Family Life in the Tiny House
So to better get these blogs out in a timely fashion, I made a little document awhile back where I’ve been throwing post ideas for times like tonight when the stars align and the babe goes to sleep at a reasonable time and I’m actually awake enough to cook, clean, and write coherently (or ambivalent enough to ignore the former two and perhaps start a half-hearted blog I edit the crap out of two weeks from now). I opened the word doc and, after tetris-ing it so I can’t see the few dishes piled in the sink from my vantage on our couch, I settled in with some cucumber sandwiches and apple cider for a nice blog entry about zero waste baby.
But you think that’s what I’m going to wind up writing about today? LAUGHABLE! Further down the list was a little sprout of an idea, “Family life in the tiny space”. I figured I would write about this in a few months once the Bean started doing a little bit more than cuddling and smiling and ambi-turning over on the floor but in addition to my Scandinavian-inspired second-dinner, I’m writing this to the not-so-sweet soundtrack of The Walking Dead, which my half-deaf husband is watching on his computer up in the loft. The awful sound of gurgling zombies, screams, suspenseful music, and, (harumph, harumph,) the sound of terrified crying babies is permeating all 394 square feet of this joint and it kind of is driving the topic of cloth diapers out of my head. So friends, I give you “Family Life in the Tiny House” or “How Doors Saved My Marriage!”
Funnily enough, James and I lived in even closer quarters before chez Tiny House rolled in from Oregon last November and the only door we had was to the bathroom which my 6’5 husband couldn’t close anyway. I guarantee you, dear reader, you take doors for granted. Without doors you are constantly wobbling between either trying to keep yourself quiet around your significant other or remembering some tiny-life transgression of theirs and saying “fuck it” while listening to 6:30 am NPR and using the coffee grinder, excuses and argument forming in your mind. Since we were in our pre-married blissful state, there was much more of the former and good thing, because now when I get fed up with listening to the zombie gurgles I can just go into one o
f our three (count them three!) rooms and finish my writing there. Granted, one of those rooms is the bathroom, and the other is occupied by a snoozing Stella, so the close-door option right now is: the kids room.
I once read a great article about what travel guidebooks around the world say about the USA and our culture to folks travelling here and one thing I never even thought of, but which was mentioned in a slew of the books, was that it is a major faux pas to go into an American’s bedroom without very specifically being invited. Obvious to us, yes? And reading my fair share of parenting books, I hear a lot about making the parents’ bedroom an almost sacred space in order to keep the peace/keep your adult privacy intact when the house starts getting overrun with child noise and neon plastic blinky things.
I get this.
But right now I don’t want to wake up the babe, who basically senses Mama-proximity if I so much as share the queen size bed with her which means those built in bunk beds in the kids room are the option if I need to flee zombie-noise. And I doubt when we’re in the running child, blinky light phase 2 to 15 or whatever years from now, our room can’t possibly be off limits– that’s a whopping third of our house! And half of our non-toilet doors! Most likely no part of our house will be shut to anyone else– it’s just too small. Proposing– The Rule: If the door’s closed, don’t even bother to come a’knocking. Just let whoever’s in there do their private thing. If you’re cool with sharing space or aren’t at home and don’t care either way, leave the door open! Doors, Doors, Glorious Doors! You make my NPR listening, coffee grinding mornings possible!
Aside from making space for each other in the house, there’s also spending time with each other and that is often more fun than challenging. We usually hang in our main room, which is a combination kitchen, living room, and dining room, and now that the babe is here, playroom/ nursery. Our dining table has two large leaves so we can entertain or I can have an extra surface for baking. I just set up Stella’s high chair today so she can join us at the table THE MOMENT she starts sitting up on her own. Our couch is super tiny though we manage to squeeze both of us on here in our cuddly moments; mostly one person will be hanging on the couch and the other is either at the table, cooking, laying on our bed, playing on the floor with baby cakes, or up in the loft.
Talking between rooms is easy, too. Right now we are in the “one person on the couch, other person in the rocking chair in the loft” mode, which was just wonderfully convenient for James to drop me chocolate he had over the railing and into my hands– very satisfying in a Swiss Family Robinson sort of way. Even with such close proximity, I feel like I have a nice balance of alone time and family time. Also, Baby monitors are super unnecessary and I hear a stir in Stella world, so I’ll bid you adieu for now.
It’s now the morning after I posted this and I had a sweet husband roll into bed after his zombie-filled night to ask why I wrote such a negative entry. I, of course, didn’t mean for it to sound negative, I just happened to get too sleepy and had to go tend the baby before happening to list all the positives. Apologies, Babe! But really, it’s mostly a blessing to be able to hear baby girl from any room, to talk to each other wherever we happen to be in the house, and to basically commune with each other no matter what. This house is SUCH an improvement to the trailer because if you do ever want alone time or, like now, you happen to wake up before your hubs and want to bang around in the kitchen and type off an addendum to a blog entry, you don’t have to do it with ninja-like silence under cover of darkness. A tiny house with a couple doors makes it more realistically livable for us, especially after experiencing the alternative. Like I said: the trailer had one door and it was a bathroom that never closed. How is that for intimacy, peeps! We got close, we got comfortable and we got used to life with each other in tiny spaces. Now we’ll see how this fares as Stella grows up!