My son is home for the much-awaited holidays and I am a little shocked to realize that two weeks have whizzed by in a flurry of activity catching up on various things. Of course I had been happily planning away, determined to have a good time together while also getting things done around the house.
We’ve been enjoying ourselves reminiscing – simply because memories are a solid part of our lives.
One of the things I’ve selfishly listed on my to-do list is to, as usual, declutter – from the point of view of gifting away things my son no longer needs. Interestingly, he’s not a hoarder like me. Is not attached to things, for which I am supremely grateful! And so, my camera is having a busy time clicking away, so that I can digitally store memories rather than have the things occupy space.
We’ve been delving into trunks full of toys, books and all the other knick-knacks that find their way home and settle down comfortably.
As we collected these in cartons to give away, I couldn’t help going back in time to the point where we had just moved into this apartment. After weighing the pros and cons, we had finally decided to buy a three-bedroom apartment, imagining that we’d need the space. We constantly had guests, too. So we set about arranging one bedroom for my Mom, one for my son and one for ourselves. Those days, we were on a thrift drive after investing in the house and didn’t have enough cash to spare to have the house painted. So we decided to do it ourselves.
Creating a nursery for my then one-year-old son was so exciting. We freaked out trying to settle down on a color for the walls. Mom said yellow, and son said strawberry pink. I was keen on a shade of peach and white. Of course we went with strawberry pink and I must admit it actually looked alright.
A freshly painted room is a great canvas to work with, and we had a field time decorating on a dime, keen on upcycling rather than running out and buying stuff.
Here’s what we did:
- We had a pretty white cane bassinet on a stand and this went in a corner to hold my son’s toys. Easy to corral stuff into it, we thought.
- A few trunks went along the wall to create low seating. We made a thick quilt with some of the sarees and bedsheets we could spare and this cheerfully cushioned the surface.
- The walls already had a built in wardrobe with some open shelves next to it. We removed the open shelves and placed another cupboard there – a metal one to store his clothes. The doors were ideal for magnetic stickers.
- A mobile that I had made when my son was an infant, his favorite, hung from a hook on the ceiling.
- We had a solid bunk bed that added to the comfort – with the top bed making a convenient place to store toys. Later we separated the beds as my son was constantly playing jungle jim on it and believed he could jump from the top bed. Heh. Better safe than sorry, and so we removed the top floor!
- We placed a slim bookshelf along another wall – because we knew we had a bookworm on our hands. Anyway, we firmly believe books make for great décor, and now, he does too, as evidenced from his rapidly growing library.
- As for artwork, my son was constantly producing them and we put them up on the door to make a colorful collage that was ever-changing and quite a delight to see. Of course he also painted on the walls, but hey, that’s what childhood is for! We could always repaint later, eh?
- During summer, I remember my son desperately wanted a tent in his room. We were a little stymied – but then you know how brilliant ideas strike! Down came our mosquito net from the trunk in the attic! I put that up – and he was thrilled! So it was a rectangular tent, but that didn’t bother him! He was happy that it was an enclosure and had a flap he could use as a doorway. From our point of view, it was airy and ventilated thanks to the net.
- He had soft toys as friends to play with and this added another colorful element to the room, along with fruit/animal/flower charts along one wall. I also remember getting a bunch of glow in the dark stencilled cut-outs – he would get very excited after the lights were off, to see the moon and stars glowing! I still have the ones he stuck in our bedroom!
Oh, what fun it is to recall!
Some of the things we took care to do were:
- We were keen on keeping my son organized, so ensured that most things were accessible to him, at his height. This meant he would be able to put his toys away in the places designated for them. Nothing complicated – we had the bassinet, and two plastic buckets into which he could put his stuff and close. Later we added baskets.
- He loved to draw, so we had a little desk that doubled up as an easel, with a black board and a whiteboard. Ah, I still have it! When he started school, he’d keep his backpack there.
- Good lighting. We chose the brightest room in the house and also made sure there was good lighting after sunset.
- We chose vinyl sheeting for the floor since it can get cold in winter. The surface is also easy to clean with soap and water.
- We made sure there was nothing around to hurt him – sharp edges and other stuff he could get curious about. Oh, he was very curious indeed!
- Kept it easy to clean – because hey, spills happen and can’t be ignored.
- Had space so we could add stuff. No point filling up a child’s room without space for their own additions!
Today, there is no dearth of ideas online for nursery/kids room ideas, but back then, there was no internet and we simply got creative.
As he grew up, his baby stuff slowly got replaced with other things to keep pace with him.
Going down memory lane and regaling my son with stories of those days was so much fun. We had a good laugh as we packed things to give away. I confess I did keep a couple of things… maybe I just need a little longer to let go. But I am also glad my son is level headed enough to think that another child can enjoy his stuff!
He is somewhat of a minimalist, living on campus in a different city and I admire him for it. In the meantime, I continue to ogle at pretty kids’ rooms. Look at these!
Kind of cute, eh?