These four walls

We currently live in a one-bedroom apartment. That means that, provided we still
live here in November, our baby will not have a nursery—he’ll just have half
of our bedroom. That’s going to be difficult, but what makes me really sad about
the situation is that my wife doesn’t have a room to decorate for dear little
Tater. (For those of you just joining us, be sure to read the
explanation for
our
baby’s nickname
.)
It would do my heart good to see her and, of course, help her lovingly choose
fabrics and colors for the bedding and the walls, but I’m thinking that maybe
it’s a good thing decoration isn’t an issue.

We argued more about the planning of our wedding than any other topic in our
entire marriage. I can only imagine the disagreements we would have about the
decorative atmosphere in our baby’s bedroom. First of all, I would insist on
something a little different. Everyone has teddy bears and toy cars. There’s
nothing wrong with either of them except that they’re a little overdone. Christians
tend toward Noah’s ark and the Garden of Eden because they have cute little
animals, though I think that neither global destruction resulting from God’s
wrath nor a scene necessitating strategically placed leaves are appropriate
for a youngster. So I came up with the perfect solution: robots. Boys love
mechanical things, and robots fuel the imagination. I mentioned this idea to
Mrs. Happy a couple of weeks ago. Since the point is effectively moot, she
didn’t offer an opinion one way or the other. But earlier this week, she just
couldn’t hold it in any longer:

Her: I don’t think I like your robots idea for the nursery.
Me: Why not?
Her: Robots are cold and lifeless.
Me: No. You’re thinking of the psychotic evil robots. We’d
focus on the benevolent robots who protect our planet and the universe from
superhuman villains and other destructive forces.
Her: (pauses, staring at the ground) You’re going to turn
him into a nerd, aren’t you?

In the end, I guess the baby doesn’t care what we put on his walls, if he
has walls. Just give him bright colors and a soft blanket and he’ll be fine.

16 thoughts on “These four walls

  1. This is hilarious! Yay the nerds. There are too many ill-adjusted teddy bear-hugging, puppy dog-schmoozing kids around already — and where have they got us? Maybe it IS time for the nerds to have a shot.

  2. That is great. Your wife should be happy that your son has a fighting chance, being as only one of you is a nerd. I know many couples where both are nerds (my husband and I included). In particular, two couples who are already buying their unborn children Star Wars paraphenalia.

    Also, I know 6 couples who are going to have a baby or already had one this year, and all were boys. Is this the year of the males or what?

  3. We are *purposely* decorating our two older boys’ room Geekily. That is literally our theme: space shuttle pictures, the original Apollo moon-landing astronauts portraits, Wallace and Gromit, etc…if it’s geeky, it is going in their room. Their comforters have moons and stars. Their Jr. Scientist kit is in plain view. Their room will rock when it is done (we just moved).

    Geek is Chic.

  4. Curt,
    As an artist who can see the merit and skill of your wife’s work I’ll say this–submit to her decorative sense. I know this guy named Nick that would DEFINITELY like robots on his room walls. He’s like thirty. Do you want your Tater Head to have be Nick-named?

  5. When our baby comes in February, he/she is going to have slightly less than half of our bedroom (we also live in a 1-bedroom apartment, and plan to continue to do so for a while). For my part, I’ve been very glad that I don’t have to concern myself with the decoration of a nursery. My husband and I wouldn’t disagree so much about how the decorating should go, as whether the decorating should happen at all (he’s quite the frugal minimalist when it comes to things like this). As it is, it’s not even an option, so that’s one argument I don’t have to worry about for a while. :-) Besides, we aren’t planning to find out the sex until the child is born, so gender-specific decorating wouldn’t work for us anyway. It occurs to me, though, that a space theme is nicely non-gender-specific, and it’s actually something I think my husband and I might agree on. All Hail the Geeks!

  6. The important thing is that your wife loves you and she will love your baby too, even if you turn him into a nerd. Because nerds are lovable. And nicer than the average male.

    We always had a baby in our room, for about 7 years. It’s nice, I think. Babies love to look at your face more than anything else. I always wished I could hang a picture of Jesus with the little children over our crib, but I never found one. I was even willing to buy a Bible story book and rip out the page with this picture on it, but I couldn’t even find what I wanted in that form; everything had too much text around it. Good luck.

    And about planning weddings–it’s for the birds. More trouble arises from that than any other part of marriage, as far as I can tell. I think we’ve got it all wrong. The bride and groom should use their money to go on a fantastic honeymoon after a very small and simple ceremony. Then their family and friends should get together and put on a big party to greet them when they get home. Doesn’t that just sound so much better?

  7. I think I have the perfect solution. Use the tried and true cowboys and horses theme. Buy him a hunting rifle and fishing pole. Make sure he gets plenty of Grandaddy’s Barbeque. That way everybody will be happy. Maybe he could change his nickname to BUBBA TATER.

    A bit of advice I think you have forgotten. If MAMMA ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. There are some decisions that are more appropriately handled by her.

  8. I have to say your dad is right about deferring to Mrs. Happy, although I can’t help wondering if it IS possible to turn someone into a nerd.

    My parents never did anything to encourage me to watch cartoons or play with action figures or video games or read comics. My dad was anything but a nerd–at one point before I was born, he even had his own baseball team. Growing up I’d get sports memorabilia and apparently my aunts used to look at me when I was a baby and say I’d become a quarterback someday. I still have a “GIANTS” banner on my wall that my folks gave me out of obligation/nostalgia, but really I’ve never followed OR been interested in sports.

    The kids who appealed to me when I went to school talked about cartoons and were good at art, and their interests appealed to me and became my own. Even BEFORE I had peers I knew what I liked. My mom used to limit me to benign nonviolent PBS shows but when she was out of the room, I’d sneak a peek at Captain America, Thor, and other Marvel animated shows.

    Kids rebel a bit, too, in trying to find their own identity. Putting something you like in his room might not necessarily make it HIS interest, and in fact there’s a chance he’ll develop an aversion to it. I have a strong feeling that if I ever have kids, they’re going to be jocks no matter how many comic books or brass instruments I give them.

    You still prefer “tater” over “mookie”, eh? ;-)

  9. Oh yeah!
    “Make-a-nerd”, the new child-rearing kit from Ronco!
    I’m totally trying to turn my 5 year old son into a nerd.
    “See Alexander: This is Darth Vader. He’s a bad guy. This is R2-D2, he’s really the hero of the Star Wars saga. And these are Transformers.”
    He already has Star Wars toys, and a couple of playskool Transformers, and he likes Spiderman and Batman (even though I never let him watch the shows or movies).

  10. Interesting (and funny) post! I had the same problem when my daughter was born nearly three years ago. We lived in a one-bedroom apartment, and she shared our room until we purchased a house about a year later. When it was time to decorate, it was nice to already have a sense of what she liked. So…being the nature-loving girl that she is, she got a room full of flowers, butterflies, ladybugs and bees painted in her favorite color (purple)! I highly recommend the bug-theme! Although, it might turn Tater into a mad-scientist! If you do wait to decorate, you’ll have the advantage of already knowing what makes the little guy tick. Now…since I only have two bedrooms, I now have the same problem again. My four-month-old son is in our room, and probably will be for awhile. (Which I am happy about, there is something very comforting about waking up in the night and being able to hear your baby breathing a few feet away). Who knows what he will like when he finally gets a room of his own??? When babies are very little, the decorations are just for the parents anyway.

  11. I find it refreshing that we live in a place where people don’t really consider giving a baby his own room. I loved it that there was no social pressure to have a nursury with all the right things. Of course we got lots of pressure about other things, like making sure the baby wore socks at all times and that I didn’t stub my big toe. Hmm, a foot trend. Anyway, we love having our baby in the room with us and can’t imagine her being anywhere else. Our son was with us for a long time, until we started moving his portable crib into the living room at night (with him already sleeping in it) so we could have the room to ourselves.

  12. yeah, I wouldn’t worry too much about the fact that Tater will be with your for awhile. In fact, it may make it easier in the beginning. Both of our children had no ‘nursery’ in the beginning. Neither did the ‘sons of the pioneers’ who were my ancestors. Communal rooms, you know. You’ll figure it out. love always does.

  13. Paula – you just bought tears to my eyes – Our son is due in May and he will be sharing out bedroom with us once he is born, we also live in a 1 bedroom apartment in NY and worry how we are ever going to afford a house on LI….I was sitting last night on our bed wondering how were are all going to fit – but you are right – we will figure it out – we have enough love and I guess love really does make everything fit perfectly in the end….
    thank you all for your inspirations

  14. Planning for a baby is great fun and I think like all the discssion on superficial things that goes into a wedding the planning for things like colors and wall hangings for a baby serve the same purpose. They are rights of passage, transitional into a new phase of life. When my husband and I married we had the most amazing wedding planned, it really would have been the social event of the year for those that attended, but life and finances interfered and we had the wedding that I never dreamed about that surpased all my expectations. So don’t worry about what you don’t have or can’t do, things will work out. You are on a wonderful journey to parenthood and once you tater is born, that is where all your attention will be!