Small Space Living: Our 5 year old is asking for stairs...
Theo (5.5 years old) has started asking for stairs and a basement after seeing a few friends’ houses who have such things. And not once or twice but quite regularly. I stifled my first response which was to be upset or disappointed that he would want something other than our tiny home and instead asked questions about why these things were important to him. I pointed out all the great things about our space or his room like his cool bunk beds or the ladder or all his great toys. He was pretty adamant that none of those things equaled stairs.
So we’ve had a few conversations with him about what adding stairs to our home would mean for us. I explained that I pick him up from school most days and Dad comes home from work for dinner every night. In the city we live in, if we wanted a bigger home these are things we would need to give up because Mom and Dad would have to work more to pay for the stairs. He also loves going on vacation, especially to beaches and we explained we wouldn’t be able to do that either (or at least not as often as we currently do). We didn’t dismiss his request, we let him know that we would have to decide as a family what was most important to us and weigh what things we were willing to give up to get other things we really want. I recognize he is starting to assert some independence and request some privacy and I want to honour that. But I also think it’s our job as parents to ensure he is grateful for what we have. While we may not have a large home, we are still so privileged to live where and how we live.
He has also been making some adorable “Keep Out” signs for the kids bedroom where no adults are allowed (until he wants one of us to tuck him in to bed). But, he is still the kid who sits on my shoulders when I try and get any work done on my laptop. And he is always playing with and on top of his sister, even if there is another room he could be playing in and his own bunk to escape to.
What I am getting at is… his requests for space are more hypothetical than based in reality at this moment in time. I knew the day would come when the kids would ask for more space and I kind of figured it would be around kindergarten but I still found this moment a bit tough. But we are taking note of this change and starting to consider ways to offer him the space and privacy he will eventually need in this space or another future space, while above all trying to instil in both kids a sense of gratitude for what we have (phew… parenting is no joke!).