“Bring on those dirty little Hands—Microfiber is the new plastic cover.”
Anyone of a certain age understands life’s close relationship with enormous irony.
One that I recently discovered was the Grandma Décor Dilemma.
Every mother knows when babies become mobile, a serious redecorating effort occurs.
Glass is replaced with wood or Formica and all tabletop items are wrapped for storage or placed on higher shelves. A great cover up is afoot to save at least a scintilla of worldly goods.
But now we have microfiber.
Ah microfiber! No, not micro greens, the new word for lettuce scraps on your plate. A new miracle fiber that battles chocolate, peanut butter and sandbox residue lurking on adorable, busy little hands.
A new practically indestructible fabric that vaguely resembles suede, resists stains and was definitely designed with Grandmas in mind.
I am smiling just remembering the past when valuables were secured and safely ensconced in high-placed locked boxes more inaccessible than a Kardashian’s IQ.
The more mobile the baby, the greater the makeover. Toddlers reaching for tabletop items can be swift and sure and move like lightening. As is often the case you hear the crash before you see the move. The living room becomes an urban jungle fraught with danger at every turn.
Sure that crystal dish looked innocent enough when Aunt Rosie gave it to you for your wedding shower, but now it is suddenly a sparkly missile crashing toward earth as two innocent little eyes delight in the power they possess to make that “funny” crashing sound.
Minimalist décor became the code word for “oops there are babies in the house, better clear those spaces and prepare for the charge.”
I recall the tumult of more toys than Santa’s workshop covering every inch of floor space, while I daydreamed of house beautiful.
Perusing home magazines with a sad sigh, wishing for a time when I could actually consider a white sofa and glass tables once more.
A place when I could display my crystal and fine pieces openly and free them from their storage prisons.
Lalique, Daum, Waterford would dance across my dreams carrying rainbows of champagne and canapés onto regally appointed tablescapes.
As the years flew by, and as we know they do fly, my children grew to adulthood.
My first post little-ones-on-board home was filled with white sofas, glass tables and matching towels in the guest bathroom. Ah, all those forbidden fruits of décor. What fun!
The years passed in a haze of entertaining with “good” china still bearing the flakes of sawdust from its original shipping container, crystal glasses and silver flatware. I felt like the Queen of England.
Ah, but then the tide turned once more. Suddenly a new arrival signaled the end of all that opulence, splendor and elegance.
“He” had arrived, my first precious grandson. Suddenly it was all about Sesame Street plastic dishes and tippee cups, organic cloths and toys, and green smoothies with unknown ingredients for a healthier lifestyle.
The packing boxes appeared once more. Bubble wrap and bubble bursting filled quiet moments between emptying tables and glass shelves filled with delicate chachkees.
Once again my life was rife with toy-filled corners, empty tabletops and baby stepstools.
My friends and I now discussed how to make room for storage cabinets and redo a bedroom with a toddler theme. New colors and design that were the rage in babyville replaced the latest fashion, new boutique opening, vacation spot or Pilates injury.
Our Iphones overflowed with the latest photos of smiling faces in Halloween pumpkin costumes, petting zoos and hugging grandma pics.
Our car backseats sported baby car seats and books and toys were shoved into seat pockets.
Some friends hired designers to do a special theme. Airplanes, Shimmer and Shine, Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies were hot. We discussed singing groups like Yo Gabba Gabba recalling how our parents had laughed at our obsession with the Beatles.
Rainbows, unicorns and computers were also on board as décor stalwarts.
A new vibe was apparent at our regular lunches.
Toys, pictures and brilliant baby quotes took center stage and things had definitely changed. It was toddler town now and we were all proud residents reveling in our new roles.
We wore the name grandma as proudly as a woman wears couture and shamelessly bragged while repeating baby stories ad nauseum.
Our computer screen savers were full-size pictures of partially toothed grins that changed with each new development.
It had finally happened—we were grandmas—and our homes had gone from high style to safety zones.
I found a few fun tips for decorating a grandchild’s room I‘d like to share.
Since storage is not as crucial, there is more room to be creative with space.
Painted dressers in themes can be made from unfinished furniture cabinets or an old chest found in a resale store. Two or three smaller cabinets can be put together and painted on the front.
Pop-up books opened and attached in a line make great cornices over a blind. Or they also can be used in shadow boxes to hang as pictures.
Garage sales glean an endless assortment of toys to fill a toy box or use as décor.
Fabric stores often offer the latest cartoon or television characters in fabric that can be used to sew on bath towels or sheets for a personalized flair.
Wrapping paper can be a great source for the latest pop art characters.
Cutting cartoon figures out of the paper and hanging them on the wall as a mural or border is an inexpensive and fun way to add your grandchild’s favorites to the décor.
In the end it’s all about making our little darlings feel safe and comfortable at Grandma’s house. And isn’t that what every Grammy wants?
So until the day I can once again pull out the good china and glass nick knacks from their bubble wrapped boxes, I shall be quite content to fill my world with the joys of childhood once more.
Asian Chicken Soup
4 cups of chicken broth
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup chopped chicken or chicken drumettes
1 cup uncooked shrimp shelled
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup cut up fresh bok choy
½ cup bean sprouts
½ cup mushrooms (optional)
Add chicken to broth and cook until tender
Add rest of ingredients except shrimp and cook until veggies are slightly softened
When everything is cooked through add shrimp and cook a few minutes longer until shrimp turns pink and is done.
Serve over crunchy noodles or crunchy fried brown rice and enjoy!
To get crunchy fried rice, place rice in a hot frying pan with oil. Flatten rice so it is in a single layer and fry on one side until crispy then turn and fry other side.