making space

16 months

New year, new space. I’ve been on a tear since the end of the year to declutter this house. I think part of that stems from having turned over our limited living space nearly entirely to you over the past months. Our living room is more your playroom than our relaxation room, and despite our efforts to creatively adapt the space via bins, baskets and boxes to contain your stuff, it just continues to spread and multiply. I blame your grandparents.

Meanwhile, our half-finished basement continued to sit untouched. The unfinished portion does its job; it’s rough and rugged and dirty and crammed with stuff we need but don’t want to look at. The finished part, however, has been completely underutilized for a long time. It’s been mostly empty as it sits and waits for guests who visit infrequently; it’s got stuff we never use but think we might at some point in the future tucked into drawers and cabinets, and it’s got a beautiful, solid shelving unit that’s been kind of randomly heaped with odds and ends.

But it’s got amazing potential. Especially if it weren’t so–how shall I put it?–pink. It’s the blemish on my nearly perfect house-painting record. (The once bright-yellow basement bathroom gave it a run for its money.) I cringed every time I went down there. And I knew it could never be what I wanted until it got a significant face lift.

So Daddy and I did some planning: We rearranged, bought furniture, made no fewer than four Walmart runs for more bins, replaced and installed outlets and took everything off the walls. And then–during the nearly two weeks I was home from work–I painted it a beautiful, warm beige. You cooperated by giving me lovely, long naps. Nonna and Opa rolled up their sleeves and helped in a huge way. And by the time I went back to work, your new playroom was complete. (Almost. Beebee and Daddy just hung the replacement shade on the 72-inch window this past weekend.) The shelving unit is stacked with perfectly aligned bins full of art supplies, party supplies, baking supplies and dress-up supplies. We hung your framed artwork and a billboard for your works in progress. An old IKEA curtain line that’s hung from the ceiling forever has become a display line for even more of your masterpieces. Daddy and I hung our baby pictures. Your new (to you) train table holds the spot of honor in the middle of it all. And it’s clean and inviting and, for some reason, very, very peaceful. It rivals your room for my favorite spot in the house.

The only issue with it is that it’s the basement, and it’s cold in the winter. Also, it’s a bit of the kitties’ domain; their litter boxes are down there, and I don’t want to take any chances on urinary retribution by moving them. So I think your new playroom will become more greatly utilized as we approach summer; it’ll be more pleasant, temperature-wise, down there, and you’ll be older (and hopefully wise enough to not go playing in or eating the litter).

What a triumph, though. And we did it all while you were sleeping.

You slept a lot during break–even in three- or four-hour chunks, which is pretty amazing. I think we did a good job wearing you out. Every day while we were home, we planned an outing for you in the morning, scheduled so we were home in time for lunch and your afternoon nap. We had 48 fun, festive hours at your Aunt Becky and Uncle Greg’s house in State College for Christmas. You were ecstatic to chase your cousin Livie (you call her “Weevee”) and usurp her toys, which she very graciously allowed you to play with. You made Christmas cookies with Mimi and wrestled with Beebee. When we were home, we took you to the aquarium, to Port Discovery, to the library (a couple of times), to the mall, to the pool and to Rainbow Systems. It was fun (if a bit exhausting) for all of us, and I’m pretty bummed it’s over. I’ll have to wait a whole year to have that time with you again. (God, that’s depressing.)

Now we’re looking forward to what this new year will bring: more growing, tons of discoveries and hours upon hours of playing, hopefully in your new space. Can’t wait!

P.S. The stars look very different today. RIP David Bowie.