Discovered: The Modern Baby

I don’t usually do posts like this – interior decor being the evil shimmery Kryptonite of my nightmares, if you want to get metaphorical about it – but I’m a little bit obsessed. And it’s good to share your obsessions, I hear. It dilutes them or something.

Here’s what I discovered yesterday, thanks to some marvellous people on Twitter: themodernbaby.co.uk. Not only is it UK-based, for once, but it’s all so b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l I could cry. You can click on the link below and find the details for the individual pieces, if so inclined. (Now I’ve said ‘pieces’ when I mean ‘cushions and stuff’, I must immediately go put my head in a bucket of water. I hate that. It’s only acceptable if you’re a curator in a museum. If not, check whether you’re wearing leather leggings and three pairs of sunglasses indoors. You can admit it, it’s ok.)

Elephants and bears and slightly sad pear prints, oh my. Don’t you just want it ALL?

The Modern Baby

Of course I technically don’t have a nursery at the moment – and stuffing poor Sarah’s room with yet more baby stuff wouldn’t be very nice for her – but I do wonder how she feels about sad pears.

Believe it or not, this isn’t a sponsored post. I just love it so much it makes my heart hurt. 

Making Room

Today I found a few photos of Henry’s room before it stopped being a receptacle for all our assorted junk and started being a nappy-splattered nursery.

From this:

to this:

And here’s what the other wall looked like:

Much better these days:

(Did I mention I’m completely in love with that chest of drawers? Those little handles. My goodness.)

You know, I agonised over that room. I cried over it. It became a symbol of everything I didn’t have time to do as a pregnant stuck-in-the-office worker, and all my inadequacies that were sure to emerge as a mother. I couldn’t think of how to decorate it and didn’t have time to do much to it anyway. I wasn’t creative enough. I had to throw away one of my Complete Works of Shakespeare when I purged all of my books, and resented it – now I only have two – and felt it was obviously an indication of how little prepared I was to make room for a baby.

Well, we got there in the end. We reorganised our clutter, made trips to IKEA, took up the carpet, painted the walls, wrestled with the rocking chair. I never stopped agonising. Before every purchase and every decision I ruminated for hours, worrying about whether it would fit and if it would look nice. Everything seemed painfully imbued with significance, and only if everything was perfect would this grand adventuring experiment, this entering of motherhood, be exactly what I wanted it to be.

Here’s what I know now: it never really mattered. It’s a lovely room to sit in, and somewhere nice to change nappies, but he won’t even be sleeping in it till after Christmas. The rocking chair is still half-painted, the cupboard is bursting with swag, and the blind needs replacing. But it never needed to be perfect. It just needed to be his.

It’s been the same with mothering, generally. Some days are better than others. I’m not the superwoman I envisioned, and spend more time sitting around and wasting time than I ever did in the office. But as I type this, with Timothy asleep on the floor at my feet and Henry sat watching me with his little hand in the crook of my arm, I know I never needed to be a perfect mother. I just needed to be his. And that, I find, I can do just fine.

DIY Girl – 1; Rocking Chair – 0 (37 + 2)

Well, what do you know: it worked.

(I know I haven’t done the rockers yet: I need to turn it upside down for that, which is a job more suited for Timothy’s back muscles than mine, at present.)

It’s not the greatest paint job in the world  – I dub thee, rocking chair, Sir Drippy McDripperson - but I’m jolly pleased with it. Which is lucky, because it took many cramped hours and half a season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to finish off. A note for the future:

  • It will look awful right up until the third coat is dry. At times it will feel like an endless grudge match between you and the rocking chair. Do not give in. The might of the gloss paint will prevail in the end.
  • Use a painting roller, not your ancient, sticky paintbrush (wish I’d realised this before coat no. 3).
  • The floor is hard. Your muscles will ache the next day. Perhaps consider a few pre-painting warm-up stretches.
  • Buffy is an ideal distraction, given that I first saw those episodes a decade ago, and don’t ever have to look at the screen to keep up. I recommend Season Two.

Repaint and Conquer (36 + 6)

Sometimes, a woman on maternity leave needs to venture into uncharted territory. I haven’t edited anyone’s grammar (except in my head) for three days. But today, I painted a rocking chair.

The Challenger:

Game face.

The To-Be-Conquered:

It glowers back.

The Only Paintbrush Available:

Not in the best shape of its life.

Let me stress that I am not naturally crafty. It is a woeful inadequacy. I don’t do house projects, I have no interest in Pinterest, and so little sense of colour and interior decor that our flat is practically whitewashed, just to be on the safe side. I ventured into green for the nursery, and considered this to be bravery on a par with the charge of the Light Brigade. So you can imagine the trepidation with which I approached this project.

Good job I was warned beforehand that the first coat would look awful, and I wasn’t to mind, but to press ahead. Because, wow. It really did.

I realised quite early on that I could’ve chosen an easier piece of furniture for my first DIY attempt. Rocking chairs don’t have straight lines; they have poles. Poles that require endless dabbing, all the way around, to prevent little globs of paint forming on the opposite side to the one you’re brushing. Oh, and also: carved wood. Not the easiest, especially when you’re eight-and-a-bit months pregnant and you’re lying in an impossibly curled-up position on the nursery floor. TJ realised there was something hard underneath his/her feet and took the opportunity to practise a bit of marching. This feels like someone is drawing on the inside of your skin with a marble. It does not help with painty concentration.

After a while, I took a break and went to make some macaroni cheese for dinner. Stick to what you know, eh?

I’m afraid I cannot yet post a photo of my crafty masterpiece, as the camera would likely spontaneously combust from shame. Tomorrow I’ll do the second coat, and hopefully it’ll be better-looking. Would it be trivial to pray for the presentability of your rocking chair? I haven’t ruled it out.

Last Lap (36 Weeks)

My little TJ, welcome to full-term.

Actually, not quite: he/she still has a week of being officially premature. I’ll be medically ready to pop from just before 37 weeks. But still.

Things have changed, the past week or so. I’m large, and I feel it (for the first time, the word ‘gravid’ feels appropriate – isn’t it such a deliciously heavy, weary-sounding word for ‘pregnant’?). I believe the technical term for my laboured stagger from desk to printer and back again is galumphing. My skin hurts. I take off all my clothes in order to get to sleep. My back vertebrae click when I breathe in too deeply. And oh my goodness, I hate to keep going on about it, but I’ve never seen anything like the size of my feet. I suppose I can still SEE my feet, which means we still have some way to go.

I’m ready to stop now, I think. I want a baby, not a belly. I want to sleep on my front and do some proper exercise and I never, ever want to eat another raisin in my life.

Luckily this was my penultimate day at work, at least for the next year or so. So next week it’ll be a strict regime of sleep and housework and pottering around in TJ’s room for however long it takes before he/she arrives. I am beginning to love that little room. I feel like if I spend enough time in there, putting tiny vests in tiny drawers and setting things in order, I can wish him into existence.

I mean, you don’t get pretty pictures like this in your average uterus, do you?