My partner and I are raising two young kids in a third floor walk up apartment in Brooklyn. We have two small bedrooms. How small, you ask? Well, when I insisted that we get a queen-sized bed during month six of my second pregnancy, the trade-off was that we would no longer be able to shut our bedroom door. We have a living room space, a kitchen and a bathroom. While our apartment is bigger than what many people make do with in the city, its not spacious by any extent.
K has already said that he will miss his backyard mud kitchen, and I don’t blame him. First of all: MUD! GLORIOUS MUD! Secondly, there is a lot of “No” in the life of a little kid. K’s mud kitchen is his world of “Yes!” He can make all of the mess he wants and experiment to his heart’s content without anyone fussing about set-up or clean-up or telling him what to do. Now he won’t have a back yard, so no more mud kitchen for him.
My family was never really suburban in the traditional sense of the word. We went downtown often, attended lots of theatre and ate in interesting restaurants. But it was always a long schlep to get anywhere. We needed to leave the house an hour before any dinner reservation. And I always had to make sure to catch the last TTC ride home, curbing late-night teenage adventures. I hated walking across the deserted parking lot of Finch subway station to retrieve the family car and drive the rest of the way home. It was too quiet. I always preferred the noise and bustle of downtown to the eery silence of deserted suburbia.
Maddie wasn’t expecting Augie to come along the way but she’s told me more times than I can count that Augie was the best thing to happen in her life. Maddie’s life is different than most of the people her age but you know what’s rad? Maddie and Augie make the damn best of what they have and go on in life with nothing but smiles on their faces and in their hearts.
We moved into an apartment last year and I noticed something odd: two of the buildings have smushed patches behind them that could count as yards — one unit inexplicably has a back door, even — but it’s not in a place where the kids can really play safely and supervised. What’s the alternative? The parking lot? With cars?!
Those of you who have read Offbeat Families for a while may recall that, since my family of three shares a one-bedroom home, our son’s bedroom is a converted walk-in closet. It’s worked out really well for us, but my son Octavian is now a very large 19-months-old (seriously: dude is bigger than some of his three-year-old friends. He won a genetic lottery) and his second-hand crib was on the small side of things to begin with. It’s become increasingly clear that it was time for our son to graduate to his next bedding situation: a pile of crap from Ikea on the floor.
So I thought I was being clever having my baby sleep in the walk-in closet? One San Franciscan is looking at fitting TWO kids into a closet!