A Baby Room

I took a midday nap yesterday, a luxury I have not afforded myself since I can remember. Maybe it was the wedding I shot over the weekend, the renovations, the changing of Ella’s school, the life that is whizzing by at a pace I can’t comprehend, or –  I don’t know – the full term baby inside me who is taking up her fair share of zing… Either way, self-care was at’ the top of my list and I put a movie on for my monkeys, threw some things in the slow cooker for dinner and ignored everything else the world wanted from me.

Because somehow I am at the tail end of my pregnancy; my husband bringing me home raspberry leaf tea and a prebirth herbal mix and a twice weekly acupuncture schedule from here on in, while I stare blankly at him and ask how we got here so quickly.

We spent this past weekend finally setting her room up and picking up car capsules and washing tiny clothes and reacquainting ourselves with our cloth nappy supply. I am an everything-in-its-place kind of person, so I needed this process for my own feeling of calm and preparation. Life has carried on as it has always carried on and I hadn’t yet really stopped to mentally prepare for her arrival, her birth, for life with a newborn again and for how much things were about to change for us all. The tiny folded clothes tucked away in clean drawers mattered to me.

So…a little baby room tour today, a pretty but practical space that incorporates the must-have’s while culling back on all the stuff you don’t.

Firstly, my favourite, thrifty finds for the room:

I knew I wanted a rocking chair after not having one for either of my other babies. I wanted the feeling of that slow, rhythmic rocking I knew would be one of those holy experiences in those early months, so when I found this beautiful rocker in an antique store for $50, I didn’t hesitate to snap it up.

Her own little rocker there is another favourite find: $5 from a local thrift store, a quick wash and as cute as anything.

Her chest of drawers were also a steal, finding them on Gumtree for $60, only needing some new knobs which we had lying around from our trip to India a couple of years back. They are solid and high-quality wood, the drawers slide easily and they were already painted in a way I liked so they didn’t need too much work. Win, win, win.

Plus, they are filled with the sweetest, tiniest clothes I had a spiritual experience over while folding and sorting them.

Her cot was another favourite score: $40 off Gumtree and in a gorgeous darker walnut colour I wanted. We had passed on our previous cots during all our moves, but I knew I wanted something relatively light but solid, with a little vintage flair, and with a drop down rail which was easy to manoeuvre.

The spare bed/day bed was another must-have for the room. Firstly, as a second bed to escape to in those early months if Joel needed a good night’s sleep before a full day of work (while the baby is in our room initially). Secondly, as a place to offer guests and friends who were staying over for the night. And thirdly, as a day bed and space for the older kids to gather to play or read in while I’m breastfeeding, or to just bundle around the new baby together, bonding. Already, Ella and Billy climb into it to read books or to watch movies together at night and I love that it’s already an inviting space for them.

And lastly, one of my MOST loved thrifty finds:

Last week, I picked up a stack of newborn handmade knits and bonnets and booties for this little winter baby of ours and when the Gumtree lady said, “$20?” after I asked her how much for the lot, I’m quite sure I saw God. Our little girl’s Coming Home outfit is officially sorted and I’m one happy mother. They matter to me, those details, and it’s not about her, it’s about me: to mentally prepare me into a state of order, relaxation and readiness.

The rest of the room was decorated or furnished with stuff we already had: Old wooden crates for shelving and side tables, baskets for storage, cot linens from when my two were babies and wall hangings not being used elsewhere. And when in doubt, string up some eucalyptus or dried greenery from your garden and you’ve got yourself an inexpensive burst of beauty.

And after three babies, for me, the do-withouts include firstly, a change table, which only take up space in a room: a bed or a couch will always suffice when changing nappies — perhaps all you need is a changing mat if you’d prefer to place that down on the surface first. Find a place to store your nappies and wipes, like an easy-access shelf, but the table you can go without. Secondly, toys. Oh my goodness, toys. We are minimal with our toys at the best of times but I have learnt that while young children need a few favourites, what they mostly need and want is spoons from the kitchen to clang around, plastic containers to fill with water, a few pots to pound, and a handful of classic storybooks. But what they really want? People. To watch. To interact with. And with two parents and a brother and sister already obsessed with her, I can already assume she’ll want for absolutely nothing. The only toys in her room are two rattles and a handful of blocks. Honestly, those plastic baby toys that beep and flash? You don’t need them, friends.

Every morning, I take my coffee to her rocker and rock slowly in the quiet, and at night I take my raspberry leaf tea back there and do the same, thinking and dreaming about her, and finding the headspace to welcome her which I’ve been so desperately craving. It’s so sacred – these final weeks of waiting, of being in a baby’s room, looking at the details placed there with love, wondering how it will feel to have their breathy little body finally in your arms.

And for now?

Now, we wait.

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