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Decorating

Kids Sharing Bedrooms

If there’s truth to the talk that the new trend is for three-bedroom, two-bathroom houses, there’s going to be one thing happening for families, and that is lots more kids sharing bedrooms. Personally I’m all for it. Where else do you learn to fight (I mean negotiate) so well?

I shared a bedroom with my older brother until I was a teenager, and my parents were renting a house while building their own. I’m not sure if that was a good or bad thing. Good company? Yes. But her taste in posters was appalling. Jokes aside, there are dilemmas. If you have kids of different genders, when is it appropriate for them to share until? When do you say, ok, time to have your separate rooms, if they haven’t asked yet?

And there’s also another, unexpected, problem Mum and Dad encountered. The dreaded decoration drama. If you think it’s hard choosing between Imperial White and Egg Shell White, try sorting out a kids’ room. I know it sounds trivial against the greater world backdrop of natural disasters, financial meltdowns and overseas conflicts, but when you have a boy and a girl sharing and you want to create a space that they love (and more importantly, that you can convince them they should sleep in, all night), what do you go with?

Despite all this chatter about new-age men and metrosexual teens, when it comes to little boys, things still seem pretty black and white. Pink is yuck, gross, disgusting and only for girls. So, really, not much has changed at all. Animals, planes, trains and automobiles didn’t cut it.

Things have come a long way in the decorating stakes in recent years with the arrival of removable wall decals, those clever vinyl stickers that really can be repositioned. For less than $100 you can overhaul the look of a room without something as permanent as those awful stuck-on borders that permeated the bedrooms of the kids of design-conscious parents 20 years ago.

A good solution was reached: to opt for a universally popular theme. Superheroes, with bold primary colours and a cityscape on the wall with a life-size Superman decal flying through the air, ready to rescue a damsel in distress. But that is where the doubts began.
People worry about the violence associated with superheroes (for example, they are banned at some child care centres). And personally I prefer the retro idols such as Superman to more modern equivalents like Ben 10 because I perceive them to be less violent, even though it’s hard not to notice the 1978 Superman movie has drinking, mild swearing and plenty of sexual overtones.

But my parents were concerned with what sort of messages it sends to a little girl to be surrounded by superheroes that are all blokes? So, the search begins for some female crime fighters to add the mix and even up the gender imbalance. And sadly there are a few superheroes that are girls, but not nearly enough.

Wonder Woman seems a good solution, but then there’s a problem. Is she really a great role model or simply an object of sexual desire that compounds the raft of wrong messages that littlies are already bombarded with? Like bra tops for toddlers. In the real world women can be both sexy and smart, for sure, but perhaps that’s a bit advanced for a two year old girl.

Trawl the blogosphere and opinions seem mixed as to Wonder Woman’s status, particularly given she originally had to perform acts of daring in her undies. And plenty of posters have Wonder Woman intentionally looking more dominatrix than crime fighter.

In the end we ended up with one Wonder Woman (the non-dominatrix version, harder to find than you would think) and one Superman. So while it might not all be equal in the comic world of crime fighting, it was, at least, in our house.