It’s 3am and I just finished nursing my son. I look up at the ceiling and I see our chandelier. I am sleeping in the dining room. It’s my bed and all, but I am in the dining room because we had to make this our bedroom after our daughter took our master bedroom and we prepared the closet for its second round at hosting a child in it.
It wasn’t always this way. When we moved into that apartment 10 years ago we were newlyweds. Coming from NYC this apartment felt palatial…and cheap! Besides the rent control, we loved the spacious kitchen, the classy dining room with two sets of French doors where we had lots of parties. But I loved the walk-in closet. I was always the room mate who was broke and was relegated to the broom closet to put my stuff.
One day our life of fabulousness took a turn when we got a surprise…We found out that we were expecting. At that time it was the great recession and we were looking nervously at two bedrooms and the charge for full time child care was a $2,000 a month charge we weren’t used to as new parents. So we decided to take all of our clothes out of the closet and build external closets and put Giuliana in the closet.
Much to our neighbors chagrin, while our large eyed child with a full head of hair with a natural side part was as adorable as could be, she kind of sucked because she had colic. Suddenly we were getting notes under our door from the neighbors about the crying. I was leaving care packages with wine and chocolates and massage gift certificates on our neighbor’s welcome mats.
The emails and notes under the door continued for a few YEARS until one day I saw moving boxes in the hallway. Something happened that we never thought would. Our sweet little girl caused our next door to neighbor move out. Suddenly our spacious apartment seemed a bit smaller.
Next thing we knew, we were pregnant again, and by this time the housing market was even worse. Now paying for two childcare costs, we felt like remaining in our one bedroom was the only way to stay in San Francisco. We thought about moving back to Jersey, but by this time, 9 years later, we had really assimilated into the culture. We now had Joey from Clifton ogling over canvas shopping bags and cooking mostly vegan with only locally sourced ingredients.
Our beautiful dining room, the one with the fancy square table and classic French doors closed to what then became our bedroom. That’s right we moved our daughter into our actual bedroom, set up our new son’s crib in the closet (and hoped that our new neighbor wouldn’t move out.)
Funnily enough, everyone got a time in the closet. When the baby was new, he was next to my bed for feedings all night so my husband slept on an air mattress in the closet to get sleep before work. Then when I had mastitis and needed rest, I took a night in the closet. In addition, when the grandmothers visited, where do you think they slept? The closet. Basically any visiting house guest slept in the closet. It wasn’t a 1 bedroom, let’s be real it was a 3 bedroom. When the baby finally went in the closet, the only person who complained about his crying was his sister and she couldn’t move out.
Well all good things must come to an end. The walls closed in more when our son became an unusually Olympic-fast runner at 2 years old. To put it in perspective, his teacher at school said that a kid would be playing with a toy, they’d blink and the next thing they knew they were looking at an empty hand and little Jo Jo was already in the corner playing with it.
We knew it was time to leave and somehow we found a 3 bedroom apartment with great rent that I fully think came from the angels. Instead of a line of 17 people at the advertised open house, Joe and I were the only ones who showed up. We found a unicorn affordable 3 bedroom 1.5 bath with a backyard for the kids and a fairly newly done kitchen and bathroom.
You can really learn a lot about your spouse from living in a one bedroom. If there were any three people I would want to share a one bedroom with it would be my family. My husband with his McGuyver-like storage ideas, my daughter with her ability to weed out crappy neighbors, and my son with his easy going disposition are among my favorite people.