Tuesday, September 25, 2012


One day you look at your calendar and realize that nine months have evaporated down to three, and you still haven't figured out how to turn the office into a nursery.  You fret, you reorganize, you loan your fancy side table to your sister-in-law and move the desk into the living room.  You shop for cribs and realize everything you really like costs more than what you paid for all of your own bedroom furniture combined.  You read advice on drop-side cribs and crib bumpers and buying used.  You learn about crib mattresses - waterproof, hypoallergenic, organic, all natural, expensive.  And now you are down to two months, you know, unless baby surprises you early...

Finally it begins to come together.  You settle on an inexpensive crib in exchange for the bedding you love (which you will later learn is almost entirely useless to your baby outside of just the fitted sheet, of which you bought one, which, let's face it, was not your best moment in decision-making).  The expensive rug which could work for a girl or a boy (ha!) goes on sale, your parents buy you a comfy matching rocking chair, you score some cute drawer pulls to dress up the Ikea dresser, and suddenly you have a nursery.

Details: fairies on the walls, cuddly friends in the crib, a pale pink-and-white lampshade with rickrack detail.  Your belly is getting awkward, and you find yourself spending more and more time in that comfy rocking chair, loving what has come together in this - what was this?  an office?  really? - wondering if it is really and truly possible that a baby will live here soon.  A baby.  A real one.  Yours. Really?  Hoping she will like her room, too.  Hoping she will like you.  Wondering what on earth she will be like herself.  When you sit here, time stops and your breath stops and the world is entirely too much to grasp because it is all too big and it is all too small and time is also rushing forward so fast how did we get here?

She arrives, and your world is upside-down.  Wonderful.  You lay her in the crib for a photo-op, but she spends the first three months in a Moses basket in your bedroom - she is just too entirely tiny to be anywhere further than arms-length from you, and in that crib she looks utterly abandoned in a great continent of pink and blue floral bedding.  She is perfect, but the first time you diaper her at home on her brand-new soft chenille changing pad you quickly realize you've made a new-parent blunder by jumping the gun.  She isn't finished, yet, and the moment the diaper is off she poops again with remarkable form, sending an impressive spray of yellow and brown muck three feet out, showering the changing table, the pastel walls, the rocking chair, the pale pink-and-white lampshade with rickrack detail.

This is only the first lesson she gives you in nursery decor.

That was yesterday.  Today she sleeps in a toddler bed.  Her blanket is the same blanket you bought with her crib set, but even though she is a small nearly-five-year-old it barely seems to cover her.  At night you go in and shift her dangling legs back into her bed and try to make the blanket cover her splayed mess of limbs, and then you peek over at her two-year-old sister in the crib - a different crib, the one you found on Craigslist after the first crib was recalled, the crib your husband just turned into a toddler bed this weekend.  A crib you are going to put back for sale on Craiglist in two or three weeks, when the bunkbeds show up, when you redo their room, when it becomes their bedroom.

Because it is no longer a nursery.


Gretchen said...

Lovely, Melanie. No night is complete without fixing the dangling legs....

melanie said...

Thank you, Gretchen! Does the dangling ever end? And of course, last night it was more like "pick her up and swing her around so she is right-side-up in bed instead of feet-on-pillow." How do they DO that??