Less is more. Where less is defined as > 0 and more is greater than, or equal to less. Except when it is less than less, because less is more.

Taking this to its IKEAcle conclusion, we now have a small child sleeping in a small room decorated in very few colours (white, white, white and FABLER). We will soon have an even smaller child, for whom we have made a larger room available, decorated in elephants in custard. Except they won’t usually be sleeping in there: they will usually be sleeping in a basket, in a room with us. Until that is, the basket gets too small or the child gets too large or they learn to snore.

The custardy room is sheltering all kinds of newborn and labour paraphernalia. (This paraphernalia, because it is for a very small person, naturally takes up a huge volume). In the process of nesting, we have also had to make rather grand alterations to a third room which usually houses guests, drying, old telephones and second-hand furniture. Not all at the same time. This larger room has got to be emptied even further.

More than one charity refused to take away the furniture, so we used freecycle instead and made some people very happy (they were a young family the other side of town who needed beds and a Portuguese clan of scary blokes who wanted a wardrobe and could not speak English and brought their own tools). I have a lot of good things to say about freecycle now, despite meeting my first real pirates. The erstwhile guest room with en-suite office facilities has become an office-come-guest-room with nearby toddler. It will need more ‘less’ doing, and to that end I am still decluttering and trying to get on top of admin before any more important banking/car/guarantee things change without me realising. Think Augean stables. In order to make this room flexible and friendly, we are not re-painting (we already did it in white), but are going to buy a nice white IKEA chest of drawers to house things that don’t file in the filing cabinet and a nice white IKEA wardrobe to put duvets and so on into. In time we will need to buy the right kind of sofa-bed too, but as it happens we can probably manage with the inflatable king-size bed for now. When you are trying to go for the ‘less is more’ look, there always seems to be more to do. This is wrong in my head, but I can’t work out why.

So – why is the post called ‘Definitions’ ?

Good point. I had thought about writing about how Lily is taking to her new room and graduating to a real bed. She hasn’t yet realised you can get out of it yourself after you have been put to sleep. I am hoping this continues for some time. (We did finally install a stair gate, now that she is 2 and 1/3). She is doing her usual trick of facing Mecca, or perhaps Jerusalem or New York or Norwich after being tucked in. And she loves to have all her favourite dolls and teddies around her. Ergo:

Pillow: A place to keep many soft toys while you lie transversely in bed with no covers on.

Guard-rail: What you have to climb over to get into bed, using a straight body and pivoting motion.

Underthebed: Where nappies go to sleep.

Curtains: The pretty things covering the blinds which only naughty people play with.

Letters: Colourful magnets stuck to a metal sheet for learning to spell important words like dda.

Cushions: For stroking and saying ‘ahhhh’. (Compare cats, babies, books with fur in).

Lambskin rug: The place to rub your face when you get out of bed, or need a nappy, or generally want to be silly. Also using for tucking in excess soft toys (see Pillow, above).

Shelf: Out of bounds. Houses pretty things, mostly called ‘What’sthat?’

What’sthat?: Anything not yet defined. Applies to somewhere in the region of 30 items/noises/smells per day. Serious answers not always necessary.

Stories: Books mummy once thought were a good idea, until they became staple reading night after night. They seem to be getting longer, the older the child gets. This is Worrying, as we haven’t yet moved up to Chapters.

Handle: Part of the door which daddy took off to danish oil and was elsewhere (calamitous distress) for the duration, but is now FIXED and needs pointing out each time the door is used. Thank goodness.

Door: FIXED by daddy (see Handle). And also a bit by Lily, who held a screwdriver very capably throughout.

That’s enough definitions for now. I had wanted to say more, but should probably have said a lot less.

More or less.


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