Most families like to finish the nursery before the baby comes. Most expectant moms are picking out themes, furniture and decorations for the nursery, so it’s just right for the arrival of their new baby. We have never managed to do this for any of our babies. Buying and living in a house that we are fixing up has meant that instead of decorating rooms, we are building them; instead of hanging the perfect pictures on the wall, we are nailing drywall to the studs.
Ideally, this would have happened long enough before kids to have been able to have a Pinterest board for nursery ideas, but our timeline has always been a couple of years too late. So, instead of working on a nursery, we work on the bedrooms that our babies will eventually grow into.
With my first daughter, we were building out the attic that would eventually be our bedroom, with a nook of a nursery off to the side. Halfway through her first year, we moved up there, and I made an attempt to decorate her little nursery space. I made a mobile, painted the crib and hung some pictures. Sure, it was maybe too little, too late, but it felt purposefully for her.
When we were expecting our second child, we were working on the room that the oldest would move into as a big kid room. She got to help paint the walls and sand the cabinets, and I’m hopeful that she will look back on her participation with fondness. The room was more or less ready at about the same time that her sister was born.
The oldest got the new room, and the new baby got the same mobile, same painted crib and same pictures that were there for her sister. I really truly thought that at the very least I would make a new mobile for my second child, and I was even working on it when I was in labor with her. That was the last time I picked it up to work on though, and she went without her own nursery identity.
This time around, I didn’t pretend to think I would make anything or change anything about the little nursery space. Roland has a little bassinet beside our bed where he will sleep until he outgrows it. Then, he will move to the little makeshift nursery room with the same mobile, same painted crib and same pictures that were placed there 5 years ago. He will stay there until he outgrows his crib.
By then, he will be able to have a room of his own, a room with beautifully built-in cabinets made by his dad with the help of his sisters. In the end, not having any real nursery has worked out just fine. It has helped us be really minimal with the baby stuff that we have, and I’d like to think that the house that we get to build together as a family is going to be more memorable than the nursery I had hoped to decorate before the kids were born.