My Coffee Table Didn’t Always Look Like This

Here’s the thing: when it comes to cleaning, I’m…OK. I keep it together. Sometimes I do a better job than others (like, say, when I’m not trying to get all of my work done while caring for a five-month-old and still be a sane human being capable of smiling at my husband when he gets home at night).

But when it comes to neatness, I’m fairly particular. A little obsessive. I do things like line up remote controls, organize all the little weebils hanging out on my desk into bowls, and generally tidy up as a matter of course all day long.

My coffee table? I like it nearly empty, with just a single candle set on it. Maybe a remote control or two. Lined up.

Not anymore.

A few weeks ago, I was struck by a post by Jaclyn Day in which she talked about how before she gave birth to her daughter, she tried to figure out how to pick baby items that would be relatively inoffensive in terms of decor (charcoal grey and muted yellow, yes, rainbow brights and cartoon characters, no)…but then quickly realized that what baby likes, baby likes, and so be it. I remember thinking the same thing during my registry trip through Buy Buy Baby: I sought out activity mats, bouncy seats, and high chairs in (relatively) subtle shades, skipping right over anything eye-searingly bright or bedecked in primary colors.

What’s amazing is not what I quickly discovered – which is that it’s not a diabolical conspiracy on the part of Fisher Price to sell us ugly things, but rather a simple fact of life that babies really do prefer bright colors and contrast – but rather the extent to which I don’t care. I definitely care that my apartment has become a virtual maze (trying to get from our bedroom to the bathroom in the middle of the night is like running a Death Gauntlet of baby toys and totally-not-asleep dogs – and, seriously, dogs? GO TO SLEEP), which is why we need to move, like, yesterday…but the primary colors?

I like them. And sure, when guests are coming over I make a halfhearted effort to put all the baby stuff away – or at least organize it into piles – but really, I’m over it. Because I’m someone who cares a lot about the things I surround myself with…but there’s simply no color scheme or pretty vase that I’m ever going to find more thrilling than something that makes my son smile. Truth.

And besides, you know…it’s not forever. Years from now – maybe when Indy’s gone off to college – there will once more come a day when those remotes will be sitting on my coffee table, all lined up in their proper places.

And I’ll miss this mess so much.

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