It was getting real.
And to show for it, we started tearing apart the Orange Room.
The room was named for the bright, tangerine color we painted it when we first moved into the house. I think the actual color was “tomato bisque” on the Valspar can. It proved to be an appropriate color as backdrop for our Halloween party photo booths over the years.
The room had to transition from party room to baby room because we were five months along and this baby thing was the real deal. Pregnancy is odd because you want to be excited but can’t be so excited in case the pregnancy fails, as was the case with our first round of IVF. Even with this pregnancy we lost an embryo, but had another little heart beating strong.
The speed of our transforming the room correlated to our swelling confidence in the pregnancy.
Amanda made quick work of the orange walls, an opening salvo for the transformation the room would endure. Orange was covered by a beige to neutralize the room. At the time, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl but also didn’t want to go heavy on a gender-specific color anyway.
We moved the guest bed out of the room, revealing where our fir floors have been well loved and well kept. There wasn’t much else in the room since I moved my desk and computer upstairs. I had bottles of my latest homebrew experiment in the small closet. I received orders to move the beer equipment, which I promptly completed several weeks later.
After clearing other oddities in the room and removing art off the walls, we agreed to take a break because we had plenty of time to complete the rest. Amanda and I agreed to use our bedroom dresser as the changing table and we’d move that in later.
The next day, I came home from work and the heavy dresser was in place in the new baby room. I was a little concerned that my pregnant wife was doing some ambitious heavy lifting out of excitement. She assured me she was careful and used a “blanket contraption” to slide the dresser across the house with minimal impact. I’m still confused and attribute the mysterious move to hormone-induced super-human Mom strength. Hulk like babies. Hulk move dresser.
Now we had a freshly painted baby room with a dresser/changing table. The centerpiece of any baby room is obviously a crib, and I have my grandmother to thank for that. Not because she bought us the new crib but because she had a tradition of buying cribs when each of her children became pregnant. My Mom adopted that tradition and bought our crib. I am a big fan of traditions, especially furniture traditions. We need more of those.
After people asking when, “When are you due?” “Is it a boy or girl?” and “Do you have a name?” the third runner-up question is, “What’s your baby room theme?”
I wish we lived in Norway (for a lot of reasons), but one of them would be so that I can answer, “The box the government gives us.”
But we’re in America and here the privileged take baby room themes seriously, based on a little tradition and a lot of trend. The Pinterest and Etsy forces are strong. What I do like about a themed room is that it starts to shape your impression of what you want your child to be about.
Because we’ve been on such an outdoorsy kick and align a lot of our family identify to the Northwest, we started collecting decorations that resembled an outdoorsy theme. Amanda picked up some local prints of Tacoma and Northwest places. We have some small topographic prints of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker (one I’ve climbed, the other beckons). Amanda made a mobile of woodland creatures.
We’ve also got some trendy arrows, bunting and one of those stark-white taxidermy heads. Like I said, the Pinterest and Etsy forces are too strong to deny.
Amanda chose an economic Ikea rocking chair that I will spend more hours in than I care to think about. Amanda’s parents rounded out the room with a huge rug to save all of our knees when we’re crawling around with the baby. Add a baby monitor, numerous limited-use baby gadgets, hauls of baby clothes and diapers and we’ve completed an Official Baby Room!
All of this seems over the top for a little baby that will spend most of its time screaming, eating and pooping (in that order). She won’t sleep there right away. She won’t remember the room. I don’t remember mine, or most of the first 10 years of what my rooms looked like.
Of course, it’s all about us – the new parents. There’s so little we can control and contribute. Don’t get me wrong, everything that Amanda does -- eat, sleep, exercise, breathe -- helps the baby grow, but it’s not like the immediate satisfaction of giving a gift or changing the color of a wall.
It’s a productive distraction creating a baby room. It feels like a change is happening. Because it is.