Breaking my prebaby rules

By Published On: September 3rd, 2014

You know how some people fervently swear that whenever they […]

You know how some people fervently swear that whenever they have kids, they’ll never do certain quintessentially parent-ish things? They’ll never go in public with a screaming baby, they’ll never drive a minivan, or they’ll never, ever leave the house with spit-up or fecal matter on their shirts … Well, I have just one thing to say to all that: Have fun on house arrest, suckas!!McKinley_Exersaucer_9-3-14_2
I kid, I kid. I’ve made more than a few of these bold promises myself. And while I think it’s totally possible to maintain your sense of self with kiddos, I’m also learning it’s rather impossible not to bend a little on some of these self-imposed rules.
This week I got served a big steaming slice of humble pie. You see, I am one of those people who vowed (loudly and in public) I’d never fill our house with ugly, plastic-y kid clutter. You know what I’m talking about—those big, primary-colored atrocities that clash with everything that’s lovely in the world but thrill kids to pieces.
Why? Well, we don’t have a lot of room to spare, and a lot of those playthings are massive. But it’s also about keeping things tidy, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing for the grownups in the house.
Before Bea came along I told myself that her gear was going to be streamlined, modern and hewn from the reclaimed ceiling beams of an ancient French chateau. It would be beautiful and practical and stimulating and blend in perfectly with its surroundings! Or, if it weren’t all of those things, at least it would be small enough to tuck into a drawer or basket.
Fast-forward to Bea’s 4-month checkup, where her pediatrician suggested I get her an activity center. After way too much research, I can honestly say there are no pretty jumperoos or saucers. Zero. Zilch. They’re all music-making, color-clashing, hunks-o-plastic that promise to consume 40 percent of our floor space. However, they also promise to provide a little bright stimulation for Bea’s budding brain and a few moments of parental freedom for Andy and me, which is enough to make me renege on my age-old promise.
So, armed with a doctor’s suggestion and a little less pride, I hauled home an ocean-themed monstrosity and plopped it in the middle of our living room floor.
Even though this activity center is the only thing I own that features a giant, dangly sea turtle, I have to admit it fits wonderfully in our home. That’s because Bea loves it. I mean, she absolutely L-O-V-E-S it. Sometimes when I’m holding her, she spots it from across the room and just gazes at it longingly. When she’s standing in it, she stares at each station, wide-eyed and enamored by the ratcheting crab and the twirling orca.
McKinley_Exersaucer_9-3-14_1It’s the perfect toy. Ugly? Yes. Giant? Absolutely. Everything I swore I’d never own? Definitely. But it’s perfect nonetheless.
I’ll try to stick to my aesthetically pleasing ideals whenever I can, but I’ll officially admit that it’s not always possible—or what’s best for Bea. I just have my fingers crossed that I don’t eat my words on the whole minivan thing!