Thursday, May 6, 2010


One of the hardest things about having this new baby is figuring out where to put him. It was hard figuring out where to put Liam too, if that gives you any indication of what we have to work with. It's not that our house is small necessarily - 1600 square feet feels just about perfect to me - it's just that it was built before the standard master-bedroom-plus-kids'-rooms layout became all the rage.

Here's an idea of what we're working with:

When we first moved in, it looked like this:

Then Liam came along and we changed it to this:

Which, let's be honest, didn't take long to turn into this:

I know what you're thinking, Just turn your office/guest room (aka "college") into the baby's room. Duh! But it's hard to imagine handing that entire room over to a newborn. I mean, if he's in there, where the heck are we supposed to put the rest of our crap? We have very limited closet space, our laundry room is packed and our basement is, well, a basement (I'm not a huge fan).

Also, and I swear this is not just me being selfish, that room is not an ideal space for a baby. It shares a door with the living room and the hall (and the front porch but who's counting?) and is nearly impossible to keep quiet. I don't want to spend all of Finn's future naps tiptoeing around the house and forcing Liam to whisper if I don't have to. Not to mention, what would happen to our social life if we couldn't have friends over after we put the kids to bed?

The best solution I could come up with (aside from the boys sharing a room) was to divide college into two rooms, like this:

That would have given Finn a nice quiet sleeping space (no doors to the living room or hall!) without forcing us to hand over our entire house to the kids. I was pretty excited about this idea until I realized two things: 1) Kids come with a lot of stuff. Do I really want to drive myself nuts trying to cram it all into one room just so I don't have to give up my big messy closet office? 2) I'm having this baby in like 3 months and am no closer to completing (or starting...) this minor renovation today than I was 5 months ago. The likelihood of us getting it done at all is probably slim to none. If I don't want to procrastinate myself into a co-sleeping situation (nothing against co-sleeping, it's just not my thing), I need to come up with another plan.

Or finally just listen to what Bill has been saying all along:

Since Liam doesn't nap anymore and we already know he can sleep through a party, having him in a room that shares doors with the rest of the house is no big deal. Plus, doesn't it make more sense to invest in big boy stuff than to buy more baby stuff? I mean, why re-invent the nursery if you don't have to?

With Finn's room basically dialed in, I have turned my nesting energy to Liam's big boy room. I've chosen a color palate, picked out paint for the walls, ordered new bedding, set up his BIG big boy bed (when company comes to visit, they can crash in Liam's room!), and spent hours just lounging around in there imagining what it will be like when it all (eventually) comes together.

Liam's been spending time in there too; getting used to the space, introducing his friends to their new home ("I've got to show this bed to Baby Panda - she is going to freak out!"), and wondering how in the world he has possibly grown so big so fast.

Or maybe that last bit is just me. It's just...wasn't Liam a baby like yesterday? I've been right here with him almost every single moment since he was born and yet I can't begin to tell you where the time has gone.

He's so big. And mature. And increasingly independent. And while most of the time this makes me nothing but proud, the last few days it's also made me kind of...sad. Or maybe not sad exactly but just very aware of how quickly he's growing. One moment I think, "This is going to be such a fun room for us to play in together!" and then the next moment he asks me to leave him alone so he can have some privacy.

Oh yeah. Right. Sometimes I forget that we're here already but we are. Oh my goodness, how we are.

Last night Liam was my date for a Cinco de Mayo party at our friends' house. I was a little reluctant to go because I knew I'd be bringing one of the only kids to the party (if not the only kid) and would be stuck toting my big pregnant belly around all night. Did I mention it was a margarita party? Yeah. That's like the worst interpretation of BYOB ever.

But as we were walking up to the door hand-in-hand, we spotted Miss Courtney and all my worries about bringing a child to a fiesta instantly vanished.

Because Liam's not just a child, he's Liam. And I don't know what it is but there's something really special about him.

For the rest of the night, instead of feeling like I was the one at the party with a kid in tow, it honestly felt more like he was the one at the party with a mom in tow. I tried to give him his space, I really did, but when you have a four year old wandering around in a sea of adults you have no choice but to keep tabs.

I left him alone when he played in the hammock with Owen (another kid - woo hoo!), shook more candy from the decapitated pinata, and ran around the back yard with his new "animal finder friend" (a pretty grown up who was sweet enough to totally engage the boys in a made up adventure!). But whenever I felt the need to intervene - like to issue a "no kicking or screaming in the hammock" rule, or to stop Liam from walking face first into a lit cigarette, or to force the boys away from the bathroom door where they were yelling for their animal finder friend to "hurry up!" - it was as if I had just dropped my middle schooler off at a party and called after him from the car, "Be a good boy tonight and remember, Mommy loves you honey buns!" I just got the vibe that I was totally cramping his style. Like he was this close to whisper shouting through gritted teeth, "Mo-oommm. You're soooo embarrassing!"

He's still my little boy most of the time, but there's no doubt about it - he's growing up. Which, of course, is the point. But still. I can't help but feeling a little bit like a sappy Hallmark card once in a while. And just in time for Mother's Day! Today he's stealing smooches from his favorite singer and chatting up all the pretty girls at the party; tomorrow he's, well, he's probably doing the same exact thing. The only difference will be instead of me being at the party with him, I'll be waiting outside in my mini-van, listening to Delila dedicate some soft jams and rocking a nasty pair of mom jeans. Because time flies once you become a parent. Just like that cheesy mother's day card says it does.


Sarah Lindahl said...

It's exciting planning for a big change like you are about to have. I think your last drawing is the best idea.

We lived in an old house before our current house and I LOVED it, but it was so weird. To get to the master bedroom, you had to go through the kids's room. I tried and tried to think of a way to fix that glitch, to no avail.

Anonymous said...

I love Bill's idea! Totally makes the most sense. We lost our guest/crap room when Cal came along too, but I must say I really haven't missed it. We are planning on putting them together soon and then that room will be the play/guest/crap room:)
I totally know what you mean about having grown ups all of a sudden. JT asks to be alone too...and it makes me proud and breaks a bit of my heart all at the same time.
Laughed out loud at the "walking into a lit cigarette" part!

Katie said...

Great idea! We lost our guest/crap room when Cal came along too and it really has been a non issue!
Considering putting them together soon and turning that room into the playroom with a sofa room so it can also be the seldom needed guest room.
loved the lit cigarette part too, laughed out loud! We have had to rescue the boys from that a time or two also!

Susannah said...

I found your blog last summer when I was pregnant with my son--I think I had googled "mommy Nashville." I've been an occasional reader since and really enjoy your posts. I had to comment because a)my son's name is Finn (we thought we were being super original and that no one else in his class would share it, but it seems to be growing in popularity!) and b)I am pretty sure I recognized you yesterday at the Main Library's storytime. I will say hello next time! (as long as I'm not too busy trying to keep Finn from eating the rope on the floor). Best to you during your pregnancy!

No Mommy Brain said...

susannah - hey! so excited to "meet" you. and how cool that your little guy is finn as well. what a great name.
yes, liam and i were at storytime yesterday! now for a super duper random question...were you on barney? i overheard a woman tell her daughter that a woman eating lunch in the courtyard used to be the little girl on barney who "always wore knee socks" and i'm pretty sure she was pointing to you! have i totally blown your cover? :)

Halie said...

So- that was like 2 posts in one! I know what you're going through- I agonized over this for the last 4 months (I am working with 1200 sq ft) and finally decided to go with the "girls" room and the "boy" room, which will also serve as grandpa's room (since he is the only one who stays with us)...such a hard thing to decide! Now I just have to get Amaia, out of our room, and Isaac into his own room!