Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Nursery Adventures

I'm going to let you in on a little secret...

Nurseries are not for babies.

A baby does not need his own room. A baby does not need a $500 sleigh-style crib in a cherry wood finish with a three-level dropside and convertible crib rails. A baby does not need expensive matching crib linens and intricate wall murals and tons of fancy gadgets that swing and rock and play classical lullabies.

No, the process of planning and creating my son’s nursery has taught me that nurseries are for the adults – more specifically, for mommy and her brigade of fellow, future and former mommies to dote on and admire. In reality, babies don’t need much – and they certainly don’t require the level of pomp and circumstance with which many of us approach the task. The cuteness and the convenience and the variety of items chosen for a baby’s room is often based far more upon what mommy wants than what baby needs. This is why there are a dozen different styles of swing to choose from, all performing the same basic functions… and fifty different themed bedding sets for each gender… and a variety of pacifiers with butterflies or frogs or rainbows on them. I know that Jaxon won’t care or even know what color the changing pad cover is, and I’m pretty sure he would have been equally oblivious whether I had settled on the helicopter crib set I was considering for a time or the jungle theme I eventually chose. The wall shelves I painted and decorated with wooden animal cut-outs are adorable, but plain wooden shelves would have served the same purpose. I could just as easily have thrown his stuffed animals in a basket as hung them on colorful links suspended from the ceiling, as I opted to do.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this. After all, Jaxon’s not here to give his opinion on such matters. And many of the decisions I made when putting his room together were at least partly driven by logic: finding ways to make frequently-used items more accessible; using wall and ceiling space to make up for the lack of floor space; looking to minimize clutter and keep things organized. And yes, some of it was just too damn cute to pass up. But at the end of the day, all he really would have needed was a place to sleep, a boob to suck on, clothes to wear, diapers to poop in, and his parents to love him. The rest is just fluff.

However, the big nursery to-do does serve on other purpose - all of that planning, researching, brainstorming, shopping, building, painting, hanging, creating, organizing and re-organizing, arranging and rearranging was a very welcome distraction and an outlet for the misplaced energy of mid-pregnancy. I’ve said before that pregnancy feels like one big waiting game – waiting for the months to pass, waiting for test results or ultrasound appointments, waiting for news, waiting for developments, waiting for milestones, waiting for change, waiting for the fruits of your labor (no pun intended) – the time flies but it also crawls. Working in the nursery helped remind me that it was all leading somewhere, that I was working towards something – eye on the prize, as they say.

I had the somewhat unique and difficult task of transforming what was already my step-daughter’s bedroom/playroom into a bedroom/playroom/nursery for the two of them. And we are not talking about a large room – 10’ x 10’ at most, probably – so it was definitely a challenge. She already had a good amount of stuff in there and it was set up kind of perfectly for her – plus the placement of the windows and doors in the room didn’t leave a whole lot of options for how to arrange the furniture and such. I wasn’t quite sure how it was all going to work out, but hey, I like a challenge.

Okay, I was obsessed, actually. The baby shower really kicked it into gear – there was SO much stuff and so few places to put it at first, and having it all just strewn about was driving me crazy - it seemed impossible to think it was ever going to fit. From that day on I spent hours almost every night in that room or at Wal-Mart or shopping online for ways to utilize the small space and make a place for everything. I’d get out of bed at all hours of the night because I had a great idea and couldn’t wait until the next day, or because I’d come up with a solution to something that had been bugging me and was keeping me awake. I often spent my lunch breaks scouring the internet for ingenious storage tips and other upgrades to what I had already done, always trying to make it better and more organized and more cohesive. I looked at so many different types of storage accessories – shelving units, closet storage solutions, underbed storage, wall shelves, hanging storage, totes, bins, containers, racks, wall hooks, over-the-door hooks, toy boxes, buckets, bags, baskets, corner shelves, drawer dividers – I didn’t want to miss a single thing that might help maximize what little space I had to work with. I moved things around more times than I can count (and more than a few times they ended up right back where they had started). And of course, as I’d buy or receive more gear and supplies, I would change little things around here and there to accommodate.

I’m at the point now where I feel it’s basically done and pretty much perfect – there are a few little things here and there that need to be finished up, but overall I definitely think I did as much as I could with what I had to work with… but when I’m bored you still might catch me online looking at storage options or nursery d├ęcor just in case I find something amazing. And there are times when I’m sitting at home watching TV or doing something equally mundane when I wish there were something I could still be doing in the nursery. I’m happy to say, though, that I haven’t made any significant changes recently and I’m really happy with how it came out.


Jaxon's Side of the Room:

Angelina's Side of the Room:

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