Saturday, 18 September 2010

PB essentials: the nursery

Okay, so once we brought the newborn pixies home from hospital, they needed a bassinette. And a change table. And lots of nappies. And wipes. And a cot. And clothes (lots of them). And bibs. And the nappy bag. You get the idea – we needed a lot of stuff! It was a revelation to us. Neither of us had really had anything to do with newborns for years. For me, it was a gap of 28 years since my brother was born. For Mr PB, he and his twin sister were the youngest of six, so he didn’t have any practical knowledge. So how did we work out what we needed for the nursery before Joshua arrived?

Well, fortunately for us, our best friends in Sydney had three children in under three years (bravo to them – I thought three under four was hard enough), so they were able to give us invaluable and most importantly, road-tested tips. Another friend with a baby (hello, Kath!) e-mailed us a lengthy list of the things we would need. We were both flabbergasted and bewildered when we received it. We couldn’t believe such a tiny person would need so many things. That was my first experience of motherhood. Forget the pregnancy, getting ready for this little one would require a lot of preparation.

We chortled our way around the baby shops, list in hand, playing 'pretend' parents, trying to work out what we needed as opposed to what we adored (often too costly – sigh. Having expensive tastes can be frustrating.). We were laughing as we really had no idea what we needed, despite the list. Who were we kidding? The array of goods on offer was staggering. Do we really need a warmer for baby wipes? Or a pretty bumper to line the cot? Er, no on both counts – the first we considered unnecessary as we were having a summer baby and the second was considered a SIDS hazard by SIDS and Kids. We were laughing by this stage. It was all fine in theory but what would the reality be like? 

So what were the must-have items? In the end, we settled on a walnut Boori Classic cot with rollout drawer underneath – a fantastic extra storage area (we had no idea how useful this would prove).
Newborn Joshua fast asleep after graduating to the cot
We loved its ‘safe track drop panel system’. That means the side drops down using one hand and a side thrust of the hip (important when you have the other hand is full with the baby) and there are no spots for little fingers to get caught as the sliding mechanism is ingeniously hidden from sight. After using it for three babies, I would say it has stood the test of time – we do chuckle, however, at the teeth marks left on the tops of the rails by the three pixies. Ah, patina, how we love thee! (I do note there is a product on the market which avoids this – a plastic sleeve which fits over the railing – but we found out about it too late. Then again, you can’t be too ‘princessy’ with children and besides, the children love seeing the marks they made when they were tiny.)

Not knowing Joshua’s gender at that stage, we decided on a gender-neutral white and green theme for the bedding. The subsequent splash of pink when India arrived provided a lovely ‘pop’ of colour. We bought a wooden change table with a handy storage shelf and added castor wheels and a metal rail on the side for a towel.

We bought Kassett boxes from IKEA to store nappies as well as another blue striped oval box for medication and nappy creams. Little did we know how useful that would become (I’ll do a post on that). We bought dozens of little coloured wooden hangers from Howard’s Storage World – so small and cute! We have since made many repeat purchases. We bought pretty blue, green and white curtains, bearing in mind the ‘gender-neutral’ theme. We fitted an extra rail in the wardrobe, given baby clothes are so short and babies need so many clothes. Once Joshua was born and kind family and friends gave us 70 (!) items of clothing, we were relieved we had planned for the extra room.

We bought cute teddy cushions for the couch (little did we know how many nights Mr PB would lie there, Joshua on his tummy, trying to coax him to sleep). We hung my Beatrix Potter cross-stitch I mentioned here and had some gorgeous Two Bad Mice bunny cards framed. Here they are.
A PB favourite
Here are some closeups.
Little did we know this would become a PB emblem
 - tired Mr PB with the three pixies climbing all over him!
We bought a Sony stereo system (that sounds so retro now!) for the classical music CD my parents had given us. Little did we know that it would be used every night for the next 2 ½ years as the cue to lull the older pixies to sleep. We stocked up on favourite books from our childhood – I’ll do another post on that – and filled the bookcase with family photos (probably a bit premature as it took years for the pixies to recognise people in photos).

My mum made us ‘kicking mats’, comprised of waterproof shower curtains with a soft fabric backing and bias binding edging, perfect for the good old ‘nappy free time’ (there’s a market out there waiting to be tapped, my crafty friends reading out there). I had no idea of the importance of it before he was born. Gee, the things we learnt ‘on the job’!

My godmother knitted us the softest, laciest cream woollen shawl for us to bring Joshie home from the hospital. Little were we to know that we would lovingly use it to bring all three of the pixies home. Here I am, leaving hospital with newborn Joshua.

And two years later with newborn India (yes, you eagle-eyed, same bag).

And 19 months later with newborn Sam. We treasure that shawl so much.
Yep, same bag and jacket!
The only changes since Sam was born have been necessitated by our move to Hobart. As mentioned here, we’re now using my grandfather’s old walnut chest of drawers and our old Freedom wardrobe as we don't have any built-ins (another joy of renting). Other than that, we’re still using the things we first bought for Joshie, nearly five (seemingly) distant years ago.

All up, the preparations we undertook for Joshua have stood us in good stead. Sure, in the interim, many companies have emerged selling gorgeous and innovative wares. There are so many fabulous, awe-inspiring products out there which I’d like to buy. However, living on a single income, we haven’t been able to indulge our love of design as much as we’d like. We’re happy with the choices we’ve made. They’ve been practical (and well put to the test by having three children in under four years) and pleasant on the eye.

I’d love to hear how you set up your nurseries. Did you find out the sex of your babies first so you could design the colour scheme? Did you use any old family heirlooms? Jump on in and let us know.

Time to get some lunch.



  1. oh jane I have to laugh about the same handbag and photo in the foyer - looks like the foyer of RNS private and nothing has changed since then!
    how lovely though that you have the photos as you leave the hospital! I always have way too many while I'm in the room but not leaving!

    I must say I know my baby stuff now and there is no big pram this time around! I went for the smallest and lighest pram I could get with a bassinette on it and less than $400, so proud! I've stuck to all white furniture and keeping things simple and I've got to say it works as everything just gets added in!

    we're working on rooms at the moment!

  2. We didn't find out the gender of either of our kids. I was in denial about "pink" before our first baby (who is a girl) so was glad to be able to decorate neutrally and to buy neutral clothing (which has been great for the subsequent baby - a boy).

    Hobart is a small, small place - I had dinner with your sister last night! I went to Uni with her man and am friends with one of her former flatmates - and went through high school with one of her Uni mates!!

    Enjoy the weekend.

  3. I absolutely love your 'coming home' photos. The fact that you're in blue for each of them, with your trusty bag and your sweet expression identical in each. What a wonderful memento for your family.

    I didn't find out the gender of my bubbas - why spoil the surprise!? I did a neutral animal theme in the first nursery (jungle, but with pastels) that turned out to be very 'boy' in the end, which was surprising because I was so convinced I was having a girl(you know how we all develop these psychic skills that just know our baby's gender... those ones).

    The pictures in your nursery are so adorable. They will be a fabulous keepsake all your children's life. x

  4. Oh, Corrie, yes, the handbag was replaced soon after that, after years of hard living on PB! And you're right, it is North Shore Private. Taking those shots was something I really wanted to do so all the pixies felt part of something special, with a common start in life. Yes, you must really know what you need by the time no 4 comes around. And you're right, the weight of the pram and the dimensions and ease of erection while holding a baby in the other hand are all so important - that sounds a good bargain as well. Having white as a basis is so practical. I can imagine the anticipation is building in your house now! J x

  5. I found it quite interesting, Ange, that so many people couldn't understand why we wanted to keep the pixies' genders as a surprise. In this age of instant gratification, they made it sound so passe! We believed there aren't many surprises left in life nowadays and stuck to our guns. It made the moment of birth and revelation so delightful. Oh my goodness, you're kidding. That's Hobart for you, as they say! Funny. J x

  6. Why, thanks, Bron. You are eagle-eyed - yes, blue is one of my favourite colours. Ah, another surprise lover. We were told finding out is a 50/50 thing nowadays which fascinated us. And thanks - the pixies seem to enjoy them as well. Have a great Sunday with the tsunamis! J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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