Two years ago, when we were waiting for our daughter to be born (and adopted), I was hit with the nesting bug, but never got the stereotypical knitting-bug like some folks do. Two years earlier I’d gotten a minor knitting bug (no connection to nesting, just a temporary crafty-bug) and everyone in the family had gotten a scarf; but I quickly learned that scarf-shapes were pretty much the pinnacle of my knitting abilities. Hence the skeins of yarn still waiting to be used, four years later. However, during this awaiting-parenthood period, while foregoing the knitting frenzies, I did go through a mass of mildly crazed sewing projects; from multiple quilts, to baby blankets, cloth diapers, crib rail covers, coasters, and even some attempted swaddles and sleepers. Then one night, as I was between sewing projects and devouring parenting books, I was chatting with a girlfriend who was coordinating an event for an animal group and we were discussing possible centerpieces; and we came up with papier mâché animals. Suddenly, all of my crazies were focused on thinking about how to make a papier mâché pig. That was all it took. And in my manic, nesting mode, I took it on as a challenge.
One balloon, two toilet paper rolls, a pile of newspaper, printing paper, and a quick Google search on making your own paste a home, and I was whipping together my first papier mâché pig. And if I do say so myself, he came out pretty damn cute! (My friend ended up doing something different for the centerpieces, but for my spastic nesting needs, this filled the gap quite nicely and the pig remains on my daughter's bookcase two years later.)
Some friends said the nesting bug barely ever hit them, and they were racing at the end to get the nursery decorated, the crib put together and figure out the diaper genie. On the other hand, some friends started nesting as soon as the stick turned pink and never rested until the kid left for college. To each his, or her, own, I say (I mean, it's not like folks in papier mâché houses can throw stones, right?).
But now, with our pregnancy, and us expecting number two, I was curious if the nesting crazies would take over as they had the first time. And the answer is “not completely.” And there are two very good reasons for that: I’m pregnant and perpetually exhausted, and I have a two-year-old who sucks out any remaining energy the baby hasn’t already absconded with.
However, while the nesting crazies didn’t hit me with the gusto that they did pre-kids, they did hit… eventually. And around week 24, I finally got the nursery in order, replete with Pooh and Tigger decals, changing station, crib set up, and all the organized-by-age-range, washed and folded baby clothes. Whew!
I had a minor brush with some sewing bugs along the way, but other than a cover for my body pillow, nothing else ever got off the ground.
Then around week 30, the papier mâché bug hit again and I suddenly decided that I was going to finally make something of those moving boxes I’d been saving for almost a year. And for one full week, I was all about crafting a papier mâché kitchen. I don’t know where it came from, but like many fellow nesters can attest to, the driving compulsion to do this NOW was overwhelming and all-consuming. Plus, I figured post-baby I’d never have the energy; though it's not like I was brimming with energy currently, but the nesting crazies can help dispel any pesky truths that get in the way of "reality".
I started by cutting and taping everything (including covering up the words on the boxes). Then I tried different layouts and finally decided where I wanted things (sink, stove, microwave, shelves, etc.).
Then I used papier mâché to help give it some form and strength it needed – especially with a two-year-old’s curiosity and Godzilla-like tendencies.
Then, with a little paint and some handy stamps, I added the finishing touches.
And while it definitely looks home-made, she’s only two and has yet to feel embarrassed by her mother’s not-quite-successful crafty attempts.
Everything, other than the metal bowl that I used for the sink, was made from boxes or stuff I grabbed out of the recycling bin. But I will add that while using bottle caps for the stove and microwave buttons was a great use of recycled materials, they lasted about 3 minutes once the two-year-old discovered them. Two days later, after foolishly trying to re-glue them repeatedly, I gave up and painted on the buttons. Lessons learned.
The last pre-birth nesting-craze to hit, was my sudden desire to put the two-year-old in swim lessons. With a mere four weeks to go, I felt a bit of panic in squeezing them in, but squeeze I did. I’ve heard from other moms expecting their second that this is not an uncommon reaction. So at any given time, somewhere in the world, there are many 8-month-preggos bobbing around in pools with willing and less-than-willing toddlers learning to blow bubbles. So, whether our daughter masters the doggy paddle, or we just have some fun mommy-and-me time, I figure all the squeezing was worth it.
As I was mulling over the nesting crazies, mine and other tales I'd heard of (many involved cleaning frenzies that would make any OCD sufferer proud, including using toothbrushes to clean grout, simonizing the washing machine, and wiping down the walls of the nursery until the wallpaper starts to disintegrate), out of curiosity I Googled "nesting habits" and found this from Britannica.com:
Some nests are lined with small stones, and others are built of dirt or mud with or without plant material. Sticks, leaves, algae, rootlets, and other plant fibres are used alone or in combination. Some... seek out animal materials such as feathers, horsehair, or snakeskin. The nest materials may be held together by weaving, sewing, or felting the materials themselves or with mud or spider webs. Swifts use saliva to glue nest materials together and to attach the nest to the supporting structure.
So maybe my sewing, swimming and papier mâché crazies aren't that... well, crazy. I'm not obsessed with whether I can see my face in our washing machine's spin cycle, nor am I nesting with algae, snagging spider webs or spitting on things. All in all, I think we're doing okay. Now, how about some papier mâché sleepers?!?