A Boy’s Castle 

“I won’t know what to do with myself when you’re gone” said S, referring to the week long holiday the boys and I had squeezed in to our busy summer schedule to introduce Baby A to family residing in Spain.

“Oh, I’m sure I can think of something” I said, cutting O’s toast into the pre-requisite squares.

“I don’t doubt it. I suppose what I meant was, I won’t know what to do with myself. But I know you will. I’m sure I’ll get a list….”

I put O’s toast on the table and cajoled him away from the iPad which seems, of late, to be surgically attached to his middle finger.

“You’ll have a nice week without me nagging” I said  “but thinking about it, I can probably manage that from abroad….”

I think I heard a groan.

“And yes, I do have a list. Top of it is O’s B-E-D. I’m heading to IKEA tomorrow to get it.”

“Which one?” S asked, draining his coffee.

“With the L-A-D-D-E-R”

O munched on, oblivious to our planning.

“Ah, good idea.” S gathered his bag and coat and planted a kiss on O’s head. “You know he wants the C-A-N-O-P-Y with it?”

I sighed. It so didn’t go with the muted yellows and dirty blues of the Ferm Living robot wallpaper hung on the chimney breast…..a paper even S loves. “If O doesn’t want it, I’ll have it” he’d commented when I stumbled across it some three years ago. But back to the canopy….it wasn’t only the limited options of lime green or royal blue which posed a design problem. I’d visualised ditching the canopy and instead hanging a Ribba picture ledge along the bed’s length to serve as a bedside bookshelf where a small selection of books could be displayed, covers facing out, for bunk-bed reading.  It was an idea I’d pinned during a virtual research expedition where I’d found elaborate examples of the Kura bed turned into castles, tree houses and fairy kingdoms, fire engines, police cars and palaces. The bookshelf idea was probably one of the least inventive hacks….if indeed you could call it a hack….but S’s stern shake of the head stopped me in my tracks. I would get the canopy….

I considered my purchasing options. After my pre-baby disastrous excursion to IKEA I vowed I’d never go back there again. On that occasion I learned the hard way that in-store they only do next day delivery. This time that’s exactly what I needed. It would be no fun having a bed delivered on some inconvenient day within a 12 hour window to South London whilst the boys and I were larking about in a pool on the Costa. So shopping online was ruled out and a visit in person was deemed the only option. But considering how little Baby A likes to shop I realised I may live to regret the decision. His views on this particular activity were made quite clear (and in full voice) during a holiday-wardrobe buying spree to Bluewater which was hastily aborted once Id hurriedly plucked from the sale rail what turned out to be a mismatched bikini and the last available pair of Havainas. Both of which were served to me by a pitying gel-nailed sales assistant, her drawn-on eyebrows raised in disbelief at the level of decibels a four-month old with a hatred of department stores can actually make.

I steeled myself.

The trip it turned out wasn’t quite as bad as I’d feared. How, I’d worried, could I possible manhandle a bunk bed into a trolley whilst manoeuvring the pushchair around the store? The sling, I light bulbed. Then I thought again. Would it really be any easier to manhandle a bed onto a trolley with a baby strapped to my chest?

The solution came in the form of a ten pound “picking fee”. For this I could have someone else load up the trolley, leaving me with only my yellow bag of the customary odds and sods one inevitably picks up whilst pacing the Market Place. In my case, and to S’s utter disbelief, this was frames.

Delivery however wasn’t quite as straight forward and having waited in all day to receive it we were called at 7pm that evening to be told the driver had exceeded his allotted driving hours and the bed (and full length bedroom mirror, and two miniature chairs, and two more square mirrors for the snug….other impulsive buys I had delayed telling S about) couldn’t be delivered until the next day “between 8am and 9pm”. Our trip to the airport made this  a tad inconvenient but one of our many kind neighbours saw to it and all was fine.

The holiday in Spain was made all the better in the knowledge that once we returned home O’s big boys bed would be ready and waiting. A detailed plan had been pinned to the fridge setting out the new positioning of artwork and furniture and each day I received updates from S as to its progress. The updates were, of course, without the blasphemy which I had no doubt was accompanying the hateful task so it felt pretty win win as far as I was concerned. S may beg to differ.
Arriving home from our break, suntanned and full of stories of rides on Grandad’s dumper, ballgames in the pool and late night excursions to the fairground where the novelty of the darkening star studded sky was just as great as O’s first ride on the ‘crash cars’, S announced there was a surprise waiting.

“For me?” O asked, wide eyed.

“For you,”

“Where is it, my surprise?” he asked.

“You’ll find it upstairs….” S said.

“And will I like it?”

“I think you will. I hope you will”

No sooner had the key turned in the lock, O was upstairs. Pushing open his bedroom door he looked around in wonder.

“Wow.” he breathed. He liked it.

Despite the strangest IKEA-y whiff of the new mattress which seems to be stubbornly resisting any attempt at airing, the bed has been a hit. That said O only had one night to try it out  before we all left for our second holiday, this time inclusive of Daddy. And whilst it’s not a fire engine, treehouse or palace this bed might just turn out to be one little boys castle…………

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