A room of her own

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When we moved into our house three years ago, I immediately marked one upstairs bedroom as “the nursery.”

It’s bright and sunny, getting the best light in the house, and also the one closest to our bedroom. I was pregnant by the fall, and the nursery transformed from a Pepto Bismol-pink monstrosity to the pale blue little guy’s room that Oliver enjoys today.

Down the hall was another room: lime-green walls, purple carpet. Dark purple. A third bedroom above the garage was set up for guests while the middle bedroom — now affectionately dubbed “The Hulk Room” — became a storage space. A very cluttered, nonsensical storage space.

When we learned we were expecting our second child, one of my early thoughts — aside from, you know, oh my God — was the need to transform this dumping ground of childhood memorabilia and outgrown baby equipment into a haven for Baby No. 2. Until we learned she is, in fact, a she, we were toying with the expense of replacing the grape purple carpet — but given a little lady is less likely to find it bothersome, we decided to keep it and save the money.

It’s a bold decorating choice, for sure.

“Preparing the nursery” is a rite of passage for expectant parents — even if “the nursery” is nothing more than a corner of their current bedroom or family room. No matter. Babies need love, nourishment and a safe place to sleep. Truth be told, Baby Girl will likely be sleeping in a bassinet in our room for the first six-ish months of her life, just as Oliver did. Still, I feel this pressing weight — this nesting need, I guess — to get her bedroom ready.

valspar-comet-dust-5006-1aSpencer painted the walls last week, instantly transforming the space from eye-assaulting Hulk chic to calm, placid gray. We chose a color called “Comet Dust,” which seemed just right for encouraging this girl to dream big dreams.

I have no problem with pink. I grew up in a bright-pink bedroom with bright pink accessories, bedding and feminine touches, and I think pink is upbeat and fun.

But I wanted something else. Taking the walls down to that subtle gray has completely transformed the space — just as we hoped it would (no carpet replacement necessary). My husband was up late painting, so I didn’t see the final results until the next morning — and in that weak light, standing there before Oliver called out in the room beside this one, I thought, Yes. This will work.

I’ve spent hours browsing for artwork for these fresh, neutral walls. I want to adorn this space with hope and love and optimism, just as I did with Ollie’s. Oliver’s room was completed during the month he spent in the NICU — a welcome distraction and a focus for my anxious energy. But this time? Well, I’ve seen what can happen if you wait too long. I feel better have items checked off the ol’ to-do list as soon as possible.

HomeGoods is a good place to kill time and paychecks, and I ran there last week on a lunch break to “look around.” I was there for a curtain rod, actually, but it’s impossible to leave with just a curtain rod in a place like that.

In the children’s decor section, the blue/pink contrast is stark. Boys’ items on one side; girls’ on the other. For boys, of course, are step stools covered in footballs, “Travel the world!”-style posters, ceramic trains and robots. And for the girls? Ballerinas and princesses, pink fur-lined lamps and handheld mirrors.

To be honest, I was there to inspect a castle. My mom texted me a photo of a canvas print featuring an ornate princess castle the day before, and the bright purple was similar to our carpet color.

I found the castle. It was pretty. And big. Large enough to fill half of one of those blank, blank walls.

But then I saw the map.

I’ve always been fascinated by geography — other places, other cultures, other lives. I won a globe in elementary school and used to spin it as hard as I could, letting my finger fall on some far-flung place I’d then look up in my world atlas. What and who would I find in Korea or Cambodia, Jamaica or Portugal?

Maps hold a strange fascination for me — and this one is bright. Bold. It’s playful and unique — unlike any I’ve seen before.

At $40, it was a little more than what I’d wanted to spend; I’ve been doing pretty well finding items at thrift stores and on clearance at Michael’s. But I fell in love with it. This map spoke to me. I knew that if I left it there, I wouldn’t stop thinking about it until I’d returned . . . and would probably find it gone. So that was it.

I hadn’t bothered to take a cart at HomeGoods, so I shouldered it all the way to check-out: a very pregnant lady on a mission, waddling with the world in her arms.

I don’t know if baby will care about geography, or world history, or physics, or Jane Austen. But I want to believe she and her brother will find more inspiration in a world map than they would in a princess castle.

Dream big, my babies.

Comet Dust, indeed.

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15 thoughts on “A room of her own

  1. Love it! Hope you post pictures. I have 3 girls, 1 boy, and it is indeed one of the girls that wants to “travel the world, and learn multiple languages.” I frequently wonder if it was the influence of an electronic “world” toy that we had when she was little. It would say “hello” and other phrases in various languages from the western hemisphere on one side and do the same for the eastern hemisphere on the other side. That combined with some baby Einstein video that did something similar are the two things that stand out to me and make me wonder, “Is that what caused her to be wired this way?” It’s so much fun to see how some of their interests from a very young age play out into their young adult lives. Enjoy every minute that you can with them! Praying for an on time delivery with zero complications for you this time around!

    • Thank you, Susan! You never know what will make the big connection for kids, I guess, so best to encourage everything, I think. I can’t wait to see if what Oliver loves today has any bearing on what he loves a few years from now. They say that many of us “are who we are,” and I certainly still share many of the interests I did as a kid (reading, namely!). Here’s hoping!

    • Thank you, Anita. ❤ I will be sure to share photos of the finished product! We steam-cleaned the carpets last night, so we're one step closer to moving all the furniture in and really getting going . . .

  2. Comet Dust, how wonderful! Those babies of yours are going to go far, Meg, I know it already. Wonderful post, I loved reading it and looking forward to when you share some snaps too! Sending love from London 🙂 Cat x

  3. As a mom to an almost 3-year-old son, and mama-to-be of a baby girl, I am having a lot of fun decorating the nursery. Our son’s nursery was nature-themed, or woodlands, and, it couldn’t have been more perfect for him. He loves the outdoors and would stay outside all day if we let him. He sings/hums when walking trails in the woods. A few months ago, I gave him the option to select bedding for his new big boy bed, and he selected the animals! So it looks like the theme is here to stay, at least for a little while longer. As for baby girl, I had selected a travel theme and found nursery prints online of different destinations. Still on the hunt for a nice little globe to put on a shelf!

  4. My five year old love princesses, castles, pink, jewellery, reading, science, animals, rocks, dinosaurs, you name it – and I say, why choose? You can have pink and purple palace and everything else because the world is you’re oyster.

    That map is adorable. The purple is perfect. She’s going to love it.

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