We called the baby "Fenway" and I was so sick and disgusting-looking that I was 100 percent certain only a boy could cause me such grief. My good friend Jim Hester had the opposite viewpoint. Under duress -- it wasn't that hard to get it out of him -- he told me his theory.
I'll never forget it. We were walking down a tunnel from the Statehouse to lunch in the mall. Jim was a linebacker back in the day and still had the imposing physique to prove it. My pre-natal majesty dwarfed him. I was huge. Not in a good way. And unfortunately, I'd not grown taller. Just wider.
Anyway, I was pestering him to tell me why he was convinced that I was having a girl. I pushed my stringy hair out of my sweaty eyes and puffed out the words: "But why, Jimmie. Why a girl?"
"Well," he said, his eyes a little wide and edging away from me. "When a woman is having a boy, she glows. Her hair is beautiful. She just has this beautiful look about her."
He skittered to the far wall. "You," he said. "Are having a girl."
I remember laughing out loud.
A few months later, we had to rename Fenway.
We hadn't painted the nursery to replicate the Red Sox' ball field. Jeff wasn't as convinced about the gender as Jim was, but his rationale was that he didn't know what this kid might like. So we shouldn't force a princesses or sports theme on it. Instead, we had each of the formerly paneled walled painted a different color and coordinated the bedding (hand made by Aunt Donna) and such to flow.
When Ali was 5 or so, we put up a flowery kind of border and switched out the curtains, rugs and quilt. She'd had Nemo stickers before. Later on she decided she needed a new look but was in a "green" phase. So she recycled her dum dum lollipop wrappers and had filled up most of the southern wall with them. Adhered with Scotch tape, they didn't look bad.
But in essence, for 12 years, the basics of the room haven't changed. We're spending a good portion of this weekend changing that. The room is now coated in white primer. We spent most of the day Friday sraping off that pretty little border. About 57 hours into it, I remembered the instructions as if I was Sheldon Cooper with his eiditic memory. I swear I saw the words on the paper: removes easily with water.
It went faster after that. I let Jeff take over with the power sander yesterday. I tried to convince Ali that wallpaper will work just fine, but she's enamoured with the idea of painting.
It's been a fun project, with more than a few walks down memory lane -- bringing her home; listening to her cry at night and Jeff insisting that it would be better NOT to bring her into our bed (yes he was right but that was hard); rocking her and reading her little books to her; Grammie settling into those spots and snuggling; setting up the crib; the toddler bed; the real bed; the bunk bed; measuring her height (we may have to re-create that timeline that's just hit 5' 1"; the first time she shut the door and asked if she could just have some alone time.
A lot has happened in that little space.
Today we might get a couple of the walls with color. She's sticking to the different colored walls, but adding chalkboard paint to one so she can write notes to herself. She's got zebra sheets and a blanket and I might have to get that rug from Target when we're done.
We were all working away late yesterday with the first coat of primer when she said, "You know, this is kind of cool."
"What's cool, honey?'
"Us. Doing this together," she said.
And another little spot on memory lane was born.