Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Ben's Nursery - 1 Year Later

It's been a little over a year since we finished the Bambino's nursery (yup, we were the parents that didn't get everything in place until after the baby was born) and I thought that I'd go back and show you what has changed and what has stayed the same, now that we've lived with the room for 365+ days. 

Also, how we're anticipating it to change, given the ever-evolving needs of a toddler. 

So, a quick overview:

The major pieces of furniture (dresser, bench seat, chair, and crib) are all in their original locations. Frankly, there aren't many arrangements we could do, given the constraints of the room, window, and door locations. 

The ottoman floats around the room but typically ends up in front of the chair in the evening as that's where we nurse and read our bedtime books. 

Other things that have remained the same:

The pull-out bins beneath the bench. 

 I love these bins. The ones closest to the chair contain bedtime books. There are a few in the middle with toys and others that hold shoes and hats. 

I like the bins for two reasons:

1: Ben can easily access the contents. This kid likes nothing better than to pull out a basket and then subsequently throw the contents 'round the room. 

2: Cleanup. It's quick and easy. I can bring the basket with me as I stuff things back into it and then shove the whole package onto its place on the shelf. Simple.

The changing center:

We didn't opt for a special baby-changing table, instead we plunked the pad down on top of the dresser. We filled the top drawers with  a) diapers, wipes, ointment b) all-purpose wash cloths, and kept the trash (c) in the nearby closet. We gave up on the changing pad covers and simply use an old baby blanket (of which we have tons). We replace them as needed, usually every other day or so. It makes for easy cleaning and you don't have to worry about running out of covers (I only had two and they both seemed to be perpetually in the wash). Keeping a washcloth in the diaper changing 'zone' makes for even fewer messes. 

If we're being really honest though, these days the pad spends most of its day on the floor - ever since Ben became a diaper-changing wiggle worm, we've preferred the relative safety of the lower elevations.

One thing that we don't have is a diaper genie. Ben's dirty diapers go into a bag-lined 5-gallon bucket (the bright orange ones from Home Depot. yup. classy). It gets taken out on a weekly basis but I'll admit that I occasionally wish for something (like the genie) that kept things a little less odorous. This happens about once a week: "Holy moly, time to take out the trash!" You know how that goes. 

Another thing that has stayed the same: 

The Sheepskin

We love this thing. When Ben was very little, it was great for tummy time and now we use it primarily as a comfy spot to get him dressed. He also just likes to lay on it. Be sure to get one that can be machine washed and dry it flat (or be like us and have curled edges - boo). 

A few new additions since the original post:

Black-out curtains

A must for our baby. The fabric was fairly inexpensive and I simply cut it to the size of our original curtains and attached it at the rod. Easy and cheap.


 These are on the outside of the closet and we usually hang Ben's sleepsack and pjs from them. The inside also has a few hooks - perfect for the assortment of coats, sweatshirts, and sweaters that babies frequently require during the day. 


Ben has really started playing with his stuffed animals. That is Monkey and Wally there on the bench. Monkey is really a gorilla. Monkey has been Monkey for 31 years though (she was my childhood toy) and I'm not about to change her name. Yesterday Ben was either kissing or biting her (couldn't tell from the monitor). And then he heaved her over the crib rail and onto the floor. Being a baby's stuffed animal is no easy job.

Here is the collection of slightly less hug-able toys that resides on the dresser. 

We also have a bit of new artwork:

Those circular things are made of paper and glue - and then spray-painted silver. They were cheap and easy to make. 

The black framed item is a personalized cross stitch piece from a friend of Chris' mom. I'll put a close-up picture up someday as it's beautiful. I love it.

The Un-Glamorous Workhorses of the Nursery

Space Heater. 

Yeah, I know, a space heater in a child's room. Definitely not doctor recommended. But given the wild fluctuations of temperature in our house during the winter, this was a necessity. Used primarily at night, it's an oil-filled version that doesn't get hot to the touch and shuts off if tipped over. 

Ben is in his crib at night so he can't mess with it, either. We'll have to re-evaluate when he moves into a big bed.

Fortunately it hasn't been a problem during the day, either. Warm to the touch, it's given us lots of time to practice "oohh, that's hot. HOT". And somehow we're not surprised its was his first word. 

 The heater is plugged into this nifty device, which is basically a thermometer outlet. When the room temp goes below our pre-programed number, it kicks the heater on for a few minutes. It was so nice to not worry about our newborn's room temp at night - especially as he was born in the middle of winter into a drafty old house. 

The safety Camera. 

It's an eyesore for sure but I LOVE THIS THING. I can check it from the desktop computer, the ipad, and my iphone. This is a proper security camera, and unlike the 'baby cams' you don't need to haul around a separate receiver - just pull out your phone. It also has infrared so I can check it in the middle of the night. Ben is a bit fussy 'round naptime and I can take a peek to see if he's really ready to be up and come downstairs or if he's still working up to waking up. It's seriously awesome. 

And last but not least: 

My Nursing Setup

We have slowly started to cut back on nursing these last few months - we're down to two a day: when Ben wakes up and at bedtime. Consequently, I suspect a few of these items will see a bit less use in the coming months and years. 

It is so important for me to have a nursing routine in place, especially at bedtime. These days it looks something like this:

Chris and I get Ben ready for bed: new diaper, jammies, teeth brushed

Then I sit in the rocker (a), tuck a lap blanket (b) around me, get my boppy out (c), turn on the ipad (d), and put my feet up on the ottoman (e). Chris, meanwhile, cleans up, kisses Ben goodnight, lays out that night's sleep sack, and turns down the lights. 

Then I nurse the baby, we read a few stories, and then he gets popped into bed. 

I'm sure everybody has a different routine but it works for us.

As for changes to the nursery in the coming year, I don't foresee a lot happening. We're pretty happy with the current setup. We might need to add safety bars on the window. I'd like to have an escape ladder that hooks over the window sill. 

When we do upgrade to a 'big kid' bed, we'll have to think about new heating options. But that probably won't happen for a while. 

We don't use the bench seat much and were I to do it again, I probably would have skipped that feature. But a bookcase of some kind is essential and I anticipate that we'll move his shoes/hats/bibs from the two bins that they currently occupy and replace them with books and toys, as he accumulates more stuff. 

So there you have it, Peeps. The updated nursery.