Whatever you do, your child will redecorate their room

Before your baby is born, you have big plans for her nursery. It will be a peaceful place for rest. Soothing colors will lull your baby to sleep each night in that expensive crib you bought or received as a gift. You carefully fold their little outfits and store them lovingly in dresser drawers. The changing table is ready with a terry cloth cover and a neat stack of newborn diapers awaiting your precious arrival.

Then, for the first three months of your baby’s life, you get a crash course in reality. The terry cloth cover gets dirty again and again until you finally throw it away. Your baby goes through five outfits in one day. How can a human poop so many times? Instead of neatly folding their onesies, you toss their clean laundry in the drawer and call it good. As for the crib, well, maybe one day your baby will sleep in it. Most likely? With a bit of luck? Who knows? You can’t think straight because you haven’t slept more than four hours in months. But you manage to frame a photo of their tiny handprints and hang it on the wall.

By the time you have a toddler, he has started redecorating his room regularly. Swoosh! They knock all the picture books off the bottom shelf at once. Unload! The toy box is not up to their curiosity. Cause and effect is the most fun game of all. What happens when they hold a cup upside down and shake it really hard? They will find out as soon as you stop looking.

Elementary school children are much more predictable. You teach them to make their bed. You show them how to put their clothes away. You expect them to put the dirty laundry in the hamper and put it in the washing machine. But do they? Sometimes. Putting chores on their allocation board helps, but only to a certain extent. Every time you go there to tuck them in at night, you risk walking through a minefield of Legos.

At some point, usually around fourth grade, discussions take place about the choices you made when they were five. Why did you buy this butterfly artwork? Why did you give them a Star Wars cuddly toy? They don’t like any of it because it’s too childish. The framed photo of their baby handprints is the first thing to fall.

Enter the teenage years, which become a bedroom decorating adventure to choose from. A child does nothing at all and lets their bedroom slowly disintegrate into a smellier version of their childhood bedroom. Another covers every inch – even the ceiling – with decorations acquired from tear-up magazines and thrift stores. Or maybe the teenager is the kind of neat freak who maintains an Instagram-worthy living space. The only constant is that you are no longer responsible.

Sleep well, my little ones. Enjoy your space. It is a privilege to witness the evolution.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and under the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as author Jennifer Bardsley. Email her at [email protected]

Dora W. Clawson