have killed him!” Grandma admonished my dad.
To which my unrepentant father replied, “What do you think I was trying to do?”
If sharing a life with a sibling can sometimes be stifling, sharing a room can be downright frustrating.
Our oldest two shared for years before finally being allotted a space of their own. They never seemed to mind though. Neither do our youngest, who are currently split between two rooms. In fact they frequently request to all ‘sleep over’ in each others’ bedrooms for fun.
Even though my siblings and I all had our own rooms from day dot, I remember my little brother, who was four years younger, would sneak into my room at night to sleep. I would make out I was being a really awesome big brother for allowing this to happen, but the truth is I really liked it. Even back then he was a great little fella.
Despite the odd (daily) disagreement with my brother and sister, I think we all got along pretty well. Certainly there were none of the shenanigans my father and his brothers are now famous for – although worryingly we only have one toilet in the house, which happens to be in the same room as the shower, bath and washing machines.
At the moment the kids are happy to pee and poop no matter who is in the bathroom. The idea of a shower or shave without a little person chatting to me from the throne is something I can only dream about. But as they get older I suspect this will become less acceptable to them (at least I’m hoping so). I’ve planted citrus in the yard, but this really only works for Master7 and even then, only for number ones.
Many a late night has been filled with discussions over the possibility of us adding another loo somewhere or if we should move to a bigger house. I figure we’ve about four years to get this sorted or we’ll need to hide the knives and garden implements. Luckily we have no guns in the house, but worryingly our kids are very resourceful: Miss5 once sucker punched Master7 with a Lego filled pillow case.
With our youngest five all born within eight years of each other I suspect there will be multiple and concurrent calls for privacy and space and somewhere to escape the inevitable stirring and high jinks which come with having brothers and sisters.
A friend of Tracey’s grew up sharing a room with her little brother, which meant long after their parents had put them to bed she could get in the last word without fear of contradiction or reprisal. I mean, what two kids sleeping in the same room don’t chat after the lights are out.
“It’s your birthday tomorrow,” she told her little brother one night. “I wonder what you’ll get?”
So did her little brother. Sleep is pretty elusive when you’ve a head full of potential new toys. Finally, with all the imaginings of presents he might be receiving on his special day, he managed to drop off to sleep. And in the morning…..
…no-one made him feel special at all. Their mum came in and woke them, demanded they get up and then promptly left the room. No singing of happy birthday, no presents and no birthday hugs and kisses. In short, worst birthday morning greeting ever.
“You don’t love me!” he called after his mum and started to cry. I mean, what mother would forget or ignore her own child’s birthday?
Well, in fairness, not his one. Turns out it wasn’t the little guy’s birthday after all – his big sister was just having some fun.
Probably a good thing they didn’t have guns in their house either.
Bruce started his blog because friends and family kept wanting to know how he managed to feed and clothe such a large family while still having fun and being able to afford holidays and beer. He had no idea, but thought if he started writing things down some sort of pattern might emerge. When not at work Bruce enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies. He’s recently taken up the cycling challenge with a view to surviving long enough to see all his kids out the door so he can finally sleep in.