My oldest son has always been incredibly laid back. When he was growing up, he wore whatever I bought him to wear, he ate whatever I put on the table, and he tagged along with me wherever I went. Without a complaint. Not so with my youngest. Since he was two years old, he has had very specific things he will eat and not eat, wear and not wear, places he will go and not go, movies he will see and not see. One time when he was three years old he tried to jump out of our moving car when we picked him up from school and told him we were going to see a kids movie at the theater. Most three year old’s would think this was good news! But this was not his idea. It was ours. And he was not on board. And so it has always been difficult to navigate as a family where we are going to eat, what movie we’re going to see, because he feels so passionately for or against certain things. This gets particularly tricky for me as a mom when trying to clothe him (he refuses to wear long pants – even if it’s 19 degrees outside). So I can only buy him shorts, and they have to be a certain type of shorts and they have to fit a certain way or he will not wear them. And did I mention how stubborn he is? He can really stand his ground. For someone like me who loves style and design and fashion and decorating, this has been challenging. I want so badly to pick out his clothes, I want to decorate and organize his room, and I want him to wear a real coat when it’s cold outside. I know you’ve heard the saying “choose your battles” but I have to be really, really choosey. Because battle, this guy can do.
When it comes to designing and decorating his room, it’s mostly a battle I choose not to have any more. Pretty much every time I have done it, I have been met with defiant refusal to even consider that what I have done might be a good thing. So I have mostly given up on the idea that he will ever have a cool room. I’ve tried to involve him in the process to see if that might help, I’ve tried to redecorate while he wasn’t home, I’ve tried to catch him in the right mood, I’ve tried everything I can think of. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to his room that mostly just makes me sad to look at.
Right now, he’s twelve but in a few months he will be thirteen. He’s growing up and I feel like his room needs to grow up with him. At the very least, his room needs to be functional. And right now, it really isn’t. His closet is an unorganized disaster full of things he does not need or use, things which only sit on his closet shelves to collect dust and mock me. He has been mentioning for a while now that he would like curtains on his windows. My mom recently gave me some curtain rods and curtains from my sister’s house that will work perfectly, and he’s even approved them! So I’m thinking this is my opportunity. He’s already expecting a change with the curtains going up, so how about I organize his closet and desk at the same time? And maybe do a few other things…..while he’s at school.
I spent most of the day cleaning out Caleb’s closet. There’s still some organizing to be done there, but this project was all about getting what I could done while he was at school and without spending any money. I had to hem the curtains my mom gave me because of the baseboard heater underneath the window. My husband happened to come home for lunch, so I roped him into installing the curtain rod while he was home. Once I got the curtains up and the closet cleaned out, I moved on to the fun part – decorating. Because my budget was $0.00, I used my ever evolving free styling skills to shop the rest of my house for decor. I took a side table from one of the guest rooms to use as a nightstand, grabbed some artwork from other parts of the house, and “borrowed” a few items that have not gone up for sale yet in my vintage shop. It came together pretty easily and I had high hopes I could convince Caleb that this was a winning situation for all. I picked him up from school and went and bought him a snack before I told him. Once he was fed, I explained what I had done and he seemed mostly concerned with whether or not I had installed the curtains. When I told him I did, he seemed relieved and I was certain I had a chance. He humored me for one day. Bless his heart. When he got home from school the very next day, he systematically removed everything I had put in his room, and moved everything back to the way it was. Oh, and he established a new rule. Whatever he puts on his walls, stays on his walls! It wasn’t a total fail……at least his closet is clean.