Thursday, March 1, 2012

Writing on the walls

This past weekend the whole family went to the hardware store to pick out a new light fixture for the entryway; the old lighting had been slightly damaged by our lavatory deluge and wasn’t terribly attractive to begin with. In addition to selecting the new fixture, my wife perused the paint samples and identified a few possibilities for the front room (which blends into the entryway and therefore needs some follow-up work) as well as our master bedroom (which doesn’t have recent necessary cause to be repainted, but we haven’t been crazy about the colors on the walls since we moved in).

Those two repainting projects, plus the ceilings of those rooms/areas and some other incidental ceiling clean-up elsewhere in the house, are more than enough to keep me occupied for an almost indefinite number of rainy days, but I seem unable to help myself from thinking about what would be next on down the road after that. Which is probably the little guy’s room.

Right now the little guy sleeps in a blandly beige box, which is offset somewhat by some IKEA children’s furniture in two very bright shades of blue, a toddler bed cast in red and yet a third shade of blue, and a painting by his uncle of a dragon (which, oddly enough, is blue and beige). The little guy has no trouble identifying blue as his favorite color, and we’ve asked him previously if he would like to paint his room blue and gotten some enthusiastic agreement - technically I think he was agreeing that he would like us to paint his room blue, not that he really wants to slop on the interior latex semigloss himself, but then again maybe by the time I get around to his room he’ll actively want that and trusting him with a loaded paint roller won’t seem totally insane.

I know this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of intersibling parity and whatnot, but we should be able to get away with leaving the little girl’s room as it is for a while yet. Each of our children got their nursery freshly painted before they were born, it’s just that the little guy’s nursery was in the old house. So technically the little guy is due for new bedroom paint in the new house, which his sister has already gotten. She also doesn’t care too much about interior design yet, and when she finally does it’s entirely possible she won’t find the subtle pink on her walls too objectionable. Here’s hoping, anyway, that she doesn’t hit her obligatory gothed-out let’s-negotiate-how-many-walls-of-the-room-I-can-paint-black phase until she’s, oh, eight or nine.

They're so cute when they're angsty.
Of course the little girl’s room does need a slight amount of d├ęcor adjusting involving actual hardware because we recently had to reorient her crib, turning it 90 degrees so that it was no longer flush up against the power outlets on one wall. Said outlets obviously have had babyproofing plug-covers in them since day one, but it’s better still not to tempt fate with opportunities to put the lie to “babyproof”, if for example the little girl were to wake up and start playing with the plug covers unbeknownst to us. (Have I mentioned the ridiculous finger strength the baby has already evinced? Because it is pretty remarkable.) The point being that now, with the crib in a different spot, the blossoms-n-dragonflies blanket hanging on the wall is no longer properly centered over the crib. So at some point I'll need to move the wall mountings and re-hang the blanket. Hopefully before she's eight.

These are all just tiny random tidbits in and of themselves but cumulatively they all point out the inescapable truth: both of our kids are getting bigger every day, and not just sturdier (and harder to pick up) but less like babies and more like children. In addition to a re-colored room we’ve also promised the little guy a grown-up-sized regular bed sooner rather than later, and not too long after that the little girl will be outgrowing her crib, not to mention walking and talking (and doubtless expressing opinions contrary to, and running in the opposite direction as, her brother, which should be all kinds of fun). That’s the way it goes, ideally: life is growth. It’s a little tricky navigating the mental and emotional challenges of realizing that before we know it, the kids’ bedrooms – the major reason we bought a bigger house! – will no longer be part of the overall homestead aesthetic management that my wife and I preside over; they’ll be the children’s personal space and refuge, and if they want to hang up art projects from school or posters from Hot Topic or create blacklight monster truck and/or unicorn murals on them, so be it.

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