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The big shuffle

By Robin Dearing
It seemed like a good idea at the time ... When we moved into our house three months before Margaret was born, we knew that some day we would have to rearrange the children's living arrangements. Sean was 10 at the time and was given the second bedroom upstairs. Margaret had the small nursery room that was attached to our bedroom. But now that Margaret is a couple of months away from 7, we decided it was time to make the big shuffle — unfortunately, we couldn't have picked a worse time. Saturday, bright and early, Margaret and I headed to store to get Sean a rug and other items for his new room. Then we cleaned and organized the basement room and moved Sean in. We had always used that room as a make shift laundry/office. Now it is a pretty sweet teenage bachelor pad complete with his own bathroom. When he got home from work Saturday night, he was pretty excited to have his own living space. I remember thinking it was odd that Margaret was so content to spend the day watching TV and doing crafts by herself, but the frenzy of the day left us thankful that she was happy to entertain herself. Sunday I roused Bill bright and early so we could get to Home Depot just as they were opening at 8 a.m. We picked up paint and various implements of the home improvement and headed home for a long, long day of painting. When we got home we found Margaret moaning listlessly on the couch. She had a fever, congestion and a wicked cough. She spent the entire day in her pajamas dozing on the sofa and blowing her nose. By early afternoon we had the painting done. After a couple more trips to the store accompanied by my friend and decorating consultant, Tracee, Bill and I watched/listened to the SuperBowl and hung window treatments in Margaret's newly painted lavender room. Tracee's husband came over to watch the game and eat dinner (somewhere in there Bill had time to make ribs). Rob is one of those guys that is immediately loved by kids and dogs — ours are no exception. Somewhere around halftime, Margaret started teasing Rob. "Well, it looks like Margaret is feeling better. She's started calling Rob names," Bill remarked. It was a relief to see that she was feeling better. But her recovery was short lived. Her last night in her little, pink room was punctuated by coughing fits and general discomfort. We kept her home from school Monday. Bill stayed home with her in the morning so I could at least get in a half a day's work. Then Bill went to work and I took on the task of moving all of Margaret's furniture into her new room. She helped a little by ferrying her kajillion stuffed animals in, but the activity of walking back and forth across the house left her tired. I continued to arrange her room after Bill got home and warmed up some dinner for us, then I left to teach my Monday night class. After a couple of hours of lecturing, I came home to finish moving Margaret little-girl stuff into her new room followed by moving our office stuff in her old room. By 10:30, I was utterly exhausted and Margaret was awake and crying. She was so congested she could not lie down and breathe at the same time. Eventually she fell back asleep and so did Bill and I. Margaret ended up spending most of her first night with her big-girl room tossing and turning in our bed while I desperately tried to stay covered and stay asleep. Needless to say, I was more than a little envious when looked in on my peacefully sleeping husband and daughter as I dragged my sore and sleepy self out the door this morning.

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