making space

The boys share a bedroom, and my younger son’s allotted space is the tiny nook back in the corner. It’s just enough space for a single bed and a teensy end table. We put shelves on the wall for his stuff and stuck his dresser at the end of the bed and that was it.

One day the boys slapped together a loft (without permission, naturally), so now he sleeps up top. Down below, he has just enough space for a chair, his shelves, and that teensy end table. He spends hours back there, hot-gluing things together or carving or reading, all the while listening to classical music.

He took apart a drone and patched together some sort of remote control craft: propellers and popsicle sticks attached together with hot glue and masking tape, with matchbox cars strapped to the bottom for wheels.

It drove just fine, but when he tried to fly it, it didn’t end so well.

He’s starting to feel crunched, asking when he’ll get to have more space, poor kid. But one of the benefits of a too-little room is that he has to leave it — i.e. go outside — if he wants to do anything besides read books and hot-glue popsicle sticks.

For awhile there, he was thick into fort building, relocating a pile of sticks around the yard, using them to fashion first a treehouse, then a teepee.

Most recently, the sticks have been used as an addition to the deck. He said he wanted to sleep in it, and he and his friend outfitted it with a million pillows and blankets, but we said no.

Now the red tarp is gone, but the structure still accosts me every time I step outside.

This same time, years previous: beginner’s bread, the quotidian (4.11.16), when popcorn won’t pop, Mr. Tiny, an evening walk.


  • Margo

    This is so dear! And gratifying to me, because this sounds JUST LIKE my kids!!! I need to show this post to my husband, who is convinced we have not civilized our children enough because they are constantly making crazy structures in the back yard and begging to sleep in them! And hot glue! SO. MUCH. HOT. GLUE. at our house. Love your take on a tiny room, btw – just have to leave it to get some space! Thanks for another way to talk to kids about the first world problem of "not having my own room." Ha.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Because it's tiny and rickety and he wouldn't have slept a wink and then he'd be grouchy the next day! I suppose we could've said yes and let him figure that out for himself. His "sleeping" probably wouldn't have lasted longer than 30 minutes, and besides, he'd already hauled all the bedding out there….

  • Ernie

    I have a few boys that would be all about that space and the stuff he has in it and the stuff he makes while in it. This is the kind of neighbor my boys could welcome to the hood. We go out of town this weekend and I am concerned that my 15 year old will do something silly like remove all of the screens from the windows just to see if a bird might decide to move in. One never knows. Banking on Melatonin getting me thru the sleeping while I cannot see what they are up to.

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