Nursery for our new girl
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.