Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots

Posted on November 23, 2012

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This one struck me as random enough to be fun. There were no books near me, and the nearest bookshelf had mostly picture books, so I cheated a little and went for the nearest book someone in the house is actually reading: Ten Rules for Living with my Sister, by Ann M. Martin. Princess Fartypants is reading this book for Accelerated Reading. The third complete sentence on the specified page reads:

Mom and Dad reminded me that I didn’t have to spend all my time in my new bedroom.

This book is about a nine year old girl who has to share a bedroom with her 14 year old sister for the first time because her ailing grandfather moves into her old one, displacing her.

I could speculate from this single sentence that the nine year old protagonist, Pearl, is absolutely nothing like Princess Fartypants, except for the commonalities of nine year old girls. I, in my recollections of childhood, could possibly relate better.

I did not have an older sister I had to share a room with until I was 13. Then, my sister (Let’s call her Bowhead, because she was the sort to wear a very big bow on her blonde head, with big bangs), who was a year older than me, and I had to start sharing a room. We had a 4 bedroom home, and previously I’d had a room to myself, as did Bowhead. However, a new foster girl moved in who was older, and my mom decided Bowhead and I should share and let the 17 yo. have her own room.

I had had a room to myself prior to that for most of my clearly recollectable childhood. There was a nine month period when we first moved to the Lone Star State when I had to share a room with Twin 1 and Twin 2 because we were in a 2 bedroom rental duplex until my parents bought the four bedroom home they owned until I joined the Navy, but I seem to have blocked those memories.

Back to the point, Bowhead and I fought a lot, because we had very different personalities. We lived in different social and academic bubbles at school, despite being in the same grade in a small-town high school. The only one of my friends she ever hung out with was Aliceinwonderland, and usually only to the extent that they commisserated over my hopeless nerdiness and avoided me at school (Alice was a closet nerd, capable of fitting in with normal people when she chose).

Bowhead and I would fight over the TV (Star Trek and 90210 were on at the same time), and we had very different tastes in decorating (me: magazine collages of science fiction movie magazines and National Geographic; her: kitten posters or something pink). It wound up being a short-lived experiment. Bowhead asked to move in with 17yo., who didn’t mind. They got on smashingly, painting toenails and so forth like normal teenage girls.

Back to the quote from the book: my parents perpetually tried to get me to come out of my room and interact with other people. I had no phone or TV in there, but would read or write happily for hours. Grounding me to my room was preposterously ineffective at getting me to clean it. My mom would usually let Alice in while I was grounded, because she would egg me on and help me get it done, then drag me back to her house to help her clean hers.

Sharing a room did not make me tidier. It did make Bowhead frustrated because she liked living in a clean room. I liked living in a book. I spent more time at Alice’s house, but not in the living room anywhere.

Princess Fartypants shares a room with her brother. When she did have the room to herself, she never wanted to spend time there alone. She prefers to be around other people–all. the. time. If she had an older sister to share a room with, she would probably want to be in there all the time her sister was, and not at all if she wasn’t.

Since I suspect the nine year old in the book wanting to spend time in her shared room has more to do with wanting to hover in her sister’s presence, it may well be that Princess Fartypants can relate to her quite well.

I, for one, often miss having my own room. Even my own rack aboard ship was nice, because I had curtains I could close and shut out the world. I do like sharing a bed, with children or adult partners, just not all the time. I have nowhere I can go to shut the door–often not even the bathroom or shower.

Living with other people is hard. Sometimes, I wonder what my life would be like if I just had cats. It would sure be a lot less stressful. It would not be as much fun, challenging, or rewarding.

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Posted in: Parenting