It is decorating season in our house. Historically we have not been that great at decorating. We moved here in 2007. Two years passed before the Great Paint of 2009. Eight more years have passed and now we have begun the Great Paint of 2017. It was not our original plan to embark on it this year, but our eldest child, who had been happily sharing a room with her brother, started to become self-aware and question why she did not have a space of her own. We live in a three-bedded house – one for us, one for the kids, and one enormous cupboard which doubled as a spare bedroom. The cupboard bedroom was great for filing, dumping, making piles, hoarding things I could not bear to part with, stashing Christmas and birthday presents, and being the receiver of any clutter we needed to hide whenever we had visitors and wanted to give the impression we were minimalist, tidy people. We were fortunate to have ten years of this but we knew eventually we would turn the room into a bedroom for one of the children and after a few gentle discussions with the two of them, it was agreed that we would set about making them both their own space now.
If you are like me, you will become a bit like a ball of cheese tumbling down a hill when it comes to decorating. Once I begin, I start to see more and more things I want to paint. Everything else starts to look a bit tired and one room becomes two, two become four, and pretty quickly I’m that cheese that cannot stop. So the plan to decorate just the two bedrooms has turned into a master plan for the house.
That aside, it has been lovely to see how excited the kids have been about making their own rooms and having a space that is just for them. Admittedly, there have been a few arguments along the lines of ‘keep out of my room’, which I should have expected. I remember some territory wars with my siblings when I was young. But I also remember the lovely side to having separate bedrooms, such as sending messages from room to room, and being really excited at the treasures in my older, and much cooler, sister’s room.
My husband did the core of the decorating and he involved the kids as much as he could with the painting. It was our first experience of painting with kids. Painting with kids involves a lot of patience. Patience, deep breaths, and a beer in the fridge waiting for after bedtime. Our daughter was keen to learn how to paint, she was quite methodical and she listened to instructions about how to do it. Our son was less so. He pretty much just grabbed a brush, dipped it in paint, and threw it at the wall. Luckily, for the wall, he got bored after ten minutes and returned to his dinosaurs.
All in all, it took two weekends to finish, including a ‘sleepover’ in my son’s room, plenty of bickering about which toys would go into which room, and many, many lemons on window sills. But now they are in and it’s just lovely. I almost feel a little envious, harking back to my childhood when I had my first childhood bedroom decorated from floor to ceiling with flowery wallpaper (I make no apologies for my lack of taste).
My son is a little sad that he won’t be sharing with his sister anymore, so we have promised a lot more of the sleepovers but I suppose it is symbolic of the next stage in their lives as they grow into proper children and start to carve out their identities, personalities, and their own spaces.