While sitting half asleep trying to take but a single solitary sip of morning coffee this morning, I allowed my mind to wander. What would it be like to wake up to a quiet apartment in the morning? To miss the alarm of children calling my name and let a brightening room coax me out of bed instead? To be the first one up and to brew a cup of coffee only to slip back into bed with nary a small person demanding I get out again? And sure, a quiet morning in Brooklyn would be lovely, but while I’m daydreaming, why not a blue-sky morning in Beaulieu Sur Mer? Why not a morning of padding out to a lounge-lined pool and getting croissant crumbs stuck in belly button while finishing a novel pool-side?
and a decadent body oil. (Getting dressed in actual clothes not required.)
In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are three things to do to ensure that parents of small kids—especially those who are currently or recently pregnant—have the support they need in light of the ongoing maternal health crisis in this country.
To ensure that community-based organizations are included in the New York State Doula Pilot program for Medicaid reimbursement, sign the #OurTimeIsNow petition.
To address Black maternal health inequity: Support the Black Mamas Matter Alliance with a monetary donation. Learn more by downloading their toolkit, which outlines a human rights based approach to maternal health and identifies the rights of pregnant and birthing parents and the corresponding role of government to ensure safe and respectful maternal health care.
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It’s a vulnerable, if decidedly lucky, exercise to photograph a room in the place you call home and share it with perfect strangers. Especially when the room belongs to your kids. Especially when you want the photos to show the room as you yourself see it, but more than that, how you feel in it, which is peaceful and cozy and safe. How to convey in pictures, the particular sense of a weight being lifted when, at the end of the day, you ease onto the bed with your four-year-old to read one last bedtime story?
Green trees outside our attic apartment throw heavy shadows in this time of year, and I tend to focus my lens on small details, but I hope I’ve captured at least the sense of the place in these shots. Over the past year I’ve been strategizing ways to make Faye and Silas’s shared room feel a bit more intentional, a bit more homey, and a bit more functional. It’s a privilege to be able to put any thought at all into this sort of thing and even though moving out of our apartment, and immediately back into it this spring was decidedly not something I’d call fun, it did provide us with a good opportunity to assess our things and our space and finally implement a few of the little changes I’d had turning around in my brain. I’ve tried to make a space that feels peaceful, but not austere; childlike, but not cloying.
Here are details, in case they’re useful to anyone who’s curious. This little room is such a joy to be in these days.
+ We choose simple white sheets as the base for our kids’ beds. Silas sleeps very hot and so he’s still sleeping on his crib with just a crib sheet and his baby blanket—but we recently added a pillow and a mattress pad to try to cozy up the bed a bit and—hopefully—encourage him to sleep comfortably in it for a while longer until we decide what to do about a bigger kid bed in this space.
+ On Faye’s bed, we traded a feather duvet for a simple cotton blanket. For now, she’s sleeping without a top sheet—we just wash the blanket every other week or so and switch out the fitted sheet for a clean one weekly. The blanket makes for clean lines, easy bed making, and a cool kid in a small space that’s always a bit on the warm side.
+ On each bed, we added a bit of color in the form of cheery linen pillowcases from local shop, Collyer’s Mansion. (The bolster pillows on Faye’s bed are several years old from Muji. The small walnut-dyed pillow on Silas’s bed was one of my very first Etsy purchases, from the since-closed shop of Liane Tyrrel.)
+ The new-to-us tall gray wardrobe has proved incredibly helpful in terms of creating storage in this skinny room. (Lots more about it this way.) We made the little rack below before Silas was born, using a found piece of one-by-four and three iron hooks from Rejuvenation.
The most impactful change in the room visually has been swapping out two bright navy striped rugs for rugs that are brighter and softer. My internet friend, Kim Woods, of Willaby, works with Amish rug makers near her Ohio hometown to weave upcycled and zero-waste rag rugs. She sent along a few for us to try in our space. We chose the striped Oyster rug for this room and the subtle grey stripe is exactly what I’d hoped for in this room.
+ Taking everything down from our walls gave us a nice opportunity to start fresh. Lots of the art in our apartment falls into this graphic, black, and white category and when we had everything lined up against a blank wall during our move, it occurred to me that it might be nice to have it all live together for a while. I was nervous about a gallery wall overwhelming a small space, but it actually makes the room—and Faye’s bed in particular—feel cozy but not crowded.
+ We changed the ceiling lamp in this room a few years ago; this is the Large Alabax in white from Schoolhouse Electric.
+ Above Faye’s bed is a mobile that I made with seashells and driftwood and two prisms from ABJ Glassworks. Above Silas’s bed is a Haptic Lab Swallow Kite that we found locally at Acorn Toy Shop.
+ Our wooden music ball and Faye’s piggy bank are no longer in stock, but both came from Over The Ocean.
Special thanks to Coyuchi, Collyer’s Mansion, and Willaby for providing the recent bedding and rug updates in this space. Where possible, I’ve made use of affiliate links in this post, which means Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links.
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