It was midnight dance of sorts, that four-times-a-night shuffle I learned to do eighteen years ago. Awakened by the cries of my firstborn, I'd stumble to the bathroom to wet a washcloth with warm water. I'd take it to the nursery and lift the baby from his crib. I'd pass the rocking chair on the way back to my bed. (It was too big for me, it turned out, and I never used it.) I'd nurse the baby on one side, change the diaper, nurse him to sleep on the other side and then carry him back to the crib. I'd dump the wet diaper and washcloth in the diaper pail and crawl back into bed for an hour and half of sleep before repeating the dance. If I lucked out. More often than not though, Michael wasn't too happy about the transfer back to the crib and I'd have to nurse him to sleep again sooner than later.
I was committed to attachment parenting; it was the logistics that weren't working. So, desperate for sleep, we tried some things. We wedged the fullsized crib into our tiny bedroom. He hated the crib. We took the side off the crib and anchored it to our bed. He still hated the crib. I slept in the crib with him next to our bed (I was much lighter then;-). He slept; I didn't. Finally, we ditched the crib and put him between us in the bed.
When our second baby was born, we didn't even put up the crib. By the fourth, we'd given it away. Over time, our nighttime parenting and our bedroom design and decorating have converged. Furnished entirely with gifts and hand-me-downs, no other room in our house speaks so much to our lifestyle as our master bedrooms does.
Two summers ago, my aunt moved out of a large house and into a smaller one. She called to tell us that a van was coming to our area to bring some things from that house to a friend of hers. She said she had a few other things and asked if we would like them. Not sure at all what we were getting, we said we'd take whatever. Mike was out of town the day the truck pulled up and it was rather like reality TV to stand at the truck's door and make decorating decisions as previously unknown pieces were unloaded and carried into my house.
A massive desk ended up in the sitting area of our bedroom. I wasn't sure its purpose (and I still don't know), but there was no place else for it and I had vague plans for a desk all my own. It's so huge and was so hard to get upstairs, that whatever we do with it, it's going to stay right there.
A very comfortable armchair worked well in that space, too. The picture above it came off the truck and I knew immediately that I wanted it within sight of my bed. It is an Asian mother and two children. Before this baby was conceived, we were prayerfully discerning a Taiwanese adoption. When the picture arrived, I knew it would be a constant reminder to pray for Taiwanese women and babies upon awakening and before I went to sleep. Even though the adoption plans were set aside, the prayers continue.
The dresser for the new baby was rescued from Bobby's house before he left to play in England. It was falling apart and Michael rebuilt the back. It will serve nicely as both clothing storage and a changing table. The nightstand next to it is from a set my mother bought us when we were married. We moved it away from our bed to make room for baby's bed. Here it holds a stash of diapers and wraps.
And then there's the glider...I am so looking forward to having a rocking chair that's made for a petite person! My sister generously provided both glider and ottoman for the baby. She said that everyone assumes you have everything by the time you get to eight, but sometimes there something you never indulged in that will make this time extra-special. I am looking forward to spending time here. My girls have already filled the side pockets with their collection of First Little House books. And the little touch of pink, the piece that really says "Baby Girl," is the quilt, a gift from Donna Howey.
The baby will sleep right next to me in a co-sleeper purchased by grandparents four years ago for Katie. My mother updated its cover and bought leg extensions so it would work against our new king-sized bed (yet another piece of furniture that came off that truck). I love my co-sleeper and the midnight dance is completely eliminated. A small table my mother found in Amish country sits at the foot of the co-sleeper with a basket of nighttime diapers and wipes and my CD player. No need to get out of bed at all--just reach over, nurse the baby and leave her sleeping in her bed. Diaper changes are bedside business too. There is something to be said for the lessons of experience! Maybe they'll compensate for the fact that I'm forty, have seven other children to care for, and much less energy than I did at 22.
The hope chest was an engagement gift from my father. It survived a flood in my mother's house before I was married and my father-in-law rebuilt the bottom. The baby's scrapbook sits upon it and I sincerely "hope" to work on it in a timely manner.
Though most of our books are shelved in our library closet, each bedroom in the house has a bookcase for special books. Mine is no exception. I loved this bookcase in my parents' house growing up and I think it's perfect in this corner of my bedroom.
There, she'll find a dresser, rescued from my father's storage space and a closet festooned with flowers. The doors kept falling off, so I took them down and hung a curtain and some tulle.
The desk was a hand-me-down we painted (and need to paint again). The bed belonged to the set in my room but belongs to the girls now, who love to sleep together under the canopy. And the bookcase? The bookcase I actually purchased because I just couldn't walk away from it.
I have no idea how the baby will fit into this room, but it's a decorating project that could make for some summertime fun--next year!