Ninainvorm
a blog about art, craft, design and beautiful everyday life
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A few weeks ago we finally moved Julie's little blue cot into Rosa's room, and now they actually share a room for the very first time (they did have a 'shared room' in our previous apartment, but they never really slept there together). To say it has proven a success so far would be a bit premature: in fact these last few weeks have been a mix of a few very good nights and a lot of terrible ones. However the terrible part didn't necessarily have that much to do with the girls sharing a room: most of the time they each had their own many seperate reasons for waking up and leaving us totally sleep-deprived (and eventually the one would also wake the other up of course, so we had quite a few nights with the two of them keeping each other awake). They do love sharing a room by the way, so the aspect of the two of them enjoying each other's company and developing their own little routines is really sweet to witness.

The room the girls share isn't a very big one, but the funny thing is that now that Julie and her bed have moved in, it seems easier to organize the space in a more efficient and playful way, without the feeling of losing that much room. A little while ago I found some vintage nursery school tables with matching chairs, and I put one of the tables in the girls' room. Now they have a little reading/drawing nook, which hardly occupies more space than the previous arrangement with only the vintage bench and doll bed.

A little while ago I stumbled upon a pinterest link that led to a post on a website about the previous shared nursery that we created in our old home. It was funny to look at those old pictures (of a planned shared nursery that never ended up being shared), but even more funny & interesting was reading the comments on the particular blog post.

When you put things on the internet you inevitably open yourself up to the possibility of getting comments and criticism, which can be positive but of course also pretty negative. In general I think the mama/craft/design blog community is rather friendly: we usually don't say it in one's 'face' when we think one's home, products, pictures or creations are a total disaster, or when their writing style is annoying us terribly. However this type of courtesy is often less visible when your pictures start travelling all over the net and end up on websites such as Apartment therapy, that ask for people's opinion on interior decoration issues. Then all of a sudden you can start reading some more honest views ;). Like this comment, about these pictures of our previous nursery:

"No. I like creative spaces. This is to much junk for a glorified walk in closet, that's pretty much what this room is, WIC. I have seen better put together rooms in a small space, this is horrid."

Ah well, of course it's never a wonderful thing when your nursery is being called horrid and 'too much junk for a glorified walk in closet'. But on the other hand it makes sense: we all have different tastes and I can perfectly well imagine that what I like may be awful in someone else's view.

But it's getting better... The next person commenting on the blog post, a certain MummyKitM, leaves no less than three comments after another.

The first:

"Those cribs actually look illegal. How far apart are the "bars"?? They look as if a baby could easily slide through and hang. And I really detest seeing pillows in a crib. The shelves are hard to get to, as are some of the clothes. What is with that chair? There's no space for it in 3 of the pictures, and yet, magically, it appears in the fourth? It looks truly uncomfortable, also. That is so insanely staged. I'm sorry, but this whole room is a "fail"."

Then the second:

"And I only just noticed: the beds *AGAINST* a heater?? With *NO* cover *OR* space?!?!?!? W.T.H?!?!?!"

And finally:

"I see that this is in the Netherlands, so I don't know their laws for cribs, but I see even more things in this room that, as a parent, raise alarm bells. Buttons? On a baby sleeper?"

The funny thing is that when pictures of our nursery appear on international (mainly American) websites, these 'OMG-so-dangerous' comments always start pouring down. It's interesting that on the one hand I often get nice emails from American readers who ask me where they can find such a nice vintage crib, while on the other hand there are always people who seem to think that here in Europe we are deliberately trying to harm our kids or something.

This online-safety-worrying is a fascinating thing: there seems to be a whole crowd of concerned moms online who are constantly checking every possible nursery picture for any kind of safety hazards. I've seen it so many times (and not only regarding my own pictures!), and if you ask me, it's a bit crazy. Don't get me wrong: like all moms (even Dutch or European ones, which may come as a surprise to some commenters ;)) I'm very much concerned for my kids' health. Also I definitely wouldn't want to ridiculize people's actual concerns for things such as SIDS, which is an awful thing. But this whole obsession with seeing enormous hazards in every possible thing? It seems quite stressful and unnecessary to me. If you want to hear my opinion, these are my two cents.

First of all about these vintage beds: I know so many people with cribs like these (and in fact whole generations grew up in them, because they're 1950s beds), and really, I've never ever witnessed anything that comes even the remotest bit close to babies getting their heads stuck between the bars of the bed. In fact I don't think it can happen (but maybe my kids just have giant heads!). Never say never, but personally I think the safety of your children has much more to do with being attentive and present as a parent than with all those laws, rules and precautions that people come up with in order to avoid any possible danger. I've always had my kids very close to me (like in a crib next to my bed for about the first year or so, or napping in a wrap during the day, or in a crib in the room next to mine) and I always check up on them when I hear them cry.

Personally I think common sense, attentiveness, intuition and staying close are key words when it comes to the safety of your baby and toddler. Of course it's wise to take some precautions, but in the end it's not laws or precautions or all kinds of ingenious technological tools that have to take care of your kid and it's safety, but you yourself.

To be honest I often think that as a mother I should be a little more nonchalant: compared to other moms I often consider myself as a bit too controlling, staying too close sometimes and not  allowing my kids enough room to take risks, make their own mistakes and sometimes get hurt. But of course that kind of thing isn't really visible on a picture with some decorative pillows in a crib ;).

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Some days it works, some days it doesn't... Lately we've been experiencing some of these really good days, that already start early (as usual ;)) in a sunny garden, with the girls playing so nicely together, sometimes even for hours at a stretch while hardly needing any intervention from our side. Then everything seems to go so smoothly, there's room for everyone to relax and do a bit of what they like... And then I can't help but start dreaming about life always being a bit more this way.

This kind of relaxed harmony... I like it so much, but you can never really control it and it's often unexpected. I guess maybe that's part of why it is so good. Some days all the ingredients seem to be there: the sun, the garden, no plans for the day... But then for some reason or another the girls keep fighting over literally everything, someone is tired or cranky or sometimes I just can't let go of all the things that distract me and really be present...

But though I know that there's no planning of these things, I'm definitely going to try to optimalize circumstances and bring as much relaxed sunny Sunday morning as possible into the rest of our week... Now all I can hope is that the girls get what I mean and are ready to join me! ;) 

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And so weeks flew by without a single post on this blog... Wish I could say I've been working on a real big project or something, but I haven't ;). Been working on lots of small ones though, like many custom orders and some new designs. And there was a nice photoshoot, that required lots and lots of tidying up, in particular in my studio. So everything looked organized again here, at least for a day or two.

But mainly I've been focusing on stuff away from the computer, like reading lots of books in bath, spending as much time as possible in the garden, and on creating some new healthy food habits. So now I spend half of my time in the kitchen preparing all kinds of good food... But please don't expect this blog to turn into some sort of food blog, there are already so many good ones and I've never been particularly good at nor interested in taking pictures of what I cook (I just always find it so hard to imagine that people can find the time and energy to style and take pictures of their meals, I always just want to eat them immediately ;)).

Also I've been writing some guest posts on the Kleine Sam blog (in Dutch), you can find them here and here.

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It's not always easy, taking these first steps...

Sitting on the floor is much more agreeable...

And walking on your knees is fast and fairly comfortable as well, so why change?

But hey, I'm a little warrior...

And I'm part of this great big evolution thing...

So I just keep exploring...

And I know that I have every reason to be proud!

(and please forgive my mom her ventriloquism ;))

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Something kind of peculiar happened here the other day. You know, one of those 'happens-only-like-once-a-year' things: both girls took a considerable nap at the same time.

(I remember talking to an aunt at a party a little while ago, who has two now grown-up kids who differ exactly one year in age.

'Oh my, how did you do that, a young baby and a one-year-old at the same time?' I asked her, 'that must have been such hard work.'

'Oh no, not at all,' she cheerfully replied. 'I just put them both to bed for naps at the same time, and then I had all those hours to myself. It was so very practical!'

Well, maybe that's just the memory being a bit delusional -this by the way is the same generation of moms and aunts that casually keep telling me that they always went grocery shopping in the nearby village while their kids napped in bed on their own ('they slept for hours and never woke up anyway, so very practical!')- but nevertheless it made me wonder why it seems such a law of nature here that when one daughter is tired and ready for a nap, the other one is always bursting with energy...)

Anyway, both girls were fast asleep, and all of a sudden I had some time on my hands. Of course I should have used this unexpected moment to do some housekeeping, I can't say the house wasn't whispering and begging 'Do it! I could use some of that!' to me. But instead I chose to spend my time on something I like, you know something like this, putting all the sofa pillows in the right order and such. And since I had actual time, I could even throw some blankets on the sofa as well. Oh joy!

After I'd had my moments of pillow reorganizing fun (really, it's stronger than me ;)), it was time for a different kind of fun again: a happy Julie had woken up and was ready for play.

Of course her joys were of a whole different kind: how fun, those cups and teapot on the table, that kind of thing usually isn't within reach! (They're photo props Julie, photo props!)

Slamming porcelain cups against one another and on the floor is fun, such interesting sounds...

... but throwing things on a completely empty living room floor -about as rare as two kids napping at the same time- is even a bigger joy!

So my girl started throwing toys around her like a happy little maniac, with an enthusiasm that did seem a little over the top if you ask me... (but what can I say, she may think the same thing when she sees me reorganizing pillows ;))

... and then within just a few moments, everything was back to normal again (but at least I still have the pictures ;)).

 

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What do kids actually really play with a lot? After over three years of having children I still can't really tell. Maybe I've always had overly high expectations of toys and the way young children play with them. I still remember how surprised I was that it took my baby months to become even the slightest bit interested in the simplest of toys. Somehow I had always had this irrational idea that babies start playing with rattles and such almost straight from the womb... I guess I'd sort of expected them to come into existence cheerfully rattling with a toy in their hands ;).

But none of my babies ever played longer with any of all the baby toys that we surrounded them with for longer than a few minutes. Actually they never enjoyed playing in the playpen by themselves at all, and always preferred personal interaction and being held far above playing with toys, no matter how well-designed or visually stimulating those were. God knows I tried: especially with Rosa I kept bringing in new things, because I kept thinking that now I finally must had found that one great toy that would keep her satisfied on her own for longer than thirty seconds. And then she looked at it once, pushed the buttons twice, threw it away and started calling for me again ;).

Now that they're a bit older the girls do play with their toys, in particular with dolls and with their shop, but still they hardly play with one specific toy for longer than a few minutes, and still they prefer me to be involved in their play most of the time. And though of course I'm pleased they find me such an interesting playmate (I seem to be extremely good at imaginary picnics and such ;)), sometimes I do like a few minutes to myself. And besides that, I think they have to learn that I can't be around constantly to play with them.

So though by now I learnt that this one miracle toy that will keep them busy for hours (or at least for ten minutes ;)) doesn't seem to exist, and that my girls are much more into fantasy play and social interaction than into very specific toys, I'm still keen to find nice and stimulating things for them to play with. And lately we discovered something absolutely great: kinetic sand.

Kinetic sand is a super nice material that you can play with indoors, I guess it can best be described as something inbetween sand, dough and clay. This little video gives an impression of what it's like. The sand feels super soft in your hands and is both loose and sticky at the same time. It's not tough or heavy as clay sometimes can be, so for young kids like Julie it's super easy to play with. And Rosa and all other kids that come to play here enjoy building and 'baking' with it, for hours literally!

We have the kinetic sand from Waba fun that's being shown in the video (we bought ours here), but I believe there are also other brands and types available with names such as moon sand, delta sand and kinetic sand. And apparently you can also make a similar type of sand yourself using simple ingredients such as flour, sand, water and baby oil. I haven't tried that yet, but some DIY recipes can be found here.

The mess it creates is not as bad as you might think: because the sand sticks together you can easily wipe all the sand together within less than a minute. Only the sand that ends up on the floor is slightly more tricky to recollect, because it easily mixes with crumbles and dust that's on the floor, and in our case a bit of it always ends up in the openings between the boards of our wooden floor. But after many hours of play we still have most of the kilogram of sand that we bought left, and when it's time to restock we'll definitely go for a five kilogram pack!

Just to make it clear, because it doesn't always seem that obvious anymore on blogs, I have no commercial interest whatsoever here, I'm just very enthusiastic about the way the girls and their friends play with this kinetic sand. And let's not forget about myself, this is by far the best 'kid toy' that I've been forced to play with for hours lately ;).

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It's not that I don't collect hundreds of images of perfectly calm children's rooms on my pinterest boards, you know those gorgeous, serene rooms with the soft grey and mint Ferm living colors. Rooms like this one, and this one, or this one. It's not that I don't love and admire those rooms. And it's not that I don't regularly plan to decorate some parts of our house a bit more like that. I mean: it shouldn't be too difficult, should it? Some harlequin wallpaper in grey or mint, some simple furniture in light wood, white or grey, and a few minimal pops of color in the details. I could do that, right?

But each time again I discover I can't do it. I just love all the colors there are, and I'd hate to have to stick to only two or three of them because that's my chosen color palette. And it's not just 'all the colors' that I love: I also love all the furniture, and all the prints, and all the artwork... Well of course not all of it, but there's a lot to love and I just can't choose one style or atmosphere.

I remember my sister and I used to go shopping together when we were younger, and then after having seen a few shops, she could say: 'No, I don't think there's anything I like in the shops right now, this season's styles and colors are just not for me.' At the same time I had already seen at least five things in each shop that I wanted to buy, in like five different styles... I have just always liked so many different things and can see something I love everywhere.

But the funny thing is that when you love everything and don't stick with a specific style, you end up with one anyway: the 'a-bit-of-this-and-a-bit-of-that, only-not-in-bits-but-in-large-amounts' style. A few years ago they used to have this comforting term 'eclectic' for it, but I don't seem to hear that very often anymore. Maybe the trend analysts have by now discovered that all these eclectic folks are just people that are really bad at choosing ;). Anyway, I'm pretty sure that eclectic will always be my middle name.

Of course I'm curious whether my girls will become eclectic color lovers just like me. I do hope so, otherwise they must have had a pretty bad time in their rooms so far ;). Rosa was never really developing quicker than average in anything, but there's one specific thing that the people at daycare kept mentioning: she was extremely fast in discerning and naming all the different colors. Well, that's one thing one can't practice in a room with only two or three colors ;).

But who knows, I guess within a few years Rosa wants to become more involved in decorating her own room. So maybe then we'll finally have a room in grey, mint green and a hint of ochre!

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The one moment such a big girl already, the next moment a baby girl again, just for a little while. I'm not too nostalgic about wanting a wee baby again, I'm welcoming all the fun and interesting steps she takes and for myself I'm welcoming these steps towards some more freedom and time for myself again. But the feeling of this big baby asleep on your lap is still such a good one!

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Rosa is starting to develop more and more interest in playing in her own room, and Julie loves to play there as well. So I'm planning to make some small adjustments to make the room less 'just a bedroom' and more of a room for play. I'm still looking for a nice soft carpet so that the floor will be comfortable to play on.

I was thinking about adding a small desk or table and chair to create an extra corner for play. Besides that I guess I shouldn't bring too many more toys in, if we still want her to go to sleep when it's bedtime ;).

We already hung some of the little collages and drawings that Rosa and I made together on one of the walls. I thought this would be a fun thing to do together, but what I had underestimated was that Rosa resembles me more than I realized: she had such exact ideas about where she wanted to put every specific piece of paper that we almost ended up in a fight when I didn't hang things exactly the way she had in mind... Can't say I don't feel her! ;) 

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About Ninainvorm

My name is Nina, I'm a ceramics and paperwares designer and mom of Rosa and Julie. This blog is about making, living, liking, loving and so much more!

Want to get in touch? You can always send me an email through ik_ben_nina@hotmail.com.

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