Baby on Board: How to Undo the Perfect Nursery

What seemed stylish pre-baby is now just an accident waiting to happen.

By Megan Isennock - Posted on September 13, 2016

Though there isn’t a direct translation from the original Swedish, Malm roughly means “baby crusher” in English. -Courtesy of Megan Isennock

At 10 months old, our kid is doing everything he can to walk. And with only 10 months of parenting a previously sedentary baby under our belts, my husband and I are freaking out.

Lou recently plowed headfirst into a hot pink metallic piggy bank (that isn’t even his—it’s mine because I have no taste when I impulse-buy). He sustained a nasty gash to the forehead, which led to the first “does he need stitches?” conversation. After much deliberation, we decided a few Steri-Strips and a dose of Tylenol would suffice. We tucked him into bed and took a moment to survey his little kingdom.

“His room,” my husband said, gesturing to all the crap in his nursery “needs to look a lot less like this, and a lot more like a dojo.”

And so began the undoing of Lou’s thoughtfully appointed nursery.

As items are removed, we’ve marveled at the complete idiots we were a year ago. Like all parents, we got really into the creation of his nursery. Paint colors were deliberated over and cribs were given brutal analyses and pitted against one another in consumer-testing battles. We bought books with actual paper pages to fill his bookshelves, believing that he would respect and lovingly handle them. His B-list stuffed animals were tucked away in the closet, lest they clutter the visual calm we’d created for our child.

And for many months, we actually lived in this fantasy world. Infants have no idea where or what they are, and therefore can’t get into much trouble. As Lou got a little bigger and stronger, he’d occasionally manage to roll over or scoot a few inches, which caused total elation on our part and zero clutter on his. But in the past month, he’s gone from an adorable, gentle scoot to a crazed, rapid crawl and his room has got to keep up.

To illustrate the undoing that must be done, I’ve included a few images. Parents of toddlers: you are welcome to laugh. Your homes are already stripped of your design preferences and are now primary-colored monuments to play-learning and locked toilets. Parents of perfect, milky, inactive newborns (or soon-to-be parents who are spending quiet moments in your Pinterest-worthy nurseries): you no longer live in a home for grown-ups. That kid is going to take off one day and either break your stuff or break himself.

This first one is good. We put a four-foot tall, freestanding brass lamp in a nursery because we thought it gave off really nice light. Then we placed a straw diving block over the three foot cord like some interior design wizards. You might also notice the lack of protective covering over the electrical sockets, or perhaps the sharp, metal fish statue we placed on that floating shelf. Those were also design choices we made in a room where we intended a baby to grow and thrive.

This one is a little less our fault and a lot more Ikea’s. Wanting to save some scratch by using the dresser as a changing table, we purchased the Malm and filled it with tiny clothes and Velcroed a changing pad to the top. You may have heard the name Malm on the evening news, where its recall was announced last month. Though there isn’t a direct translation from the original Swedish, Malm roughly means “baby crusher” in English, meaning of all the dressers in Ikea’s massive catalogue, we chose the only one with a criminal record. (And let's not forget a shout out to the dead leaves Lou is stuffing in his mouth because his mother placed a frond on the ground to fill empty space and never, ever watered it.)

And though this image was not taken in his nursery, it deserves a spot on the list because it’s in our living room which is where we spend most of our time. This is a glass table—on wheels—bearing the weight of a heavy houseplant whose long tentacles are aching to entangle a toddler’s chubby, curious fingers. The situation is (impossibly) made worse by the open-air gas fireplace, filled with tiny decorative pebbles.

Almost all of these issues have been addressed. The piggy bank that broke Lou’s fall turned out to actually have money in it, so we cashed out and invested in some child-proofing gear and a huge, hideous, amazing indoor fence area which we filled with soft floor tiles, a ball pit, and all those previously hidden stuffed animals.


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