Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

The Guilt Begins…

Last Saturday we bought a crib for Bolliti, and the excitement of the event kicked off in high gear all kinds of ambitious decoration plans for the nursery.

Since baby bedding appears to cost almost as much as a crib, and because I love sewing and have big plans of a contemporary decor and specific color scheme for our baby’s room, I decided to make all the bedding myself. That triggered long hours of web searching for fabric with contemporary designs.

I also decided that this time I would really paint a mural. I’ve talked about ideas for a mural for the longest time, but what better chance to put the words to action than this!… That also got me shopping for ideas and inspiration. I started a lightbox at istockphoto with illustrations that inspired me for whatever reason, one of which keeps resonating in my head and I dare to say, probably will make it above the baby’s crib. Wanna see it?

With all the chatter of thoughts and ideas racing in my head, it took me hours to finally fall sleep on Saturday. All that got interrupted next day when I pulled out my room graphs and scale furniture and started planning the different moves of furniture that would take to clear my office for the baby’s room.

In my original plan (months ago) I had thought that Joey’s office would be the perfect room for a nursery. However, because my office is in a nicer room, Joey has slowly but surely guilted me into giving it to Bolliti. So Sunday I start planning the new rooms trying to figure out how to stick all my office stuff into the art room, and after hours of attempts I realize that there is no possible way to turn that room into my office without making it look like poop and having to do some major shift of stuff again whenever we decide to sell this house in order to show that room, the dining room, and the entry hallway well. The room is that problematic.

So I pout to Joey, telling him how hedious our house will look to visitors as soon as they step in, and how hard it will be for me to lose all the storage I currently enjoy in my office. He suggests that maybe it would make more sense for him to move to the art room. Although I resist the idea at first (Joey’s work area can get pretty messy very quickly and stay horrible for weeks), I eventually accept. So cool: I’ll keep my office, Joey will move downstairs, and the baby will sleep in the smaller room across my office. Perfect!

But Joey reminds me that I have “the best room in the house”… His office faces west and it can get pretty hot in the afternoons. He drops a “maybe you can move to my office and leave your room to little J” (he drops the baby’s tentative first name, making it all extremely personal). “Just consider it”… Joey talks about J’s little nappies, and other factors that make me feel guilty.

So I consider it. It could work, but it will be a major downsize of my space. Will the baby really appreciate it? I mean, come on!… This bollo is not going to be able to enjoy the mountain view out of his window for years. Plus, I’ve read several times how Dooce covers her child’s entire window with foil to make the room darker, just so that mom and dad can enjoy an extra couple minutes of sleep in the mornings. My office faces straight to the east: It’s pure sunshine in the morning. Give the baby the brightest room in the house, with the best view, only to have to cover it with foil later?… And then, that’s a lot of unused space for the three pieces of nursery furniture we’re planning on having. I’ll miss the space, but the baby won’t really use it — not for a while.

I try nursery layouts in my office and realize that the room doesn’t even allow for the perfect layout I wanted: That where as soon as I open the door I see the baby. All layouts end up with the crib in some less than optimal place and a lot of wasted space. I mentally decide to keep my room and give the baby Joey’s office. I tell Joey all my reasons… Suddenly I feel a little “puc” in my belly: It’s Bolliti…

—Mommy… I hear that you’re not going to give me your room. I’m so disappointed…

—But baby, I just don’t think it’s worth it

—Daddy tells me that you want to put me in the hottest, noisiest room in the house

—We’ll install a cute ceiling fan, and the room really is as noisy as any other room in the house. We’ll give you a lot of white noise… I’ll paint a little bird over your crib… It’s going to be so pretty!

—Yeah, sure… Fine: I’ll be ok… I just thought that moms were supposed to give their children THE BEST

—Believe me Bolliti. There will be plenty of opportunities for me to take the bread out of my mouth and give it to you. My life has already changed since you took possession of my body.

And yet, with all the reasoning, I kept feeling so terribly guilty.

That, until I talked to Joey again today. He nodded to all of my arguments, and finally ended the discussion by saying: “Good. I didn’t want to have to move all your office stuff anyway. That’s the best reason of all”.


  1. On , Petie wrote:

    I love the design. Did you know that birds are one of my favorite things? Joelle’s bedding has a bird design and one of the reasons why I almost choose Ava for Elise’s name is because it means “like a bird.” If I were to have continued in school with biology – I would have focused on birds. Anyway, random – I know. Don’t feel guilty about not giving up your office – like you said, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to give, give, give, and give some more. Don’t raise the bar too high already! ;)

  2. On , Maria wrote:

    Funny… Joey also loves birds.
    I like them, but he’s truly fascinated by them…

    Before we knew the sex of the baby I made a comment about not being able to paint flowers in the baby’s room if it turned out to be a boy. Joey was all “Why not? I love flowers!”. So I’ve tried not to make my design choices based on gender stereotypes, and that birdie came out so perfect… I love him!

  3. On , marla wrote:

    sorry, maria. your office works better.

    I like 1 and 4 and lean toward 4 because the chair in the corner is nice when you walk by the room and your crib on the far wall and not by the vent on the floor will work better for the baby and your ability to run in in the middle of the night to make sure he’s breathing without turning corners and bumping hips on any other piece of furniture. LOL.

    Also, 4 allows you to have a great work flow for dropping off the ton of laundry you will suddenly have after the baby is born.:)

    I love the mural, BTW!

  4. On , Maria wrote:

    You’ killing me! : )
    Baby in Joey’s office (2) gives me the most immediate access and looksie to the bollo — without personal sacrifices. Space may be tight though… I’m kind of waiting for the crib to come so we can put it together and then really see the space situation. These paper graphs are helpful, but don’t always work in 3 dimensions.

    “Ton of laundry”, huh?…
    How can those tiny socks and t-shirts amount to a big pile of laundry?… Don’t answer… I guess I’ll soon find out ;)

  5. On , mandarine wrote:

    We had prepared a nice little room with butterflies and pumpkins, but we could not manage to move the baby there before a long time. Apparently, the little one valued proximity to his mother way over any decoration: the crib stayed in our room for six months.

    It is not so much the weight of the laundry as the number of items: 5 kg of adult clothes is maybe 10 items; 5 kg of baby gear is 1000 items — it is a line drying / ironing / folding / tidying nightmare. We already skip the ironing part, and I would love to have just a big basket where I can toss all the clean (crumpled) baby stuff at random to save on the folding and sorting, but my wife thinks otherwise.

  6. On , Maria wrote:

    I have thought about that since I read your post about co-sleeping. BTW, have you seen this? I don’t know if it would last for six months, but it sure looks cool.

    Ironing baby clothes… Don’t see it happening here. Heck, I already have a hard time ironing my cotton or linen clothes (so I wear them a lot less than I would like). I’m totally with you on the basket idea (I hate and procrastinate folding clothes), except I would want to have not one basket, but many, so at least I can sort by type of thing (t-shirts, socks, etc)… Kind of like I currently do with my underwear and socks.

  7. On , mandarine wrote:

    Yes, I had seen the side-cot arrangement. It is nice, but we had a large bed and pushed one side to the wall, it was just as nice.
    I also thought of a hammock arrangement: the baby would have a hammock ten inches or so above the middle of our bed. We would be able to rock him from below very easily, and there would be no danger of falling. In case he asks for food, we could just lower the hammock with a cable and pulley, and there he would be, just at the right place. Maybe I will file a patent for the concept ;-)

  8. On , Maria wrote:

    Ha! I’d like to see a prototype of the hammock… it sounds crazy and NOT at the same time.

  9. On , mandarine wrote:

    FYI (if you’re still there): I have published the co-sleeping hammock post at

  10. On , Mafe Maria » First Weeks into Son-Rise wrote:

    […] I finally gave up my office (guess it was destined for Joaquin anyway), and we set up the “Romper […]