My parents had six kids. Three bedrooms. Two bathrooms. One income. It was truly a time (or many times) of making do with what you had. I saw photos of my brothers being bathed in the kitchen sink. The same sink that was used to prepare the Thanksgiving turkey. And to house a stack full of dishes plastered with remnants of a day’s worth of Cheerios, pork ’n beans, and casseroles.
And all of us shared a bedroom at one time or another. Cribs? Nah. There were tales of the older kids sleeping in dresser drawers. And I think the decorating theme was, well—nothing.
But each generation has their own way of doing things. And I so didn’t want to be the mom who went over the edge with decorating the baby’s room. But with all the brands, themes, and colors, it can be hard not to. For her twins’ nursery, Mariah Carey had big comfy chairs, ivory-colored furniture, and a pink and green color scheme. Then, there are the rest of us who aren’t multi–record selling celebrities.
We went with all wood furniture. And none of it from the same store. The crib came first, mainly because I pushed my big-bellied self to the front of the line at a USA Baby Furniture store sidewalk sale. Turns out that there were a lot of waddling women out to do the same that day, but no worries as I claimed the crib I had been visually stalking from the parking lot before the doors opened. My plan was to keep the little guy in the crib until he was three. You bet. I intended to get every penny out of it. At 14 months, he figured out how to crawl out of it.
On to the dresser. My advice is to get it delivered. I’m surprised and eternally grateful that my brother still speaks to us. It’s not easy to say no to your younger, pregnant sister. And who knew it would turn into a three-hour journey that involved an SUV, bungee cords, spatial strategizing, shoving, praying, cursing, heaving, pushing, and rearranging.
What ever happened to basic dressers? You know, the kind with the same-size drawers. The one we found was huge. Drawers down the middle. Drawers on the side. A top shelf area to put little knickknacks on. And that nifty little area commonly called the diaper tower. The entire piece was bigger than an entertainment center. But we found out that if you take off that top shelf, take off the diaper pad, and take out the diapers, it serves as adult furniture quite nicely.
No room would be complete without a rocking chair. I figured that would be one thing we would get a lifetime of use from. We paid more than $400 for it. Plus another $65 to fix the arm that broke off after one year. After the second time it broke, we tossed it out. Ironically, the one we bought for under a hundred bucks is in great shape.
We chose to go with a subtle theme—Winnie the Pooh. Should have been easy, but it turns out there are two types of Winnie. There is the one you often see now with a red shirt. And an older one—shirtless and more scruffy. I tried to combine them, but it looked odd. Because the one with no clothes on it made the one in the shirt seem like he was half naked. And the one with the shirt on made the other appear completely naked.
As it turns out, the decorating is much more for us as parents. Because by the time the kids are able to realize the thought, time, and money that was put into decorating their room, they’ll want something like Sponge Bob or [insert girl theme]. Okay, now that whole dresser drawer for a crib thing makes sense.