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Baby Proofing

Realistically, we have about a year before we have to seriously baby-proof the house. But next Saturday we’re doing the big move to make space for the upcoming baby, and it’s gotten me thinking about creative ways to organize. Because stapling the baby to the ceiling isn’t an option. (I’m pretty sure we’d get in trouble for that.)

When contemplating our two-bedroom Park Slope apartment, I keep coming back to the fact that we set it up for our own use two years ago when we moved in together. We have one bedroom as our office, and the master bedroom as the master bedroom. We didn’t really set it up with the idea that we would have a child in the future. So that staple gun looks pretty good, because no matter how I add it up, we’re going to have to lose furniture somewhere. We’re going to merge the office and our bedroom and give the baby the master bedroom, with various parent-oriented furniture surrounding the crib, so that the baby feels secure with our stuff near it. Or, really, because we don’t have any other place to put it. If we kept all the furniture, Ronan could build himself a really nice fort. Or we could build a pedestal for the crib so we could climb up like Ronan was on top of a mountain.

We have a nice apartment. It’s not large enough for my parents, who live in a five-bedroom house by themselves, but it’s nice for us. And with Park Slope real estate costing more than the GNP of small nations, it’s going to be our home until the depression comes or the kid is large enough to start tantrums demanding his own room, whichever comes first.

When we moved in together, I left a lot of furniture in my old place and just brought a desk and a chair and an exercise bike. We bought a buncha furniture from Ikea and Terry had some really nice furniture from places that don’t kill centuries-old trees to make stuff. We have a really nice apartment set up for two people. Unlike me, Terry actually has furniture that matches the décor of the room.

Which is great but all pointless, because we either have to staple the baby to the ceiling or get rid of furniture. (I contemplated stapling the furniture to the ceiling, but the calculations show the staples won’t hold.)

Our plan for determining what to get rid of has consisted of lounging around on the futon and repeatedly saying “We have to get rid of stuff.” This went on for about six months, and then we decided we could wait because the baby wasn’t due yet. So we continued to ignore the problem.

Now, Ronan is due in about a month, and we can’t ignore the space problem any longer. Terry began by dispensing with her vinyl record collection. Terry didn’t have a large vinyl collection, but she did have a really, really good vinyl collection. So that was had to see, because she gave away so many really cool records. She’s also decided on giving away her stereo system, since I have one also in the living room. Plus I have to get busy putting her various possessions up for sale on ebay.

This, of course, sucks. Because now I have to step up and start getting rid of my stuff. I have to come forward and part with my books and DVDs and T-shirts and clear out room on the shelves to store baby stuff.

This leads me to wonder: What did my parents give up when I was born? What did they throw out or give away or sacrifice that I didn’t even know about? The answer? Not much. Mom and Dad lived in a rented furnished apartment and couldn’t throw out the furniture, and then they moved in with my grandmother shortly after I was born, and she had more space and a basement. So they were able to keep everything.

We don’t have a basement and Mom and Dad are too far away to move in with, so we have to cut down on our possessions. Ronan will probably never know (at least until he’s old enough to read this blog) how much we had to move around to make space for him. Perhaps this fact will make up for the fact that his bedroom will be the space under the bathroom sink unless we move to a bigger apartment.

We have to be tolerant and creative. I’m a night owl, so having my work computer next to my sleeping wife who wakes up if I stare at her too long is kinda scary, because right now the computer is in the other room and the fans still keep her up. Plus I have to get my office chair oiled so that doesn’t squeak and wake her up. All my mementos – the photos, the candles, the toys, things people gave me as a gift – are going in a box in my closet. The space will be used to store baby stuff.

One of my many cherished myths about parenting was that parents who felt like they were losing their identities when the child came must be nuts or lack self-confidence. I don’t feel like Ronan is taking over our lives, but now I can see how parents could feel like that. Right now, since we just had a baby shower (thanks, everyone!) and we haven’t reorganized the apartment, I sleep surrounded by baby clothes, accessories, toys, and boxes containing clothes, accessories and toys. It’s the physical evidence of the transformation in our lives. I think it’s pretty cool, but I’m already tired just looking at all of it.

We’ve got to find a place for it somewhere. Perhaps I can throw out my taxes? Are they important?


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 21, 2007 2:02 PM.

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