With the help of my sister-in-law and a multi-lingual instruction manual, I built a crib this weekend. Some of my friendly readers might point out that I technically assembled a crib from parts manufactured somewhere in the United States. They are correct. Still, I assembled that thing masterfully, and I deserve some credit for not assembling it upside down or accidentally nailing it to a door.
This was the latest of several steps we have taken in creating a fun living space for our little guy. He now has a bed and a dresser. He has some fun clothes, and even a few bath toys. He also has a wall covered with pictures of historic sports figures. We framed the covers of several sports-themed children’s books, and plan on displaying them throughout the room. I am thinking of juxtaposing my face on a few of the athletes, just to boost my self-esteem and subtly convince my child that I’m athletic. My boy needs to see my face at all times, and associate it with awesomeness.
In all seriousness, this process has been much more complicated than expected. I knew that choosing baby room décor was an important part of the nesting process, because someone said it in Juno. However, I never expected this process to become important to me. It never seemed very significant. In fact, when we first started talking about the room, I optimistically figured that my wife would lead the charge. She happens to be more organized, more intelligent, more artistic, and far more proactive than I am. As facets of the room were discussed, however, I found that I had opinions. Strong ones. I suddenly overthought every aspect of the room, and began to question the messages being sent by whatever was being displayed on the walls. I questioned the sports pictures, the colors, and even the giant portraits of my bearded face that I wanted to display above his crib. Questions abounded. Am I accidentally conveying something about gender or ethnicity by choosing some pictures or colors over others? Am I forcing my child to like sports? Is my beard really that awesome?
I spoke with a dear friend who happens to share most of my views on life, and I informed him of my concerns. I was both surprised and comforted to hear him suggest that my worries were absurd. The walls won’t matter. My kid will receive so much love at every moment of every day, and no faulty room display will detract from that message. My child will learn to love and value all others because he will see that behavior modeled by his parents. The walls won’t matter. The pictures of Jackie Robinson and World War II era female ballplayers certainly will not hurt, but my son will hopefully get the message regardless.