Brad and I recently celebrated our first year in our home. Now, keep in mind this is the first home we have ever owned, so it’s kind of a big deal for us. And I love our little house, the operative word being little. 1942 bungalows are big on charm but small on virtually everything else.
When Brad and I first stepped into our future cottage it was clean as a whistle. The homeowners, a newlywed couple, had purchased it at the height of the market as a flip and decided to live in it while they remodeled their investment. That turned out to be a bad idea as a “surprise” baby prolonged their project and the market plummeted. Needless to say, they were hot to sell, so they courted us aggressively .
As I said, the first time we saw the house it was spotless. But the second time we saw it we were already under contract and there for the inspection and the honeymoon was over. It wasn’t that the house was dirty, just that it was cluttered with an array of baby-related items. Everywhere. Really. It looked like a Babies-R-Us had thrown up in every single room. And, with motherhood impending, I swore that would never happen to us. Our entire nursery was designed with storage in mind (note the copious shelving) and an eye for minimalism. I have weighed the benefits and disadvantages of literally every baby item that has entered our home and edited accordingly. Fast forward to recent events.
For those of you who don’t know, our little bundle of joy has a pretty bad reflux problem. Her pediatric Gastroenterologist says it has something to do with the G.I. tract being the last thing to mature and assures us she’ll grow out of it someday. In the meantime, she endures a host of ever changing medications, sleeps on her left side at a 30 degree angle, is fed small meals every 45 to 90 minutes and needs to remain vertical for 30 to 60 minutes post-feeding. That means that either Brad or I were holding her virtually all of the time. Our only respite was to place her in the standing position of our baby backpack and keep it within six inches of us at all times so she wouldn’t accidentally tip over.
That is, until Saturday, when I visited a friend whose baby was happily playing in an activity center. Vertically. Visions of freedom began to form in my weary mind. I envisioned daily showers and being able to cook an entire meal without a baby on my hip. I went home and informed Brad we were purchasing an activity center of our own post haste. He was enthusiastic as I and two hours later ten thousand pieces of our new purchase were scattered around our living room floor, just waiting for Brad to piece together what we hoped would become our vehicle to liberty.
The thing is, the Baby Einstein Musical Baby Jumper and Activity Center we purchased is exactly the kind of thing I never wanted to cross our threshold. It is large. Huge really. It has a diameter of nearly two and a half feet. It is also immobile, conspicuous and we have absolutely no where practical to put it, so it sits in the middle of our living room. And it looks ridiculous; an unsettling cross between Disneyland and what I imagine bondage gear to look like.
But Harper loves it. I mean, LOVES it. Last night she carried on a twenty minute conversation with the plastic smiling sun accessory while Brad and I ate dinner at the same time. And in the end, isn’t that what life is about? Actually enjoying time with loved ones? So I have given up on my dream of a kid item clutter-free home. Or, at least, am learning flexibility in that particular area. I recently saw a kitschy refrigerator magnet that summed it up best: Please excuse the mess, we’re making memories.