Challenge: Provide independence for growing sisters
Sisters Alex (7) and Ivy (9) Lynch walk together from their home off of Rio Road to school, every day. However, as a bright and articulate fourth grader, Ivy has started to feel the need to assert her independence and has questioned the traditional, not-quite-three-minute, sisterly walk. “I like walking to school by myself now and not walking with my sister,” says Ivy. “It’s sorta new.” In fact, almost six months ago the girls moved into separate rooms for the first time in their young memories.
“I like my room because it’s fancy,” says Alex who has relocated down the hall to what was formerly a guest room. “The curtains are silk,” she points out, smoothing the material. “They’re silky,” Wendy, Alex’s mom, gently clarifies with a smile. Flitting about her new, pink room Alex selects a few books off her shelf, mixes a “smoothie” in her toy blender and serves “coffee” to a visiting reporter. She spends a moment surveying her room, beaming and clearly in her element.
The white loft bed in Ivy’s room offers a spacious workspace below. A broad desk allows for plenty of room to do homework, often with a friend. She pulls open a desk drawer to show an example of how she likes to keep things organized.
“When I’m organizing, I like to organize one thing at a time,” she wisely advises. “It’s like reading a book: You shouldn’t start reading a new book until you’ve finished the [first] one.”
When asked about what prompted the split, Wendy Lynch says, “I wanted to do it because of how messy their room always was. And it was impossible to tell who was making the mess. Ivy did end up cleaning it up pretty much all the time and it was getting unfair. Alex promised that if she had her own room she’d keep it clean and she has.”
So far it seems that the separate living arrangements are working well. The sisters are grateful for their individual walk-in closets. With ample space for the girls’ well-organized clothes and even some toys, cleanup has become streamlined and mostly pain-free.
Ivy spent time with no fewer than two grandmothers to get her closet in proper order. She has the majority of her clothes hanging, which makes it easy for her to pick out a school-worthy outfit the night before. And in Alex’s closet there are hanging fabric pockets for her gymnastics clothes, socks, and accessories, keeping things tidy and accessible.
Alex (top) and Ivy Lynch show off their newly separate space.
Even though the change has been a welcome one for all involved, the girls do admit to missing their nights together. “I don’t like [not sharing a room anymore] because my sister used to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll tell you a story’ every night,” reminisces Alex. “And she’d play stuff: pretend flutes, and pretend pets going on all night.” They both fess up to keeping each other awake way past bedtime on bunk beds in what is now Ivy’s room. But, as their mother attests, they have been enjoying their independence and the responsibility of keeping their spaces tidy, organized and wholly their own.—Christy Baker
Keeping things organized
One of Ivy Lynch’s favorite features of her reconfigured room is the under-the-bed bulletin board. Displayed there are drawings, a few roller derby trading cards and various keepsakes. “It’s a place for memories,” she states.
Even if siblings share a room, having a space all their own allows for individual expression and a place to keep things organized—their way. The photo mobile and funky flowerpot photo holder offer a new take on the standard bulletin board (both at Cha Cha’s, $11.50 and $26).—C.B.