Today I have a guest post, from a fab blogger Avi, I met whilst in Israel earlier this year. I love that he has taken his humour of life with a new baby and mixed it with my love of interiors in this great post…
Photo Credit : CupofJo
The birth is over; you rested and arrived back home. It’s time to prepare your home for your new family member who will start crawling everywhere. Humour is definitely required.
The little one has cracked the egg and is now at home. What a joy! But beware! Life will not be the same again, and we need to adapt. Here are some changes we need to do in the house to pass the first year intact.
- Dark sofas and chairs
The only other animal who’s faster than a cheetah is a mother who sees her little one climbing on the white sofa with an open face chocolate sandwich. Unfortunately, the sandwich always drops face down on the couch. Worse yet, the little one would try to hide evidence by smearing chocolate all over the place. It is therefore mandatory to switch to a dark coloured sofa. The best choice is black with non-absorbent fabric, for the not so distant day when the little one draws Disney Junior characters on it with a purple marker.
- Picture Wall
Little ones grow, and very soon, when we ask them where Dad is, they will point at the Cannon camera on the dining room table. Why? Because we never stop documenting these little wonders in a National Geographic documentary style.
Many of the images will remain digital, but some will be printed professionally to hang on the wall for all to see. It is wise to designate a wall for such a purpose, as it will hold a variety of frames with images from of the baby discovering his world and from birthdays, parties and other kid events that you’d better join. But beware! Do not turn the wall into a kind of a Facebook profile page with your old pictures showing you as young and thin. Choose pictures that reflect real life: the toddler diving head first into a laundry basket, wearing a spaghetti pot as a helmet and Dad trying to pry a Lego cube out from the kid’s nose. Transparency is your best route.
- Sticky notes on the refrigerator’s door
The oversized fridge that you had to upgrade to is no longer just a food store but a giant kiosk. When the kid comes into the world, you will have to move some magnetic pictures to make room for letters from the nursery, the baby’s clinic, then timetables from the kindergarten and the gymnastics class, among other reminders of the little one’s life. It’s true they can all fit digitally into your smartphone, but nothing really beats the good old fridge for nagging reminders.
- Entertainment centre with locks
A crawling baby is a cute sight and in theory is quite harmless, but a toddler that walks is a clear and present danger! They get everywhere, pull and chew anything. Therefore, you must protect your electronics and large screen. Remove anything that you used to place on the entertainment centre and keep them behind locked doors. Anything, even boring looking things, will attract the toddler’s attention, including the card in the sky box, which he will pull out just when Cristiano Ronaldo prepares for the game deciding penalty in the dying minutes of the Championship League final.
- Paintings on the entrance door
Make sure you have another free wall to hang your child’s art. In the beginning, the art will look like Rorschach inkblots, but with time, you will notice he develops artistically into an impressionist. A tip: filter out the art. In the beginning, he will draw circles and paint smears until the page tears, but then he will add flowers, trees and his Dad as a giant with a big, threatening right hand, which may be wise to keep away from Child Services.
- A mattress instead of a rug
When the child learns how to stand, he also learns how to fall. At the least, he will fall like a log; at worst, he will collapse like an imploding building, pulling down with him the tablecloth with all the china on it. There’s no way around it, and as Paul Simon sings, “You got to learn how to fall before you learn to fly.” Make it a soft landing, on a fairly thick gym mattress. It doesn’t matter that you’ve invested in a playroom ─ the kid will not play anywhere but in the middle of the living room. Therefore, run and buy a mattress, a Disney one in pink and red, that will never blend with the vintage look that you planned for your living room. Kids make everyone happy, except interior designers.
- Pacifiers everywhere
During Singledom, our best friend was a dog. Today, when we are parents, our best friend is a pacifier. This is why we call it the Mute, like the mute button on the remote. If the little one cries and you see that he isn’t hungry or thirsty, his diaper is dry and he doesn’t want to play Dora’s puzzle again, then the pacifier is the handy solution. You should plant pacifiers everywhere: under the sofa’s pillow, in the pantry, even in the fridge ─ just so you never get caught without one. No need to place one under the sofa, as they naturally end up there by themselves.
- Get rid of the drink cart
Back to dear Singledom, where we used to display Johnnie Walker and friends in all their shining glory on a drink cart, in wait of another night of love. Well, it’s no more. We now have a baby bottle drink cart, with pink and blue milk bottles, a green bottle brush, a blue drying box, a reddish sterilizer and many other aids for feeding the little one. The drinks and the fancy cocktail accessories? Stowe them as far and as deep as the eye can see, unless you want a visit from Child Services.
- Toys everywhere
Post-birth, toys are not the gadgets and gizmos that we craved but real toys and dolls of all colours and shapes. Now you should think of yourself as an artist with a big white canvas waiting to be filled with your strokes of genius. It is inevitable that toys will fill your house anyway, and you will have to negotiate your way to the kitchen between cars, fire trucks, cranes, hello Kitties and Doras. Do yourself a favour and assign them to well-defined territories. Move that Chinese vase ─ it won’t last anyway ─ and give its space to Sammy the Fireman. Builder Bob will fit nicely where the Bose speaker once stood. Get the brown wooden cubes out of the way and place them near the black leather sofa, and let Pooh the Bear hibernate in the hallway.
It all comes down to this: don’t fight baby things, embrace them. In truth, they provide some sort of freedom. When you come home, you can throw your iPhone and headset with all the rest of the toys right there on the floor. Better yet, you can dump everything in your bag on to the floor and it won’t make any difference. Eventually, you will feel claustrophobic in your own home, and you may also experience obsessive-compulsive episodes. Do not worry: it’s normal. If you’re of the controlling type, take your fate in your own hands and start with it early at your own initiative. Good luck!
Avi Laviad, married father of two, writer, engineer and freelancing astronaut. Come follow me on “Hormonal Dad” blog, a dad blog about pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood.