What have I been doing? Nesting. I’ve been cleaning, organizing, cleaning, sorting, cleaning, buying, and cleaning. Along with a fair amount of baking, which is a stress reliever for me, both the process and the products.

As I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I currently share a home with my parents. They were kind enough to allow us to weather out the recession in their home, so that we could keep our business alive and save for a house of our own rather than continue renting an overpriced apartment. Of course, none of the four of us thought we’d be bringing a baby into their home, but we’re all adjusting quite well to the idea.

While it can sometimes be stressful to live with your parents when you’re over 30, most of the time it’s great. Like when I realized that the most practical room to give my baby was the room I that grew up in. It had since been redecorated, repurposed into a guest room, but it’s still my old bedroom. It has the same view from the window, the same incredible sunniness, and the same tiny closet. Luckily it no longer has the awkward collages of puppies and shirtless sweaty men. Boy was that a strange transitional phase.

I chose to not redecorate much. I didn’t paint, I didn’t get new curtains, I took a big cushy rocking chair from a mostly unused room. The crib was given to us by a close friend, the changing table dresser combo cost us $20 on craigslist and aside from being ugly is in fantastic shape (though I do have plans to refinish it at some point in the future). The rest of the furniture was already in the room. The wall hangings, along with the matching crib bumper and diaper hanger thing cost just $15 and were also purchased from someone on craigslist. I got them before I knew gender, because they were very neutral and inexpensive.

This wall hanging is actually my old sleeping bag. I would drag it around the house when I was a toddler, wrapping myself in it when I was cold and laying on it while I watched Sesame Street. My mom found it a few months ago and set it aside for me, and I thought it was just too precious not to be hung up. It’s a bit disintegrated on the inside, and the zipper is broken, but it’s perfectly fine as a soft and bright decoration for my baby’s room.

A small part of me was sad that I didn’t get to go crazy decorating the nursery for my first baby. But the much larger part of me was, and still is, very proud of how frugal I was able to be. The baby will be in her room only when she sleeps at night, when I am sleeping in the room next door. When I wake up in the morning I will take her from her room and down to the basement, where my husband and I reside for 16 hours of the day. It is where we have our private living room, access to our own secluded patio in the back yard, our laundry area, and the home office that I work in all day. There was no reason to spend money decorating a room that she will not spend much time in, and honestly even if I thought she’d be in there all day I still would have done exactly what I did. Why? Because when you decorate a nursery you are decorating it for yourself. The baby doesn’t care how fancy the dresser is, or how perfect the wall color is, or how well the curtains match the rest of the decor. The baby doesn’t care about that at all. And I would rather continue to save for the future I’ll be spending with my daughter than have her sleep in a fancy room.

My mom had the foresight to save all of my children’s books, which were lining the bookshelves of the room. I spent a few days reading old books, reminiscing, and of course organizing them all, while dusting and cleaning and emptying everything else in the room. These pictures were taken in the midst of the cleaning, organizing, and decorating, which is why there are brooms and mops and bottles of pledge around.

Did you read the “Mr.” and “Little Miss” books when you were a kid? I loved them. I probably read each of these books a dozen times.

I also adored Dr. Seuss. My mom would read me Golden Books before bed at night. I plan to do the same with my girl.

Lots of Sesame Street and Charlie Brown books. I think we must have been in a book club or something.

You can tell by the worn corners just how much use these Disney books got. I was a very avid reader from a very young age. And I’m sure you can imagine just how out of date “China Today” is, considering that it was published in 1983. I went through a brief obsession with China after watching Big Bird in China.

These books were definitely part of a book club membership. Each one has different characters (they’re not all Strawberry Shortcake), and we probably have over 50 of them.

I remember loving these books because I could listen to the record that came with them while looking at the pictures. It was great as a very young child that couldn’t read very well or quickly. I had one of those old plastic record-player-in-a-suitcase things. (Remember them? No? Oh, then you must be young. Unlike me.) It’s a shame I don’t still have it, I don’t know how else my girl will get to listen to the records. Maybe these books weren’t the greatest thing to hold on to for all these years, but I’m glad they’re there. When I saw them it made me smile.

These days I read a lot less than I used to. At least as far as books go. I do an enormous amount of reading online, though parents seem to consider that “screen time” and therefore not as valuable as “book time.” While that may be true, I am learning a lot from my time online, rather than just reading entertaining fiction. I learn about science, history, cooking, and really countless other things. I’m torn about how to proceed as far as that goes.

I believe my love of books comes from growing up with 2 parents that were very avid and dedicated readers. There were books all over the house, and still are. I was never limited in what I was allowed to read, any book in the house was available to me. My mom got a very stern letter from my fourth grade teacher about Pet Cemetery being inappropriate reading material for 9 year old. My mom responded, “If it made her uncomfortable she wouldn’t have continued reading it. Was the book report good?”

My husband is not a book guy. He, like me, spends a lot of time learning on the internet. There is just so much knowledge available, it’s very enticing. He didn’t grow up in a “bookish” household like I did, so he was never as much of a book fanatic. He went through phases where he did a lot of reading, but they were sporadic. He reads far more now than he ever did before, but it’s all on his computer. Is that really any different that reading a book?

My dad got a Kindle for Christmas. Since then I haven’t seen him touch a book. He sits for hours and hours reading, but it’s from a screen. Is that any different?

I’m desperate to instill a love of reading and learning in my child. In this technological heyday, what is the best way to do that? Can I put a book in her hands and expect her to be as entertained as she would be by a screen? Is reading on a screen the same experience? Is reading printed fiction better than reading electronic facts? Can any young parents out there help me out with this?

Nesting and Books
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