Wednesday, August 19, 2009


When I was watching my sister Christina at her bridal shower the other morning, I remembered how I, too, once unwrapped dozens of beautifully wrapped boxes of gleaming stemware, chargers, plates, and glasses. I remember lining all of my brand new things up neatly in my cabinets and admiring how pretty everything looked. I vividly remember a huge stack of boxes and bags and packing peanuts that took up three quarters of the kitchen floor after I had unloaded all of the trappings of a newlywed home.

Now, five years later, my home is once again full of boxes and bags: about thirty blue and yellow baby themed bags in the closet and four or five diaper boxes in various rooms. The boxes do not, as they claim, contain 236 size 2/3 diapers. The one in the bedroom contains clothes that I will probably never be small enough to wear again. Two in the nursery are full of baby clothes that I can't believe he's already outgrown (one box for consignment and one to keep forever). And the ones in the living room are stuffed with newspaper and some of the things I so lovingly unwrapped five years ago: champagne flutes, wine glasses, pasta bowls, a platter--things I hardly ever used, things that had to go to make room for bright colored sippy cups, plastic bowls and lids, and tiny soft spoons. For days I've been working on an overhaul of the kitchen, moving out the pretty but rarely used, moving in the bright unbreakables, moving up the glass and down the wooden, stone, and Tupperware. This is what is commonly called "baby proofing," but as I look at how my home is shaping up, I don't think I'm making it as much baby proof as baby friendly.

I used to wonder why my parents didn't have nicer stuff, why most of their glasses were plastic and their pots and pans dull. But one of my earliest memories is of sitting on the kitchen floor with an open cabinet in front of me, a stock pot between my legs, a spoon in my fist and a terrific clatter in the air. I do not know how old I was or how my mom could stand the noise. And, most importantly, I do not remember her making me stop. Now I wonder if she moved those things down to the bottom cabinet on purpose and I wonder if she gave up something pretty and breakable and hardly used to make room for the plastic cups and cereal bowls of my childhood. I wonder if she even gave me the spoon.

It's funny how the things that come into our homes in gracefully wrapped gift boxes often go out of them in less graceful packaging. It's funny how a home evolves to contain all the trappings of love and little people and how a quiet woman can become one who smiles through so much noise for the sake of the singularly wonderful sound of a laughing baby.

1 comment:

Shanna said...

Mmmmm. Such lovely prose, Kristi. I love to read your writing. I like the distinction you make between baby proof and baby friendly.