(from the archives with updated links to our nursery decor)
“I wanna baby, I wanna baby, I wanna baby!,” my mother-in-law squealed at the top of her lungs as we stood outside a Los Angeles restaurant late one Saturday night many years ago.
“So get knocked up,” I responded placidly, undisturbed by the absurdity of a grown woman having a hissy fit.
Yes, to most, my mother-in-law’s level of involvement in our life together seems inappropriate. But my mother-in-law is completely inappropriate and, well… she’s mine. When I married my husband, I effectually married her too. I knew what I was getting myself into and after seven and a half years of dating, “The Outlaw,” as my painter called her, was part of the package.
Was I always so accepting of our, ahem, her little arrangement? A year and a half into our relationship, Mike and I were home from college and staying at his parents’ house. We were lying in bed when the door suddenly swung open and in walked The Outlaw, who proceeded to climb into bed with us, squealing and clapping with joy. Stunned, horrified, and stuck in the middle, a good foreshadowing of the years to come, I crawled out the other way on all fours.
But this was a shining moment for my mother-in-law, a story that more than a decade later she recounts with pride, while I wonder if perhaps therapy could have helped me get to the root of whatever emotional issues I have that forced me to stay with someone else’s meddling Jewish mother that doesn’t simply lack boundaries, but bulldozes over ones that most would innately believe are set in stone…like loudly stating that my “headlights” were on at a family friend’s chilly backyard party six months into Mike and my very fragile relationship.
She’ll embarrass you into submission if she has to.
The truth is I already have overly needy emotional issues with my own mom, who I call fifteen times a day, despite an inordinate level of neurosis on her part that has clearly begun to rub off on me. Why would I have exacerbated an already unhealthy situation with the coupling of two mothers who would become friends and get branded with the singular nickname “Mom Squared”? (Two separate lunatics melded into one completely insane human being.)
When I decided to leave a job I loved to take a daunting leap of faith, I received a little pewter, swinging door in the mail from The Outlaw that reads, “Another opens.” It has. And The Outlaw was behind me.
We did not know then that when the time finally came for us to also desperately want that baby, we would have a very long and difficult journey ahead. But in the end, as my grandmother mused, “I guess when you wish and work hard enough, sometimes you get twice as lucky.”
So when I saw those two healthy heartbeats, the years of heartache turned to bliss. The fun could finally begin. I poured my excitement into creating a precious nursery in our very first home as a family.
Playful and quirky decor ideas that may not work in other areas are right at home in a child’s room — it's free reign for a chic fantasy land. And while there are plenty of sophisticated furniture lines for kids, there’s no need to restrict your choices. Sweetlips and The Bean’s changing table was a nine-foot 1940s bar console with lion handles found on 1stdibs.com. The top was fitted with two changing pads while the cabinets stored their little onesies. Today, it’s in our living room lined instead with cocktail tray and highballs. And yes, I do see the irony of parents turning their twin infants’ changing table into a home bar.
Here are a few of my favorite elements from that first precious room…