Cupcakes and Curtains (posted 24th March 2017)
Asking a child to help design their own bedroom is closely akin to embarking on a mother and child baking session. I assume you know what I mean? No? Bear with me, all will become clear.... (By the way, I was going to call this blog post ‘Wallpaper and Cupcakes’ as we don’t currently have curtains anywhere in our house but I have been reliably informed by a seven year old that alliteration is a powerful tool.....as is onomatopoeia, apparently. Anyway, I have digressed so I’ll rapidly move on.....whooosh....zooom....wheeeeeee)
As mentioned in a previous post, in an effort to appease #1 and #2, who had no desire whatsoever to pander to their parent’s house-moving-itchy-feet, and would have been quite happy staying put in our beautiful previous home, our first design venture on moving into The New Tucker Towers (names have been changed, obvs, what sane rational human being would actually call their residence Something-Towers....?) was to design and decorate #1 and #2’s bedrooms. So, almost as promised, and quite soon after we’d moved (and only just after we had done the hall, living and dining room) we made a start on their bedrooms.
So, back to cupcakes to explain my random analogy. I ask you to picture two scenarios. One, the Baking Scene, where a model mum and #1 and #2 don pristine aprons, pop on some educational Radio 4, and whirl round the kitchen in a (tidy) frenzy of mixing and measuring and stirring and baking and decorating and licking bowls and getting just one little dab of cake mix on the end of the nose and finally popping one, just one, perfect little mini cupcake in their mouths at the end of the process. And the other scene, the Design One. Imagine mother and children amiably sifting through design books and magazines, selecting favourite fabrics and wallpapers together, chatting companionably about colour schemes and accessories. Beautiful visions both summoning up the impression of idyllic family life, yes? Both crazily unachievable, in my opinion.
In reality, #1 doesn’t even enter the kitchen for baking activities, he wants to eat the results, but would probably be just as happy with a Mr Kipling cake that has a bit less of his sister’s snot mixed into it, and in which there would be no need for his participation. My long term ambition on the baking and cooking side of things for #1 is that he will know how to boil an egg before he leaves home. Lofty aspirations, I know. And as for the reality of joining in with interior design decisions for his own room, #1 can barely lift his eyes from his iPad to point at a C&S fishy wallpaper that I have fallen in love with and placed close to his line of vision, instructing him to ‘choose a wallpaper’. So he points at the wallpaper without even glancing up, choice made. No one enlightens him that there was only one wallpaper to choose from, and he didn’t pay enough attention to notice. Job done.
Acquario wallpaper by Fornasetti from Cole & Son
What is really important to #1
And #2. She approaches baking like a child possessed. And like a child used to having servants to clean up after her. Carnage in my (new!) kitchen ensues. Relaxed activity, this ain’t. A seven year old with oven gloves, opening a hide and slide is not on my list of ‘Unstressful Things To Do On A Saturday’. Gritted teeth, counting to 10, looking up at the ceiling for long periods of time and held tongues are called into play, that’s me utilising all my management skills. The stress of the parent and child interactions, through the processes of weighing (“not all over the countertop, cherub”); flour sifting (“try and get it in the bowl, Pickle”); mixing (“careful of Mummy’s KitchenAid, darling, it was quite an expensive bit of kit”); spooning equal quantities of mixture into cases (“oooh, don’t worry about that hefty spoonful, we didn’t really need all the mixture in the cases, did we”); and oven interaction (“*^^@~#”). And decorating. Don’t let me get started on the pain of watching a child decorate. I have to leave the room, so I can mentally prepare myself to come back in after the event with a smile fixed on my face and an exclamation of, “Lovely! Well done!” on my lips whilst looking at car-crash cupcakes that resemble something that has had the entire contents of the cake decorating cupboard (we have one of those in my new kitchen!) thrown at them.
Now imagine the other scene. The Design One. Where mum and #2 are supposed to be chatting through design ideas and inspirations, scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram, choosing colours and wallpaper and fabrics, and no, NOT choosing Frozen themed bed covers and lurid pink fabrics that look like they catch fire very easily. To be fair to #2, she did come up with a few decent ideas; putting wallpaper on the ceiling so she could see it lying in bed (we didn’t do that, her bedroom is a confusion of sloped ceilings and dormer window); displaying all her bits and pieces above the fireplace (she mentioned Pokemon cards, we didn’t do that); and expressing a need to find a way to store all her teddies (though her suggestion was ‘on the floor’, where they obviously did end up). I’m not quite sure that I can accurately transcribe the sound I made when, given the whole Dulux paint card book, she made her paint selection to go with the wallpaper (that we had actually relatively easily agreed on). If you lift one side of your mouth in a kind of sneer and say “mnehhh”, that might come quite close to my response to the baby poo brown colour she picked (so that didn’t go on the wall).
We opted for the Nizam wallpaper from Osborne & Little
What actually happened in #2's bedroom
All in all, I’m not convinced I’ve done much to encourage #1 or #2 to be racing to follow in Mummy’s footsteps and come into the Suna Interior Design fold when they start their working lives. Their memories of Mummy riding rough shod over all their ideas and actually just doing what Mummy intended at the beginning of the process might all be a bit raw. They’ll need counselling. They’ll live in beige boxes and denounce any form of interior design. But at this moment in time, at least their bedrooms ended up looking pretty good...