No matter how much we tried to keep the baby (both existing and impending) from taking over our home, the stuff slowly crept in. All attempts at containment failed, and every surface of our apartment was covered in pacifiers, milk rings, and petrified Cheerios. After reaching into my drawer and accidentally using diaper cream as sunscreen, I realized something had to give: we needed to create a baby nursery. A real one, not just a sock drawer decorated with Elmo stickers.
Function: A new baby is moving in permanently. The hard part is letting go of that extra room, which has been the guest room/ library/ studio/ farting space for so long. Our bookshelves slowly got taken over: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Of Mice and Men, and The Sun Also Rises were replaced by 10 Minutes til Bedtime, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and Goodnight, Moon. It was time to officially move our books out. And while the baby could ensure the legacy of the farting space, my art supplies would all warrant a call to Poison Control if swallowed. Out, out, out. And perhaps we should buy a crib.
Décor: We have a daughter, with another baby girl on the way. It seems easy enough to trick out the nursery in enough princess and unicorn decals to make our daughters puke glitter. Despite this fact, we opted for a more neutral look, mainly because we are lazy, and didn’t want to buy a lot of Disney crap. We decided that the room should be yellow (because the room was already yellow). We decided there should be blinds on the windows (because there were already blinds on the windows). And we decided to keep the beige carpeting, partly because it was already there, and partly because beige can hide a majority of baby body fluid stains.
Theme: Friends keep asking what our nursery “theme” is, as if a nursery is a miniature bar mitzvah. My husband and I brainstormed and rejected several unsuitable themes. He nixed my “Dead Presidents” theme (I realllllly wanted to include Abe Lincoln Logs, a Martin Van Bureau, and James Polk-a dots). I nixed his idea to cover the walls with comic book characters. And we both agreed that “Spiders of the Australian Outback” would only lead to night terrors. So we hung up a “Winnie the Pooh” picture, making our nursery theme “Pictures We Already Owned.”
Safety: There are the obvious safety measures, like bolting down furniture so our kid won’t tip it over when she tries to climb it (and burglars can’t make off with our fancy IKEA bookcases). We put bars on windows and tied up blind cords so the baby wouldn’t be tempted to escape by seeing the outside world. We plugged up our outlets with plastic covers that we haven’t been able to remove for almost two years. For even more security, we installed a “BabyCam” on the wall to monitor the baby while she sleeps. This is both a lot less creepy, and a whole lot more boring than it sounds. While the BabyCam has never shown us anything as dramatic as the baby trying to “Great Escape” out of the crib, it has occasionally helped us stop her before she finger-painted with her own feces.
Storage: Babies have a lot of stuff. The secret is to find dual uses for the storage contraptions. It’s not just a dresser; it’s a changing table. It’s not just a toy bin; it’s a bench you can nap on while watching your baby play with a spoon for 45 minutes. It’s not just a Diaper Genie; it’s the first place you look when your car keys go missing.
And of course, the most important rule of creating a nursery: no clowns.