Design work and diaper changes: Life with a six-month-old!

 

 

There are bloggers who have babies and keep writing blog posts like it ain’t no thang. For me, it was a thang. A big thang.

 

 

A thang I couldn’t quite keep up with.

 

 

The last time we met here, Kai was seven-weeks-old. I didn’t have the free time to scribe posts, so instead I scribbled notes:

 

“There are condiments in the fridge that are older than Kai.”

 

“My dogs know more words than he does.”

 

Ba-dum-ch!

 

 

I pondered how no one can really prepare you for how your life will change when you have a baby. That I found it like being suddenly shoved on stage, with the expectation of giving the performance of a lifetime, when I’d never even seen the script. So I started moving and scrambling (“Dance, monkey! Dance!”) and ad libbing and hoping my audience wouldn’t throw tomatoes (or, in the case of my infant, a Let’s-hope-the-neighbors-can’t-hear-this! tantrum). To use a different metaphor, I realized I must swim or I would sink. Maybe I wasn’t exactly pulling off the Butterfly Stroke, but I was sure dog-paddling like hell!

 

 

 

Baby Kai with chalkboard wings

 

 

 

I questioned why Home Economics classes would think asking students to carry around an uncooked egg would somehow convey the responsibility of having a baby. Hauling around an alarm clock with an inoperable snooze button would be more like it. Drive around with it, take it on walks, hold it with one hand while you use your free hand to shove food in your face. I dare you to try to sleep in the same room with it. Then imagine feeding, burping, and wiping it (all the while stimulating its brain: It’s never too early to start reading to an infant!; Skin-to-skin contact is essential to instill a sense of security!; Narrating every move you make will jump-start brain activity!, Eye contact will foster bonding, but avoid it at all costs when trying to get your infant to fall asleep!; In between nursing, don’t forget to pump, pump, pump!; Have two hours really passed already?; Feeding time!; Crying, why are you crying when you are fed, warm and clean?; The rest of us really enjoy sleep, I promise, people even pay to go on vacation to sleep and it’s not like you have any other pressing duties!; Are you sure you don’t like naps? I’ve heard other babies love naps!; Do other babies cry this much?) all on those five hours of splintered sleep you were “lucky” enough to have had and then, REPEAT.

 

 

Every. Single. Day.

 

 

Why, I wondered, does anyone congratulate a pregnant person? I told JB, we need to tattoo our wrists with “Note to selves: This is hard. Don’t try this again!”  But then the coos and giggles and belly-shaking laughter came and, for the first time, I thought “Oh come on, it wasn’t that bad!” (Nature, you trickster, you. This is how you keep the population going, isn’t it?) And then, just last week, Kai turned six-months-old and we asked ourselves, how did we get here? How did we do it?

 

 

 

Kai on paisley bed cover

 

 

 

The sleep coma has begun to retreat, Kai has discovered he actually enjoys napping and I remember that no matter how hard it seemed, there was never a morning that I didn’t wrench myself from Dream Land to stare fuzzily over at Kai while it sank in that yes, he was here, he was real, and suddenly I’d go all giddy like it was Christmas morning and Kai was the gift.

 

 

Brick fireplace before

See ya, scalloped woodwork. This house is getting a gutting.

 

 

 

Brick fireplace demo

Ah, better already. Wait till you see the fireplace transformation we have planned!

 

 

 

Then I ask, what was so hard about the first few months, exactly? Maybe because lucid thoughts seemed out of reach. I felt like an ESL student trying to string words together. Forming sentences took a frightening amount of effort. Forget “Baby on Board” signs suctioned to car windows, they should say “New Mom Driving”; the day I drove a street I’ve driven hundreds of times and entered an oncoming lane, mistaking it for a turn lane, (thankfully no other cars were around, and JB was there to yell, “What are you doing?”), I took up drinking coffee.

 

 

50s living room before clock on wall

Is it wrong that I actually kind of liked that clock? Probably. Well the client didn’t so it’s on its way out.

 

 

 

50s living room demo

Along with the ceiling (making room for a tray ceiling) and the flooring.

 

 

 

 

The other week I heard that my niece-in-law is pregnant with…drum roll…twins! I was shocked to hear myself exclaim, “That is awesome news! I am so happy for you!” And to truly mean it! I didn’t think of the sleepless nights and the shushing and swaddling and missing reading a book before bed instead of turning out the lights and starting the twenty minute routine of “Shh, it’s okay,” over the roar of a crying baby until he falls asleep. Nope, not a thought of former social lives or how easy it used to be to leave the house without a litany of items (Kai developed a Linus-like relationship with his blankie and it cannot be forgotten–or else!) or how once-upon-a-time we could watch a TV show uninterrupted, or the days when duties like steaming and blending veggies for baby food were not on my To Do list. Nope, all I could think of was how much joy those two babies will bring.

 

 

 

50s kitchen before

You can rest easy, this cabinetry is now gone. Along with that fan, etc.

 

 

 

50s kitchen demo

Walls will soon be bumped out. Yahoo!

 

 

 

On the design front, (I know, that was promised in the title), most of my jobs are either just beginning or in the not-so-beautiful (except to clients and me) stage of demo (we love this stage because it signifies progress!).

 

 

 

 

Demo day reception room

A commercial job I’m working on that became mired in the permit process but will be picking up steam soon!

 

 

 

 

It was with a heavy heart that I resigned from my interior design column, Design Intervention, (this blog’s title is an offshoot) that I’ve written for the Santa Barbara News-Press for the past four years. I loved writing the column and hearing from readers who wrote in, and I had the coolest and kindest (and very patient about my hitting my deadlines at the last minute) editor I could ever ask for, but if I want to give Kai and my clients the attention they deserve, I came to the realization that I had to free up some time somewhere and the time it took to research and write the column was akin to falling down “the rabbit hole”. I plan to reboot some of the best ones into blog posts and give them a new life outside of a recycling center, but that will take some time as well, so we’ll see.

 

 

 

 

Rock wall

There was a moment when the beautiful rock wall might have been the only thing that was going to be kept on this project due to a nasty case of easement contracts. And then, goodwill, logic, and most likely good karma (this client is a very good human being) came through and things are looking up.

 

 

 

 

Cobblestone patio

Thank goodness because this new sandstone cobblestone patio and covered roof is going to be a beautiful space when it’s finished!

 

 

 

 

This week, I was lucky enough to be featured, along with fellow interior designer Michelle Beamer, in the Santa Barbara Independent.

 

Here is a photo. To read the full article, you can click here.

 

 

 

Independent article

You can imagine I did the “happy dance” when I read the headline. 🙂

 

 

 

Besides working on projects for clients, I can hardly wait to share the projects we’re working on at home. I’m excited to show you our new office reveal and the Before and Afters of our house that were finished when we first brought Kai home but I never photographed and posted. We (and by “we”, I mean “JB”) and I began a DIY project to build a custom 96″ long dining table out of Douglas Fir last week and as soon as the last coat of stain and sealer go on and we attach the metal band legs from Etsy, I will share it. Yesterday I had my wonderful builder (he has the best can-do attitude of any tradesperson I know) and his stucco guy look at our fireplace (the one shown in the Independent photo above). The plan is to build it out 6″, finish the new structure in white stucco, and add a gas conversion and concrete FireBalls on a bed of either lava rocks or glass. To the left of the fireplace we will add base cabinets, a place for the TV to fit in, and either floating or built-in shelves–depending on whether we want the look to be built-in or more casual, but more on that later.

 

I’ll keep you posted on all that, Kai permitting.

 

 

If you made it to here, thank you for your loyalty and patience. I treasure you as a reader and thank you for reading my blog. You make it all worth it!

 

PS, If you want to read a good article on old-fashioned niceties that deserve a comeback  (I think we could all use a reminder), click here.

 

 

Happy Thursday! 🙂

 

 

 

Pink signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 Comments on Design work and diaper changes: Life with a six-month-old!

  1. Name*
    May 26, 2016 at 5:32 AM (3 years ago)

    I loved every word of these musings, every single word and think those that teach “how to care for baby” should take careful note of your analogy – much more realistic!!!!

    Kai is precious with eyes filled with life and the certainty that he is loved!

    Hug you all- doggies too

    M

    Reply
    • Kisha Gianni
      May 26, 2016 at 10:21 AM (3 years ago)

      Thank you, your words made me feel like you just jumped through the screen and gave me a giant hug! 🙂

      Reply
  2. picky B
    May 26, 2016 at 9:39 AM (3 years ago)

    Wow. Somehow in the midst of everything else you are doing, your writing skills have escalated to a new level. Congratulations!

    Reply
    • Kisha Gianni
      May 26, 2016 at 10:20 AM (3 years ago)

      Wow, wow, wow to that comment. Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Jennifer Taylor
    May 27, 2016 at 7:57 AM (3 years ago)

    Your other Mom is really proud! You have so much to give and so much talent!
    And…what a darling baby you and J.B. have created.
    Great job you two!
    I miss you at Taylor House!
    I remember you said “how do these women blog, have babies, design their homes, write books and have their own clients.”
    Just like you do!
    Congratulations ❤️

    Reply
    • Kisha Gianni
      May 27, 2016 at 12:46 PM (3 years ago)

      Other Mom, my heart is swelling. (OM? Ha, ha.). Thank you!!! 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Reply