For months Cam and I have been talking about moving house. More than months really, pretty much since Catherine got pregnant with Hal and he's five months old now. We moved into our present house long before kids were on the agenda and, with two bedrooms, it seemed big enough for Cam and me, plus the occasional overnight guest.
Then Georgia came along and it was goodbye to the spare room but the house was still fine for the three of us. Since having Hal we've gone along with the received wisdom that we need a bigger house. We've put it off and put it off, partly because with me in Manchester for much of the time house hunting would fall to Cam, and he has enough on his plate with childcare and work, but mainly because we love our little house and don't really want to move. Over the years we've put a lot of love and time into getting it and the garden the way we want it. We love the area and get on well with our neighbours. Neither of us really had the heart for a move and, though we'd made a few desultory trips around estate agents there was no progress.
Recently we've been questioning why a move was so essential. We'd just taken it as read that the kids needed their own bedrooms, but why? When I was a kid there was a 10-year age gap between me and my sister so, naturally, we had our own bedrooms, but Cam, like most people, grew up sharing with his siblings. The more I thought about it, the more obvious it became, that Hal and Georgia could share. It's so ridiculously middle-class to think of this as any kind of "hardship" when, patently, in many ways it is an advantage. Friends who shared rooms as kids talk about building complex bedroom forts and illicit after-lights-out games. Besides, Georgia and Hal have their own rooms at their mother's house (Catherine, organised from the start, had her house designed to accommodate two children before Hal was even a twinkle in the lab technician's eye) so sharing at our place means they really do get the best of both worlds.
So, having made the decision to stay put, we needed to do some serious rearranging. We've decided to give the kids the bigger bedroom that Cam and I occupy, which will double as a playroom as they get older. It was more complicated than we'd imagined. We wanted something gender neutral, appropriate for a baby and a toddler and that will grow with the kids for at least the next few years.
Contrary to popular belief, gay men are not all natural interior designers (and, anyway, we weren't planning to go down the Noguchi coffee table and Eames chair route) and with no clear idea of what we were doing, we simply hit the shops and essentially purchased the "show bedroom" as displayed. I feel no shame in letting someone else do the planning, just as I feel no shame in letting Cam assemble the furniture. We all have our strengths, and wielding a screwdriver is not one of mine.
I wanted to briefly mention an incident at Georgia's ballet class this week. Among all the little girls in their pink tutus and ballet slippers, was a little boy – also in a pink tutu and ballet slippers. What was so nice to see was that nobody was commenting or making a fuss, he was just being allowed to get on with being in the class, dressing up and having fun like all the other children. It made me realise that things really do change and that my kids really are growing up in a less prejudiced world than the one I grew up in. That's got to be worth celebrating.
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