My son, Theo, too likes my company in the bathroom. We've had some of our best conversations while he is on the pot. In our house, we have only the one bathroom which makes for some intense dancing in the hallway on occasion. It's a rare homecoming that isn't accompanied by a race up our front stairs and a mad dash to secure a spot on the toilet. At some point during my shower, an ill placed knee will send an armada of plastic boats clattering into the tub. In the lingering fog that follows, my husband shaves, I dry my hair and the kids sit on the counter and draw shapes in the steamed mirror. It's a tight fit and one that often seems just shy of unbearable. When, oh, when will we have any privacy?
Soon, perhaps. We've put an offer on a house. A house with more than one bathroom. Already, I miss the crowd. I wonder where I will have those conversations? How will I manage to shower without the company of rubber turtles, and Playmobil pirates? A small house means we're all piled on top of each other, we know everything that's going on with everyone. For better and worse. I like knowing these things, but I have begun to realize that even at the ages of four and six, my children will want a bit more space. Theo's begun to knock on the bathroom door before he enters, instead of flying through like a cannon ball. Six months ago, he'd pull off all his clothes and run naked through our yard with reckless abandon, but by midsummer, he was asking for his swim suit. Sadie builds complicated Lego castles or sets her table for a tea party with Celina. Theo heads out into the yard to toss and catch a ball again and again and again. When they are thirsty, they go to the cupboard and get a glass and fill it with water. This is as it should be. We all need our own space. We need privacy to figure out who we are and what we want.
In this possible new house is a small room, too small to be much of anything, really, but big enough for a desk and a chair. I've got my eye on that room, that tiny one that overlooks the back yard. It's a good private spot right in the center of the house where I can still be found.