Lindsay Woods: 'We made the decision to separate the kids'


So went the Banshee shriek of my daughter. My son had made the fatal mistake of attempting to retrieve an item from her newly acquired territory and was paying for his apparent trespassing by becoming the recipient of a burst eardrum.

As he left her room, my husband and I were privy to a very accelerated pace of stomping overhead followed by an enthusiastic slamming of her door. As the walls ceased shaking, I enquired of Himself: “Tell me again why you thought that she would be the loneliest?”

You see, for their entire lives thus far, they have shared a bedroom. I previously mentioned how our intention was to finally separate them as my son will turn 10 in a few months and for the first time had expressed a wish to have a space independent of his sister.

Therefore, we made the decision to make strides in relation to same over the mid-term break. Turns out ordering new beds and throwing some paint on the walls was not all we would have to contend with.

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Hypocritical Parenting is my category.

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Within minutes of us stripping out their shared space (I would go so far as to say it was more like seconds), my daughter appeared with a handwritten sign which she attached to her door with Sellotape – a close second in being the nemesis to all parents, glitter takes the gold medal there. It read: “NO BOYS ALLOWED! Only girls. Knock please.”

I turned to Himself with a look that said, ‘Sure… she’ll be fierce lonely.”

Night one of their separation, I barely slept. Previously, if one of them had turned in their beds, I would know immediately. Other parents were agog with the news they still shared a room… “Don’t they keep each other awake?”

On the contrary, they had lulled each other to sleep after discussing the day’s headlines and the pressing issue of whether or not Igglepiggle ever had to hand over his blanket to his Mum to be washed.

In the age of ‘Hashtag Parenting’, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of seeking too much online advice and thus receive a myriad of unsolicited opinions.

To this day, I am grateful that I did not partake of the digital parenting sphere when I had my children. If I needed advice, I sought it from the likes of my parents, our GP and friends. Other than that, we just cracked on.

We made our mistakes and learned from them. The reality of it is that I wouldn’t have had the time for it in the first place; two kids under two pretty much sucks up every available minute. My downtime consisted of flopping onto the sofa, with my equally exhausted husband, for ten minutes before launching into a weak attempt to return the house to some sort of working order before we crashed asleep.

So, to say that I did not anticipate entirely, the repercussions of the room move, was an understatement. Or rather, the overnight new developments.

The eldest, for the most part, took it in his stride, admitting that he did find the first night a bit lonesome but that ultimately, he was very happy in his new space. However, it very quickly became apparent that our daughter was channelling a budget version of Dermot Bannon, as upon opening her door the next morning, she informed us that she had already been awake two hours to make some changes.

Overnight, it seemed that she had begun to discard childish trappings. She had taken the mirror from the bathroom to place on her desk and spread out a previously unseen and extensive collection of lip-glosses across the surface.

“Where did you get those?”

“Granny got them for me,” came the swift retort. I held up two shades of blusher. “And these?”

“I borrowed them from you.”

A cloud of noxious verbena scent invaded my nostrils as I watched her liberally douse her hair in detangler spray (another purchase courtesy of granny). On the bed across from hers she had laid out her outfit choice for the day. As she gave her reflection a final nod, she turned and said,

“Do you mind? I have to get dressed.”

As I walked towards my son’s bedroom a bit slack-jawed, I was comforted in the knowledge that he would need some parental reassurance. On entering his room, he not only had tidied up but also made his bed.

“Turns out they’re both fine,” said I to Himself.

Then, we heard the stomping…


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