“I wanna baby, I wanna baby, I wanna baby!,” my mother-in-law squealed at the top of her lungs as we stood outside a Los Angeles restaurant late one Saturday night four years ago.
“So get knocked up,” I responded placidly, undisturbed by the absurdity of a grown woman having a hissy fit.
Yes, to most, my mother-in-law’s level of involvement in our life together seems inappropriate. But my mother-in-law is completely inappropriate and, well… she’s mine. When I married my husband, I effectually married her too. I knew what I was getting myself into and after seven and a half years of dating, “The Outlaw,” as my painter called her, was part of the package.
Was I always so accepting of our, ahem, her little arrangement? A year and a half into our relationship, Mike and I were home from college and staying at his parents’ house. We were lying in bed when the door suddenly swung open and in walked The Outlaw, who proceeded to climb into bed with us, squealing and clapping with joy. Stunned, horrified, and stuck in the middle, a good foreshadowing of the years to come, I crawled out the other way on all fours. But this was a shining moment for my mother-in-law, a story that more than a decade later she recounts with pride, while I wonder if perhaps therapy could have helped me get to the root of whatever emotional issues I have that forced me to stay with someone else’s meddling Jewish mother that doesn’t simply lack boundaries, but bulldozes over ones that most would innately believe are set in stone…like loudly stating that my “headlights” were on at a family friend’s chilly backyard party six months into Mike and my very fragile relationship. She’ll embarrass you into submission if she has to.
The truth is I already have overly needy emotional issues with my own mom, who I call fifteen times a day, despite an inordinate level of neurosis on her part that has clearly begun to rub off on me. Why would I have exacerbated an already unhealthy situation with the coupling of two mothers who would become friends and get branded with the singular nickname “Mom Squared”? (Two separate lunatics melded into one completely insane human being.)
When I decided to leave a job I loved to take a daunting leap of faith, I received a little pewter, swinging door in the mail from The Outlaw that reads, “Another opens.” It has. And The Outlaw, like my own mom (thank you for the chicest illustrations ever), was behind me.
Sweetlips & The Bean, my twin one-year-old sons and Mom Squared’s greatest wish are now tearing up the joint, including their safari themed nursery that I lovingly designed.
Filling the room with unexpected and quirky pieces for my new baby boys to spend their first days was a labor of love (pun intended). Have fun with every room of your home!
Here are some quick shots…plus a little inspiration to get the look:
Apparently, while very chic, the consensus was that angry monkeys are quite scary to children. I still can’t see why two baby boys would not take pleasure in metallic gold wallpaper of any kind, but the elephant paper thankfully prevailed and ultimately became the centerpiece for the boys’ safari-themed nursery.
From the lush electric blue velvet chair and ottoman to the bamboo and string Roman shadesto the John Robshaw fabric bolster, all of the upholstery in the room was custom designed. It allowed us to not only have fun creating every inch of the nursery to our vision, but we were also able to recycle the coziest (and ugliest) chair in the world. Custom Pillows from Garland Collects Maison – Coming Soon!
One more note: Like the wallpaper, a great deal of the pieces in the room were not meant for a nursery. Just as I do for Garland Collects Maison, I searched for special vintage and antique pieces that could continue on with us, even as the boys outgrew them. By strapping 2 changing pads to it, we turned a 1940s Pierre Bartet dining console with lion head hardware , found on 1stdibs.com, into a changing table that will one day be transitioned back. It looks beautiful and we will want to take it with us wherever we go. (A sturdy bar cart will work too (see below!)). While this Sergio Bustamante brass and copper parrot is also from 1stdibs, I accidentally stumbled across the one in the nursery in a dusty antique shop off a dirt road in central California.
And some inspiration in orange:
1. SHELVES 2. CHANDELIER 3. SHEEPSKIN RUG 4. BOOKENDS 5. WALLPAPER (COURTESY OF CHINOISERIECHIC.BLOGSPOT) 6. GARLAND COLLECTS MAISON VINTAGE BRASS MOTHER AND CHILD GIRAFFE FIGURES 7. BAR CART 8. BLANKET 9. BASKETS 10. CRIB