Today there are ten of us, two dogs, four cats, a rabbit, a cockatiel, and most recently a very tiny baby field mouse in "rehab" from the clinic thanks to our Dr. Doolittle daughter.
Life is ... an adventure!!
We have one full bath upstairs with a small tub and a hand held shower thingy that works well enough for the older children but has resulted in many water park type adventures when placed in the hands of a smaller child! Our kitchen ceiling bears the scars of these "fun times"! The main floor has a living room, dining room and kitchen with an added sunroom on the back that houses all of our homeschooling books, extra computers, and (thank you IKEA) organizing bins for each child's school books and assorted prized collections. Oh...I almost forgot the two piece bath off the kitchen...still the silliest place for a bathroom I figure!
No basement!...well except for the furnace and antiquated, no longer functioning cast iron water softening system my grandfather conjured up fit for a submarine with all its valves and shut offs....all of which are seized. Ah and yes the 18 inch dirt crawl space under the kitchen.
We love our house....really we do....well we especially love our yard! It's big and outdoors and plenty large enough for everyone to do their own thing without getting into someone else's personal space! This is worth it.
Close quarters is what we know and although we have had fleeting moments of house hunting and addition planning, either finances or the mere thought of having to prepare our home for showing/sale have been a deterrent. It's not so bad here. I have to admit watching my parents pack and prepare for a move to their new custom built home next week after 32 years did spur on renewed dreams of three or four bathrooms and my own bedroom for goodness sakes but this isn't in the cards....at least not for now.
So.....in the mean time to help preserve my sanity, I compiled a list of the benefits for our family to live in these 2000 square feet!
1. Friction...manifest in sibling squabbles and normal disagreement require resolution. It is far more difficult to remain angry and continue to hold a grudge when around every corner you run into the "offending" person! Living so closely encourages problem resolution in a timely fashion!
2. Responsibility and accountability are if not self correcting they are sibling corrected! If you aren't pulling your weight it undoubtedly affects someone else. Ultimately it's easier to take care of the job or else put up with reminders X9!
3. Tolerance! We have a houseful of "needs" special and just plain natural!! It behooves us all to become somewhat tolerant of these needs and when that isn't an option, create built in coping mechanisms to make living together at least a little easier.
4. Involved with compassion! As siblings living so closely together there isn't much happen that several if not all become aware of like it or not! This allows for increased compassion for the lumps and bumps life dishes. The children are acutely aware of gender differences and ultimately will be better equipped for future life. Boys
5. Clear understanding of want vs. need. Now, I am not so naive as to believe they don't still "want" lots they don't get, but certainly the lesson of patience and the ability to deter the need for instant gratification even if only fleetingly is learned.
6. Stimulation, laughter, and bonding. The children have no lack of stimulation. It is by their choice to have nothing to do! There are always options and laughter is never far away! The older children influence the younger children in more ways when they interact so frequently. In most cases this is a benefit! Sometimes these "in your face" interactions work to smooth the somewhat rough edges of a given child's temperment. There are those teenage years where intermittent moments of....ummm....lets just say we try and minimize the influence sometimes!
7. The give and take lesson! Our children will hopefully learn to give more than take. That's the hope anyway. It's just easier....and serving is part of how our family unit functions. Serving each other in many ways as a family prepares them to be motivated to serve others. It just feels good!
8. Appreciate quiet. The children all have learned to appreciate "me-time" and seek out those precious times without the unhealthy desire to lock themselves in their room. Peacefulness is a welcome reward from the chaos.
Some days this seems pie in the sky but that just makes me "normal".
Today I choose contentment....