Friday, January 8, 2010
A Marriage Built for Three
So suddenly there were Herbal Essence products lined up on the windowsill next to my Redken stuff and Husband's generic cheapo shampoo/conditioner combo product. And bathtoys lined up here and there, filling up the whole shower stall.
And then it was her shower too.
Then there was the way she set up a little pretend office in my office so she could work alongside me each night. A little makeshift desk, a tufted stool, some busy work that involved using reams and reams of all the printer paper in the house.
And then, suddenly, it was her office too.
Finally, she managed to finagle her way into our room each night she was sick - the coughing, the hacking, the miserable Daughter coming out of her room so many times she was a blur. Finally we'd succumb, make up a bed on the floor out of couch cushions, pillows and blankets. Trip over her all night. I catch her in a secret smile. She thinks it's now her bedroom too.
Tonight, the realization. The ten-year-old thinks she's part of this marriage. She has no intention of moving out of our room.
When the kids were little, Husband was firm about no kids in the marital bed. They had bassinets, then cribs in our room, and then one day Husband took the crib, moved it down the hall to the nursery and, just like that, they were out. Living independently. The worst roommates you could ever imagine, but still, they had rooms of their own.
But Daughter apparently doesn't like this living arrangement. She's ready to move back in. She'll use any tool in her arsenal - from hysteria to illness to nightmares - to get back in our room. And she has no interest in Husband. She will step on top of him and leave footprints on his head on her way to me. She wants to merge her soul with mine into a more perfect union. Or, at least, she wants to live on the floor next to me.
But Daughter got her marching papers from Husband a few days ago, when her antibiotic started working. She needs to stay in her room, even if she coughs, even if it takes a while to fall asleep.
Husband and I look at each other as she stalks down the hall, wondering if she'll stay in there. And I think about the more important thing: will I ever get my bathroom back?
How have your kids encroached on your turf? Do you remember doing this as a kid - trying desperately to sleep in your parents' room when you had a nightmare or were sick? What qualifies for a kid to get in there now?