It's a well-documented fact that my children spend a lot of time fighting. Craft activities are a battle; gardening is a nightmare; watching television usually ends up with someone bearing physical scars and wailing. Though deep down the Lattes love each other, they do little on a daily basis to show it. Stuffing them into their respective rooms at the end of the day has been a relief.
And then, out of nowhere, they started to share a room.
It started with a few sleepovers in summer; occasional nights where Eldest's mattress would move onto Littlest's floor. And then the mattress never moved back. Late night chats were had; the children fidgeting in their room when the lights were meant to be out. There were even cuddles. Then Eldest came back from a school residential trip with a revelation - bunk beds.
We waited for them to go off the idea, but they didn't. Littlest - so proud of her room as a smaller child - relished the idea of giving it up. She would miss the curtains, but that was all. In a world where everyone talks about needing their own space, my children were categorically rejecting theirs.
It makes sense - a chance to collude behind your parents' backs, a chance to play 'house' with a sister. Eldest likes company, and Littlest isn't keen on going to sleep - the story CD must be left on at all times, and no mistakes must be made in the ritual switching on of landing lights and leaving doors ajar.
Even as adults, few of us want to be left alone in the dark.
So this week we are decorating; covering the pink paint that was applied to Eldest's room when she was three. (I can still remember her using the roller for all of, ooh, six seconds.) A lilac and neutral palette has been chosen, a clever loft bed has been ordered to go over Eldest's single bed. Last night, we heard scuffling and went upstairs to find a groggy Littlest clambering onto her sister's mattress. It used to be our bed she staggered into in the night.
Growing up takes funny twists and turns.