I posted a while back about my observations of the film "Eddison's Day," and the daily activities of a child who was just barely older than my own. There were MANY suggestions for how to make a home more appealing to a toddler, and our house was falling short in MOST of the areas I offered suggestions. The biggest goal of a toddler's house has to be safe independence, and accessibility is a HUGE componentof that goal.
Over the weekend I was hit by a nesting urge (never before experienced... my first child entered the world with the tack-board from disgusting carpet remaining along the perimeter of his room and still does not have a room color that is satisfactory for the space of a little boy). Dominic went down for his nap and Ryan and I got to work in the kitchen.
We had a bistro table at the far corner that barely fit Ryan and I and left Dominic floating in the middle in a high-chair... not my image of a family meal, but the flavor of family meal we've been having for a year or so! The table and chairs relocated to the third bedroom as a make-shift wrapping and sewing table next to the day bed. To add function to the nook in our kitchen, we brought in a low shelf that was salvaged from St. Catherine's when Katherine got new posh natural wood shelves. The shelf sits right under the window. The top shelf has a space for a small water source (I want to get a glass or ceramic water crock with a simple spigot) and a space for Dominic's drinking glasses, bowls, plates, and silverware. I am still trying to figure out my feelings about the dishes with characters/animals/etc. on them. It seems like Dominic is pretty distracted by the little cartoony super hero plates... he removed his toast from his plate this morning and tickled the little figure for the greater part of his breakfast. Hrumph... I put a lot of effort into that dry toast!
The second shelf has a little apron, his sketch-pad and crayons, and some sets of classified cards with pictures of amphibians, fish, and reptiles. The bottom shelf has the hand wipes (for coming in from picking up yucky stuff outside), a couple sweaters to choose from, and a hat for going outside. I am going to be adding a window washing setup, some kind of polishing, and possibly a bird-feeding activity. Any suggestions for how to do window washing with a toddler? I will also be hanging a picture above the shelf and creating a window treatment or mistreatment f
or the small window.
The next step for that nook is to bring in a wooden hutch from the garage onto that blue wall (the pictures have relocated since the photo was taken long ago) to display our white everyday dishes and store some of our larger serving pieces and appliances that do not have a home right now. That will also give us a little bit more counter space under the shelving to do kitchen stuff or just make a mess. With the dishes out of the overhead cabinets, we'll move all of the food pantry items to the overhead cabinets and convert the pantry into the cleaning and laundry closet, thus freeing up the space next to the washer as well... Maybe a low table or the kitchen tower will go there! Does anyone have experience with making snacks accessible for toddlers? How does one go about that? I was thinking of making one of the drawers in the hutch Dominic's snack drawer with pre-portioned snacks that he can get when he is hungry (goldfish crackers, pretzels, raisins...); before I do something crazy like that, I will have to have some pretty solid feedback from an expert, though!
The photo is dated, so picture the tree gone and the giant picture in that blank back wall space. For more accessibility, we've also put a shelf under the interior window where the tree is in the picture (you know, that window from our living room to our dining room... our house has so much CHARACTER!). We still need to work out exactly what the function of that shelf is (and paint it a more attractive color than almond). Since the guitars are all hanging in the living room, I am leaning toward a music and art shelf. We could bring some of Dominic's rhythm instruments out from his room, set up another coloring work, put out the shape-scapes sculpture puzzles, put art books and art cards (postcards from museums and photos from my stay in Italy), and set out some poetry books. We will also keep some other toys on the shelf for general play in the living room and possibly a diaper changing setup for when the new baby arrives?
Our third bedroom also experienced a facelift recently as a result of the new shelves in Katherine's classroom at St. Catherine's. I already mentioned the table and chairs that have made a makeshift wrapping table and sewing spot (although I will have to re-acquire my mom's sewing machine for that to REALLY be possible). I also have a lot of fabric that I've accumulated over the past year or two... the IKEA "as is" department is the BEST place for cheap and cool fabrics; there are always mis-matched and incomplete sofa covers and duvets priced at under a few bucks to come out to a real steal per yard! I'm probably going to have to steal some boxes from the living room or find some cheap baskets at goodwill to store all of the fabric scraps on the shelves. I'll also be able to bring in some of my boxed books from the garage. I think we will also set up the little play mat in this room for when the next little Smith makes his debut. I am sure the other two shelves will quickly fill with diaper supplies, blankets, and newborn toys. I am thinking that this will become more of a reading and craft room. This one also needs a paint job and a proper window treatment, rug, and day-bedding (keep me posted if you see anything awesome at a garage sale or thrift shop).
So hopefully those changes will be completely activated in the next couple days. I'm realizing as I post that the next post should probably be an update on the progress we've made on our house, although there are way more cracks in the walls now because we had the foundation repaired last year around this time.