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Last year when I was pregnant with my second child Marlo and agonizing over the tiniest details of her nursery, I remember conducting random word searches on Flickr for inspiration and stumbling across this incredible arrangement of plates on a wall:


CC image courtesy of shareski on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/shareski/2098598077/

That sounds a little menacing, doesn’t it? PLATES ON A WALL. Like you show up late to a meeting, your skirt accidentally tucked into your pantyhose, and you’re all SORRY! PLATES ON A WALL AGAIN!

That is going to be my excuse for everything now: The plates. On the wall.

I found that photograph and others like it so inspiring that I wanted to decorate one wall of the nursery with a delicate set of pink plates, an idea quickly squashed by my annoyingly logical husband. Breakable plates in an infant’s room? Did I really want to see my child bleed and possibly sever her carotid artery?

I guess there is a reason I keep him around.

So I opted for something much more infant-friendly, or so I thought. My first child Leta was such a sedentary kid and was never interested in outlets or dangerous cords. We never had to child-proof anything with her around because she was much more interested in deciphering letters and words. I mean, there we were at an amusement park waiting to ride a carousel when she turned to me and said, “Can we please go back to the hotel so that I can read my books?”

Is that not the cutest little geek ever?

I found a set of whimsical magnetic flower art that I installed in a dramatic flourish up and over the dresser in the nursery:


The dresser that I intended to use as the changing table, yes. You can probably see where this is going. Your jaw just hit the floor, I know. But you have to understand! If this had been Leta’s nursery she would have stared up at the wall, arms calmly at her side studying the intricate way the flowers seemed to burst forth from the wall! How mathematical!

But Marlo is no Leta. Marlo is very interested in touching and grabbing anything potentially fatal: glasses full of water, our phones, forks at the dinner table. How many times I have had to pry the remote control out of her fingers before she has swallowed it whole. Yummy, yummy channel changer!

And so this is what that section of the nursery looks like now:


Lesson learned: PLATES! ON THE WALL!


Design Inspiration

170 Responses

  1. Lily says:

    I have a question that may have an obvious answer that I've missed. Why couldn't you have just moved the changing pad to the other side of the dresser, so she couldn't reach the flowers?

    • Melissa says:

      Probably because she's right handed. Turning it around would mean doing all of the "work" with your left hand, and that's really hard to do… I have young kids, so I'm speaking from experience!

  2. Imelda says:

    Too funny! Beautiful but impractical that close to a changing table and babies little hands.

  3. ParentopiaDevra says:

    We had the same problem. First child if left on the living room floor with legos would still be there in the same spot 3 hours later. Second child left on the living room floor with legos could be found seconds later atop the glass kitchen table attempting to fly. We've had to parent the second very differently than the first. I think we spent his toddlerhood running around like maniacs being pro-active and preventative. I wish I could've counted it as cardio.

    Was great seeing you again at Mom 2.0. Your shoes were indeed fierce.

  4. rhaya says:

    The "after" picture just made me smile. I could easily see this scenario happening to me.

    (And ditto Michelle's comment.)

  5. @dooce says:

    I have to agree, who is this Armstrong woman, and why is she allowed to have an opinion about anything?! AMIRITE?!!

  6. Amy says:

    Funny..as I was thinking about what to do with my daughter's room, I remembered your flowers in Marlo's and wondered how they were holding up. I guess I know now!

    Out of my 3, only my middle child was the one who wasn't very grabby-grabby. The other two? They had (have, in the case of my 15 month old) to have their hands on EVERYthing, and with the youngest EVERYthing must be tasted.

  7. abi says:

    Oh, do I relate to this. We could only decorate the top half of our Christmas tree this year, up out of reach of our newly-mobile toddler. Heather, if you have any good tips for how to keep a kid-friendly house without looking like your home was designed by Lego – or if you just have more what-not-to-do stories – I'd love to hear 'em.

  8. Rita Arens says:

    I remember visiting my friend Cindy's house while she was still pregnant and my daughter was about six months old. She'd installed a shelf about twelve inches above the changing table. And I thought, oh, Nelly. When her son started smacking his noggin into the shelf every five minutes six months later, she moved it, too. Kids, man. They totally mess with the decor.

  9. Kittay says:


    O-M-G, Dooce. They were quick to come on here and HATE, weren't they?! Keep doing what you do, girlfriend!

  10. ndmuse says:

    Believe it or not, not everyone knows who you are.

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