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Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Randomest Answer

This morning, the Wolvog asked if he could have a slumber party with Lindsay. "She could sleep in Aunt J's room," the ChickieNob agreed, referring to the room where my best friend sleeps sometimes when in town. This is the room that belongs to the not-yet baby.

When we were trying to conceive the ChickieNob and Wolvog, I kept their intended room as a dumping ground and office. I hated working in there and thinking about how someone else was supposed to be occupying the space but I think it would have been even worse if it had remained empty.

My mother has been nudging me to use the second bedroom more efficiently. Right now, it contains the futon that has become our guest bed (welcome to our house; please enjoy this lumpy mattress reminiscent of your college days), a dresser and armoire, and then junk. Piles and piles of junk. Old toys, old clothes, clothes we don't feel like hanging up, clean unfolded towels, unused pillows, a pack-n-play. Junk. It's the type of room that makes people anxious with the clutter.

But I didn't want to do anything with it because changing it in any way felt like a sign of defeat. If it was being used for some other purpose, it wouldn't be designated for the not-yet baby. And that would be a sign of defeat. This, of course, doesn't make sense since we used the ChickieNob and Wolvog's room at one point as an office. I like to look at the corner that once held my computer and think about the work I completed before they arrived.

In explaining why Lindsay probably wouldn't want to have a sleepover party at our house considering she lives a few miles away, I mentioned that we could do something with that room. Make it into an extension of the Playmobil lands that exist in our basement and living room. It felt right. It felt like we weren't taking anything away. We were simply adding. And when the time came to use that room, the lands would merge and the whole basement would be flooded by little pieces of molded plastic. It would also mean that I could go horizontal while they were making up their stories, lounging on the open futon like a lady of leisure. It would mean that I could clean upstairs while they're awake.

It feels like nothing. It feels like a big step. It feels like I'm welcoming. It feels like I'm shutting a door. It feels like we have had Playmobil now invade every single level of the house. Which makes vacuuming a nightmare when you see those tiny plastic flowers being sucked into the Dyson and you have to stick your hand into a cloud of dust in order to retrieve them.

It is so strange how a room--a space--can take on this greater meaning of intention or welcome or emptiness (even while physically full of crap). What is currently in your not-yet baby's space? What was in that space before your child arrived? Are there rooms in your house that are greater than the sum of its physical parts?

41 comments:

jenn said...

Our not-yet-baby's room is my one time office. It has now morphed into the room that the cat's food & water goes in, the miscellaneous junk room. My office has moved downstairs and I just don't have the courage to do anything to that room. I will occasionally iron a shirt in there, or tidy up this pile of junk, or donate that pile of unused clothes. But it remains fairly untouched. It needs to be painted & it needs a lot of love, but I just can't bring myself to love it as it is. Or as anything but a nursery. I'm a designer- so I have planned this room out countless times as my perfect nursery over the course of a year & a half. Not being able to bring that vision to light means that the room is in limbo. (kind of like we are!)

Carrie said...

Like Jenn my room is also the cat's room! She has her bed in there though she also sleeps other places, and she gets fed in there. Each time I've been pregnant since living here I've wondered how she'll feel if we ever need to rehouse her.

This room is also the only room we haven't painted or changed in any way since moving in. Not even curtains (it had a blind when we moved in, its still there) It would just feel wrong to me.
My husband has no idea I feel that way about a room. He wouldn't approve. I want to change in into a nursery and until then it can stay as it is.

Julia said...

Well, the baby room was Monkey's baby room until she moved into the room that was previously the guest bedroom, and the baby room began its preparations for welcoming her brother. By the time he died, it was painted and only had the dresser/changing table thingy in there plus a thin thing of stand-alone shelves. Over the last fourteen plus months, some of Monkey's toys have started finding their way in there, plus a bit more crap that got expelled from other rooms in the house. There is also a packed-up pack and play in there, from when friends were staying at our house with their baby. If this baby makes it, it won't be too hard to declutter, although I suspect we would have to talk about permanent retirement for some of the toys in there now. I am not even thinking that far ahead, though.

Jen said...

Ah, too scared. In the house we are building, I don't have a baby's room planned, even now. So, I think the baby might live in our closet. (Yeah, I'm aware that I am nuts.)

I am considering getting rid of our queen size guest bed and replacing it with bunk beds. That way, in the guest room, there would be room for you know...that stuff.

But for now, still too scared.

Sassy said...

The foster kids room is as it was when she left last November because it freaks me out too much to go in there and pack up her things. I'm not ready to walk away from her yet even though she's not coming back.

That room would also be the babies room so if we don't move and things go fast... I don't want to even think about it. Maybe the baby could live in our bedroom for awhile. And when they're older they can play in Miss J's room as long as they don't touch any of her special things.

It makes me sick to the stomach just thinking about it. It's time I did though. Maybe next weekend.

In the house we're looking at building we would have two 'spare' bedrooms. In the program we're using to map it out they're both empty. I just don't feel comfortable putting anything in them.

Carrie said...

Our is a guestroom/cat room/storage room as well. I'm actually glad that we have an full size bed and dresser in there... it makes it feel more like a guestroom and I can pretend that that's all it is and that it's completely harmless.

When we first started trying to get pregnant and I started dreaming up ways to decorate it as a nursery, people started giving me baby stuff - a changing table, bouncy seats, clothes, blankets, car seats, etc. Once we started fertility treatments, I could barely stand to even look at that room and kept the door closed and I swear I didn't go in there for months. Eventually we had people coming to stay so I had to clean it up and moved all of the baby stuff up to the attic. That was a very hard day, knowing that piece by piece that I was passing to my husband to store there felt like I was packing away my hope.

I still have hatred towards that room, but now that it's officially set up as a guestroom, it's not quite so hard and I can even leave the door open now.

SarahSews said...

The room that is in the process of becoming the lion cub's room, was for a long time a dumping ground. We bought the house, tore out the carpet, and shoved it full of stuff that had no other home. It stayed that way for a long time, even after other parts of the house were completed. Last year, two solid years into TTC with no luck, we finally tackled it. It was a painful process -- cleaning out the junk, making room for a home office, putting up a bed for guests, making it pretty and functional. I was happy to have another useable room in our house, but oh so sad that it wasn't what we intended it to be.

A year later I am in the process of clearing out all my stuff (fabric and sewing stuff, office supplies, boxes and boxes of photos) to make way for diapers, and onsies, and baby blankets. This time the piles of stuff that need to find another home cause a whole other set of anxieties. But at least when we painted this room I chose the color I would want for the someday nursery. So there is no extra painting to do.

KatieM said...

Since DH and I started trying we have lived in three different places and have had three different "rooms". Every single one of them is a junk room....not even a guest bedroom, just a junk/office (meaning the desktop computer is in there even though we both stay on the laptop). Even now I can't picture anything baby related in that room. When we found out about the twins we started talking about the nursery right away, and when we lost them it was devastating...I hated that room because it represented my lost dreams. Currently it is still a junk room, although DH mentioned something about cleaning out the clutter when the weather warms....

Andria and Co. said...

Before Blake finally made it here, the nursery was an empty room, except for the rocking chair that my mother and grandmother used to rock their babies. I used to go in the empty room, and rock. Sometimes cry. Sometimes vent. Sometimes, to not think at all. To just be. Especially during the surgery/procedures/medications stage. Now, the room is full of toys, and clothes, and a crib. All decorated for baby. But, he sleeps with us, so it's still an unused room.
Before I sucessfully carried that pregnancy, I began to HATE that room though. It was a reminder of the failure of my body.

Rachael said...

Sometimes I physically can't go into my spare room, because I'm so aware of what should be in it. Our laundry basket is in there and sometimes I just stand on the landing and hurl clothes at the basket. We bought this house on the basis that that room would be a gorgeous nursery some day, and when I redecorated it last year it was painful that I wasn't choosing baby decals or just the right shade of lemon.

Just the other day I sat in their stroking the cat, who likes to sleep on the bed in there, and I looked at the space under the window and was sad because I really want that space to be occupied by a crib.

Tash said...

My house this way is haunted. Bella was to move up to the third floor in one room, with her little sister on the other side. The room she was currently in (a very tricked out, huge, beautiful room on the second floor) would be a playroom. As it is, she remained in the big room on the second floor. The third floor rooms are now her playroom (if I ever get around to finishing it) and my husband's office. I keep voting to redo the third floor and take up every available inch with new laundry, new bathroom, one guestroom. Husband keeps saying, "but what if?" IF it happens, someone sleeps on the couch. And I think everyone should be happy about that, and I'm tired of putting my life and house on hold for children that don't come to bear or who die.

But that's just me.

Rachel said...

Our not-yet-baby's room is my craft room/a guest room. I have much of my yarn stash in the dresser that is in their. My old bed from before T & I lived together is in there for guests. My sewing machine is in there, and we have a TV so I can watch baseball or Idol or What Not to Wear while I knit or crochet or sew. We just have random storage in the closet. When we painted the upstairs, we painted that room a generic color that was find for guests, but would also work as a nursery.

Deb said...

Right now it is a junk filled room. There are lots of things hiding in there that I don't want to deal with. My DH wants to make it more of a usable space for us but each time the subject is broached I have an emotional break down. One of these days though we do need to at least tackle part of it in order to get the vents cleaned and replace the windows. Hopefully it can turn into a pleasant space that doesn't haunt me with "what if".

Tink said...

Ours has been my husband's office until a few months ago. He put up some stuff on the walls and called it his man cave, but it has always been the future nursery. We've never painted it in the 3.5 years we have lived here. Within the last month we took in a homeless student, so the office has turned into a room for him until June.

JJ said...

Its my craft room slash dog room slash storage room. We call it "the other room"

Jess said...

mine is just an empty room. When we first moved in to our apartment we put everything in there that we didn't know what else to do with. A couple of months ago my husband decided to clean it out. This was right around the time we went to see the RE for the first time. So now it waits for our first IVF cycle to see what will happen...in the meantime my cats enjoy sleeping in there when the sun shines in through the window!

loribeth said...

The room that was to be the baby's was & remains a spare bedroom. It is very small and holds our old double bed (covered by our old bedspread from when we first got married), & a cheap particleboard night table & chest of drawers that dh had in his student apartment. The bed is covered with junk, the drawers are full of junk and the closet is full of junk, as well as my summer clothes. Whenever my mother comes to stay, I have to temporarily move some clothes out of the closet & down into the basement.

I would like to get some semi-decent furniture & new linens for this room -- make it more inviting & perhaps banish the ghosts of the babies that never were... but it seems like a humungous task, even for such a small room.

AnotherDreamer said...

I normally lurk and read your blog... but since I can totally resonate with this thought, well I figured I would respond.

My not yet room was once sponged pink with little buggy/flowery border (which I did not do, but the previous owner of the house did.) I had never intended leaving the room like that, but I left it like that in the hopes of one day remodeling it for my child. I left the room blank. No furniture, no nothing...
Until I found out I wasn't ovulating. Then I ripped the border down, slathered pain on the walls, and turned it into a small art/office room for myself. As an aspiring writer, with a fondness for photography... well, it worked nice. But... every time I sit in there I remember what it was supposed to be. I remember the dream that got sanctioned off for another day.
Of course, now I dream of turning the guest bedroom into a nursery (It already has a bunk-bed, which was left behind by the previous owner to.) It is a guest room for when my little brother stays the night, but now I dream of it housing my own child. Even trying to repress the dream to a murmur it manages to scream.

LJ said...

*giggle* - I mean, my husband IS going out of town for a week, so I could sleep over one night...

Our would-be-baby's room is a guest room. We've started to make slow changes to it, in terms of getting ready to paint. That's it though. These days it is so far away, that it seems silly to do anything else yet.

DrSpouse said...

Ours was both a sewing/craft room and my office. Then I started freezing because of the draughts through the gap in the window and we needed to get the window replaced - so we also painted it pale green and moved the office stuff out into a small cabinet in the living room. We also put up a giraffe blind and put our joint stuffed toy collection in there, but we have my nieces as an excuse for that.

Lately I've moved all my sewing stuff into the spare room in the attic (which has a double bed) and my knitting stash is still in there, and we added a clothes rail - so it's a knitting stash cum Mr Spouse's dressing room. But if we complete the foster care training it will be foster children's room and he'll have to get dressed in the double guest room.

the Babychaser: said...

Our baby room is a library. When we bought the house, I painted it in a forest-green faux finish, all cross-hatched like tree leaves, figuring that would be nice for the baby's room in a year or two. Then we put up narrow, floor-to-ceiling bookstore-type bookshelves to house all of our novels, added an old lumpy futon and a chair, and let it be our guestroom/library until the baby came.

I can remember a night, almost two years ago to the day, when I was two weeks pregnant and blissfully naive, stopping outside the open door to the library on the way to bed. All of a sudden, in a rush, it hit me. By Christmas there would be a little baby living in that room. I can remember the moment when that image struck, standing there with my mouth hanging open, my hands on top of my head as if to keep it from flying off my shoulders, and my husband coming up behind me and laughing at me. And then we were both half laughing and I was half crying, and I kept saying "holy crap, is this really happening?"

It wasn't. A week later, it was over.

We haven't done anything with the room, or really with the rest of the house, since then. We need to figure out where the bookshelves are going to move to in our tiny house, we need to reorganize our meager closets, his office, our bedroom, all to make room. We need to prepare. But we refuse to do any of these things until we're sure we're having a baby. Even though it needs to get done anyway.

I know this is crazy. If I get pregnant again, we're not going to want to do anything to jinx it until we feel safe. And after three early miscarriages, how long will that take? So I guess I would be VERY pregnant before we start the work. Not a good time to be doing all this work. But we just can't face it. And so it sits.

waitinginline said...

Our not-yet-baby's-room holds a bit of everything. Right now it has our dressers (since we're remodeling the master bedroom and living in the guest bedroom), our guest bed, a desk & chair, the dogs kennels & beds, the cats food & litter box, the dogs food, every piece of linen I own stacked randomly anywhere I can find a place, and various other items that have no other forever place.

But it's already painted for it's hopeful destiny...

Jess said...

Our whole upstairs was undecorated for a long time (ok, not a LONG LONG time since we haven't been married too long and built just before).

When I had my miscarriage in 06, I decorated the two baths up there as a project to keep my mind off things. One "masculine" one and one less masculine and more "feminine" bathroom. The "feminine" one is the one that's more kid friendly and playful, and the one we do baths in right now. Sometimes during the baths I think of painting that room, bleeding. Painting it hoping that we'd be doing baths in it someday.

Then when we started adoption, I did the nursery. Because, well, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.... And now I think of that as the start of our sort-of-being-pregnant with the kids. The anticipation.

We have two more bedrooms upstairs. Unpainted. One has a small antique bed, one just an old mattress. They're the rooms for the kids. One for Ava, one for Ethan.

The nursery now is more than the nursery, too. It's the maybe playroom/maybe next baby's room.

So there's hope. But don't think that almost daily, when I'm carrying a baby up those stairs, I don't think of the years we lived here that we didn't set foot upstairs. Because there was no reason. And now there's reason. And I'm thankful to be climbing those stairs with a sleeping baby in my arms.

JamieD said...

Our intended nursery is just a spare room with a twin bed, a giant book case and a litter box.

Every once in a while I look at the book case and think we might not have to get rid of it. I could put children's books, little picture frames and some of those cute wicker baskets lined with gingham fabric to put stuff in. Then I wonder why I am thinking about it at all.

It is funny to think back about how my biggest worry was moving the cats' litter box. So many things are different now.

Michell said...

I happened to buy my house with its two small bedrooms prior to actually becoming aware of my biological clock ticking loudly. I was still thinking I had plenty of time to think of that "stuff" later so when I bought the house it was going to be my office/craft room. About a week after I moved in I kept hearing something. It took at least another 2 weeks to realize what I was hearing was my biological clock and I maybe didn't have that much time left. Which has since left me feeling as if my house is too small since I have an entire roomfull of things that will have no place should this crazy journey ever work. Granted I may not have time to do crafts anymore so the large craft table etc may be a moot point.

beagle said...

Ours used to be a guest room. Technically it still is, there is a queen bed in there. And piles and piles and piles of "stuff" including a pack and play still in the box, never even opened to see if all the parts are there. There is a basinette minus the fabric covering: a skeleton basinette. There are bins of 0-3 month gender neutral clothes from my kind SIL. All these things we eagerly accepted and brought home "in case we got a fast match." Now that excitment has faded and it kind of hurts to look at that stuff. There are days when I feel hopeful enough, especially since spring has started to show herself, to think of it as a nursery. But, I still can't bring myself to arrange that room into any reasonable state of readiness.

I fear it would tempt the gods, giving them reason, opportunity, to mock me some more.

BethH6703 said...

our "someday baby's room" is currently the cat room/junk room. Litter box, cat's food, vacuum in that closet, and crap crap and more crap. we have boxes in that room that haven't been opened since Grumpy moved into the house.... over 11 years ago.

I got the brilliant idea last year that it was time to clean out, paint, and create a space in that room - guest room meets reading/lounging room. But, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It felt too much like giving up.

It is a bit of a relief to know that so many others feel the same way about "that room" in their own homes.

Tammy's Thought Pattern said...

Our room is a Den/Office. Our last house was set up to become and instant nursery and it became too much to handle emotional.

I have decided that I will not do one new things in that room until after we have a child. I think taking down a room would be worse then rushing to create one.

Amy said...

My DH and I have a 4 bdrm house all to ourselves right now...we made 1 room an offce, 1 a guest room, and then there is "the" one. The room that when we moved in we knew would be our nursery. The room is empty. The blinds drawn. The door closed. We don't go into that room. It's too painful.

andrea_jennine said...

Our not-yet-baby's room exists only in my imagination, since we currently live in a 1-bedroom apartment. No pregnancy = no reason to move out. But if we buy a house with multiple bedrooms, I bet the not-yet-baby room will be either a guest room, an office, or a combination of the two. Or a "man room" to house my husband's guitars and amps and other musical things that are nice to have but not terribly attractive sitting in the corner of our bedroom.

Tara said...

I have tried over and over and over again to make the not-yet baby room into a nice spare room where guests will feel comfortable. However, the bed has become a bed for golf clubs and fishing rods. The closet is bursting full of clothes that I love but are either too big or too small, winter jackets, my wedding dress, lamp shades, old curtains. There is an old computer in the room, an antique peice of furntiture that was my great grandmothers that needs to be refinished. It's a disaster zone.

The door to that room is shut. Always. I don't like going in there, I don't like looking in there.

The mess makes me feel defeated.

PS: You have a Dyson??? How is it? I've wanted one for a long time!

Mrs. Spit said...

Gabriel's nursery was almost set up before he died. Mr. Spit carried everything in it to the basement.

Right now I have some shelves and some grow lights, and I'm starting my bedding plants for the summer. The dog kennel is in there.

I go in to water, don't look around and leave again.

Kim said...

Funny you should write about this at this moment...

It never felt right to call our spare room the "Guest Room" because although it had a bed in there no one ever stayed there and "spare room" didn't quite feel right either. Just a reminder that it wasn't the baby's room. I've always called it the "Other Room" and have posted a few times on how painful that room was, what it stood for. Now that it actually has to become something, it's been a challenge to get it ready. Mentally, it actually meant wrapping my head around the idea that we were finally and really having a baby, which we all know can be tough after dealing with IF. I kept waiting for the floor to drop out under me for months and then I'd have to look at a started nursery.
Finally, after weeks of cleaning the room out (because it did become a dumping ground), construction began this weekend on "The Baby's Room." I still find myself calling it by its first name but I'm breaking the habit - slowly but surely.

Caro said...

Ours just had boxes in it. In fact we stored boxes for a friend in there for several months. We kept talking about making it into a guest room but weren't able to as we knew it was waiting to be the babies room.

Allison said...

I so identify with this post. When we first got married, it was our "office". It had 2 desks, a bookshelf, an old lumpy futon, and my computer. We knew it would be our nursery once we had a child, so we didn't put too much effort into it.

Now it is our "junk room". Anything I don't want to look at goes in there. Stuff to give away, stuff to be filed, the mega amounts of paperback books that DH buys constantly, my baby stuff that my mom gave me before she moved last year. Yeah - THAT helped. Like I want to look at a little painted desk and chair or a bassinet. But at the same time, I couldn't exactly get rid of it. So - it is all in the room that is no-man's land with my grad school computer that might not even work anymore.

Spicy Sister said...

Ours is "the dog room" - it has a futon for the dogs, dog bowls, beds, a dorm-sized fridge, an ironing board, and a closet full of dog food and paraphernalia. It is the roughest looking room in the house. We have talked at length about what we dream it would look like when we have kiddos - but for now, it's the dogs' room.

I actually really admire the hope that people show by "doing up" the nursery - especially in the midst of IF treatments, but I myself cannot do it.

Antigone said...

There's a twin bed and a few boxes of books I've been meaning to do something with. The door is kept shut, ostensibly to keep the dogs out. Now and then I sit on the edge of that twin bed and imagine a nursery.

Bea said...

We could never get that room together. We tried to do the office/guest room thing, but our hearts just weren't in it. It's only now that where we live is starting to take shape and look more homey.

Bea

Andrea said...

Our not-yet-baby room (which was painted the perfect baby yellow by the previous owners) has been intentionally transformed into a guest room. For the first few months we owned the house, before we learned of our fertility issues, the room was intentionally left empty and referred to as the nursery.

For the first few weeks after we met with the fertility specialist I sat in the room and cried. The act of making the room into something usable was very therapeutic for me. Now I can actually go in the room and enjoy the space.

PCOSMama said...

In our old apartment it was the office/dumping ground. Unfortunately, due to lack of space, my daughter had to share her room with the computer desk and a bunch of junk until we moved.
In our new house, she has her very own lovely room. My son's room used to be the guest room/dumping ground. His closet if full of crap that we have nowhere else to put! Though we have since decorated the room very nicely for him, the guest bed is still in there (I use it a lot!).

Aurelia said...

I'm coming back to this after a week of painting and looking for stuff to buy for that room in my house.

We bought this house in 2004, when I was pregnant, and we knew we needed another bedroom, and therefore....it was going to be the designated place. But by the time we took possession of our house, the baby had already died, and the thought of looking into that room, or doing anything non-baby-related, just about killed me.

I stuck the computer in there, and it eventually became my husband's home office, a very very messy office, but it never felt right.

And now, it's repainted and it looks awesome, and I'm buying things to go into it.

And it feels so so good.