Four weeks before my daughter was born we were frantically nearing the end of an extensive home renovation. The dream home we worked so hard to build would be our 'forever' home, one to raise a family in. Six months worth of messy, dusty work had been bad enough, but those last little details of which shade of paint we should go for were just painful. I mean seriously, what shade DO we paint the new bedroom? Vanilla Mist? Just Walnut?
Then two weeks later, when we brought that darling bundle home, she caught mummy off guard and poo'd up that perfect shade of Just Walnut. It's all been downhill from there.
We've all read the stories of home-alone teens naively posting on Facebook that they're having a party and 300 delinquents turning up and trashing the place. Well that process seems to have begun for us, except she's younger and we're here, watching her as she does it.
As I sit typing amongst an army of plastic fantastic (the majority of which I might add I have actually paid good money for) I realise the extent to which our stylish pad has become a giant toy box of garish monstrosity.
The places we planned to feel light and spacious are now crammed to the hilt with half the contents of Toys R Us. Those designer nooks around the house are now peppered with Mega Bloks and the merchandise of a certain precocious little pig. The palette has gone from one of peace and calm to that of a psychedelic migraine.
The toys themselves are the majority of the problem. I've seen the beautiful, old-school wooden kind. Maybe I've just bought the wrong ones, because so far they have not stood the test of time against the incredible hulk force that is my toddler.
We have a bucket full of official merchandise. Ones that when I look at their stupid faces a little bit of me dies that I have bought into it all. Then there are the inherited gifts and presents. 'We thought she'd love this!'. Ones that make the type of inane noise that could be used as a means of torturing for state secrets. Even better - we don't seem to be able to find the 'off' button for them. Finally, the ones that are so creepy looking that I have to turn them to face the wall should I find myself sat alone with it after my daughter has gone to sleep.
I'm about to start a massive spring clean and de-clutter to try and accommodate the two grown ups that apparently live in this house too. I do it in the hope that at the end of a stressful day of tantrums and battles over mealtimes, our home begins to feel like more of a sanctuary again and less like a soft play area.
I want her to play, be stimulated and enjoy having the things she loves around her, but does everything have to be so damn gaudy looking? I mean, let's just dial the saturation levels down a bit and let mummy have some ecru once in a while?
My only solace right now is that one day, when she finds her own inimitable style, one that she takes time and pride in, I'll take pleasure in the fact that I won't even have to try that hard to cramp hers too.Suggest a correction