Nurs­ery for our new girl

Maryland Independent - - Classified - Twit­ter: @right­meg

The nurs­ery is tak­ing shape.

With just about two months un­til my due date, my hus­band and I have been push­ing to “get the house in or­der” be­fore baby girl John­son’s ar­rival. Post-Christ­mas clean-up com­bined with the nest­ing in­stinct has ba­si­cally turned me into a one-woman purg­ing machine. I’ve spent more time do­nat­ing items (and, OK, brows­ing) at thrift stores re­cently than I’d care to ad­mit, and that’s trans­lated to more peace of mind as we near the fi­nal count­down.

I’ve writ­ten many times about my ef­forts to de­clut­ter. The truth is that, with a tod­dler, my clean­ing and or­ga­niz­ing feels fu­tile; Oliver loves noth­ing more than com­ing be­hind me to touch what I’ve touched, top­ple what I’ve just righted. I try to let it go, but will ad­mit to feel­ing my pa­tience stretch thin lately. Can we have any­thing nice? For even a sec­ond?

I tried to draw the line at my books. Our front room is a li­brary: a ded­i­cated space for read­ing, a refuge that was my first project in the house. We took the last bit of our wed­ding money to in­vest in a com­fort­able chair per­fect for los­ing your­self in a book (or snooz­ing). Be­fore get­ting preg­nant with Oliver, I spent most of my time dec­o­rat­ing that room to make it homey when the rest of the house was blank and new.

Oliver dis­cov­ered the li­brary along with his sea legs. When he started walk­ing in the fall, his fa­vorite “jour­ney” was into the li­brary with its floor-to-ceil­ing shelves and room to run. I’d al­ready purged my col­lec­tion enough to clear a shelf ex­clu­sively for his items: thick, chunky board books per­fect for lit­tle hands. I picked a shelf clos­est to the floor, of course, hop­ing he’d love his own books enough to leave my beloved ones alone. That was cute. Oliver’s new­est game is “clear the shelf.” From the nearby kitchen, I can hear him chuck­ing hard­cov­ers and pa­per­backs alike onto the floor. I’m not ob­ses­sive about books stay­ing crisp and un­sul­lied, but watch­ing my son step­ping on them in or­der to pull down more makes my stom­ach turn.

I try en­tic­ing him away with “his” books: large, color ful ones bet­ter built to with­stand tod­dler slams. But he pays no at­ten­tion to those. My best hope is just to dis­tract him long enough to get him into a dif­fer­ent part of the house, where hope­fully he for­gets about Mom’s trea­sures. Fat chance. So I’m fo­cus­ing my at­ten­tion else­where. The up­stairs bed­room used as stor­age since move-in is slowly trans­form­ing into a lit­tle girl’s sanc­tu­ary. The first or­der of busi­ness was to re­paint and patch trou­ble spots from its pre­vi­ous ten­ant; the walls were pock­marked with nail holes. Spencer has been work­ing late at night to get this done while I snoozed on the couch, un­able to fight that third-trimester ex­haus­tion.

I’m a pretty vis­ual per­son. It’s hard for me to imag­ine a fi­nal re­sult with­out ex­am­ples. When we were fur­nish­ing Oliver’s bed­room, I had to phys­i­cally sit in the room with my lap­top while or­der­ing book­cases and bed­ding; it wasn’t enough to try and re­mem­ber what progress I’d al­ready made, or how cer­tain items would co­or­di­nate.

As with Ol­lie’s room, I’m us­ing cur­tains as my “in­spi­ra­tion piece” (a phrase bor­rowed from read­ing too many in­te­rior de­sign blogs). Though I love pink and was once a girly girl, I knew I didn’t want a cot­ton candy ex­plo­sion for our daugh­ter.

Plus, the car­pet is bright pur­ple. Gri­mace of McDonald’s pur­ple. Stained-grape-juice pur­ple. As we didn’t want to pull up per­fectly de­cent car­pet to throw cash at some­thing neu­tral, Spencer and I de­cided it should stay. We’d tone it down in other ways.

Light gray paint — my first de­sign choice — has def­i­nitely done that. Spence fin­ished the first coat on Sun­day night, and I walked into the room Mon­day morn­ing with a feel­ing of light­ness. We fi­nally dragged out the last of my ran­dom child­hood be­long­ings over the week­end, shift­ing them to the guest room un­til I can de­cide what to do with them. I felt to­tally in­spired by the empty space, happy to be bring­ing fur­ni­ture and art­work back in piece by piece.

With its bare, bright walls and bold car­pet, I pulled my flo­ral cur­tains from their pack­ag­ing and held them up by the win­dows. This would work. This would def­i­nitely work.

The rest of the room will come to­gether. I bought a white crib dur­ing a Black Fri­day sale; it’s lean­ing just in­side the closet, wait­ing to be put to­gether for its new ten­ant. I found a shelf at a thrift store that will be per­fect in one cor­ner, and the glider in which we’ve rocked lit­tle Oliver so many times will soon be moved into this space. We’ll get Ol­lie a new stor­age area for his cars and di­nosaurs to take up that empty cor­ner.

But I’m in no rush. It’s emo­tional to think that Ol­lie, my baby, will soon be our big boy — and is hardly a baby at all. Mov­ing the glider chair feels fi­nal, though I know that many more tran­si­tions will fol­low. He re­cently leaned for­ward to kiss my cheek with puck­ered fish­face lips, throw­ing his arms around me, and I felt the sweet weight of him more keenly than any­thing else in my life. My baby. He is al­most two.

Wel­com­ing a new­born for the sec­ond time is, in many ways, less nerve-wrack­ing than the first; good­ness knows my hus­band and I are al­ready used to func­tion­ing on bro­ken sleep, cof­fee and hand­fuls of trail mix. But there is still an el­e­ment of the un­known. Will she be a good sleeper? A good eater? Will she love to draw or hate green beans or be left-handed and have long, curly locks like me?

I look for­ward to get­ting an­swers in time. Un­til then, I’m con­tent with the mys­tery — and the nest­ing.

If you need me, we’ll be paint­ing old dressers.

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