Updated — Closet Reading Nook; or , “who is the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows [her]?”

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There are two keys to creating a reading nook for your child: 1) freak out that your child is behind in his literacy skills and will never love reading the way that you do thus prompting you to make him a cozy reading space; 2) marry a great guy who will drill holes and a pole in the wall for you.  It did all start with the unpleasant realization that Big Bro was behind his peers on the reading skills.  I went into what Dave calls Cornered Rat Mode, where I become a bit ruthless, focused and driven to achieve a certain goal – in this case, to help Big Bro with his reading skills in a way that was fun and wouldn’t make reading so much a chore as the greatest hobby on earth (says the bookworm).

I of course Googled the web and was quickly overloaded/inspired.  At first I was just going to sling a bean bag in the corner of our living room.  That didn’t last long once that freaking creativity gene reared its ugly crafty head (wearing a fantastic book-hat it no doubt created from some felt scraps and spare pages from an old edition of Arthur Rackham illustrations found in the bargain bin at the used book store.  It’s a very specific and whimsical gene when it is inspired.  Now I may have to make that imaginary hat).  As usual, I digress.

Many sites suggested using unusual spaces for a reading area.  The boys have no room in their bedroom, and the living room is already in danger of being consumed by toys that are strangely never played with but always strewn on the ground, so when I saw the suggestion of the closet as a space, I knew we had something.  I used several sites as an inspiration, but knew that I wanted seating of some sort and a tent/canopy of some sort.  Why a canopy?  I had a piece of polka dot canvas I have been waiting 6 years to use.  Just sitting there in my fabric stash.  Waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  Getting its hopes up . . . and then waiting.  By hook or by crook, this nook would have the canopy look (aaaand apparently recently there’s been a little too much Dr. Seuss in said reading nook lately).

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With those ideas in mind I approached Dave, who was strangely receptive to my idea, especially when I started asking ever so casual random questions about PVC pipe.  Once he gave me the “why are you asking about PVC” look, I had to come clean.   The problem was I needed to install a pole of some sort perpendicular to the existing clothes pole, due to the layout of the closet, in order to have a pole for the tent.  I was going to attach PVC somehow to the clothes pole, but Dave came up with the idea of attaching a piece of galvanized pipe to the wall using a wall socket that the pipe screws into.  I tried to act like, “sure I can drill that into the wall” – but he knew based on the last time I was faced with the drill I burst into tears because I was not confident enough to start using it (but hey, I WAS 7 months pregnant at the time, everything made me cry) that I might need some guidance, so he agreed to set up the pole for me and install a better (looking and functioning) light in the closet.

We also purchased bean bags.  I knew, when we bought them, that the print did not really go with the polka dots, and they might possibly be too big for the closet.  However, Corned Rats who want to avoid procrastinating do not let little things like size, fit, or matching print deter them.  Also when even Dave said the print reminded him of the Death Star, I knew I had to get them.  As alike as Dave and I are, we are of two minds on Star Wars and Star Trek, as one is MUCH better than the other.  Both are good, but one is far superior.  After I pulled my eyes back in my head when he said that without a trace of distaste in his voice, we were set.

Off we went to Home Depot, where we got the necessary supplies (a 24 inch pipe threaded on both ends, a corresponding socket or bracket or whatever the hell you call it, and a cap for the end of the pole).  We also let Big Bro chose the color of the pendant light (blue of course).  Once home, Dave set up the pole and bracket into a stud in the wall, and then I mocked up the canvas to see how long a piece I needed.  I draped it over the pole and used thumbtacks to achieve the desired openness, as I realized indeed the bean bags were too big. If the boys weren’t sitting so high up because of the damn bean bags I wouldn’t have to tack the sides of the tent to the wall.  That’s exactly what I ended up having to do, and I still need to invest in flat thumbtacks so they boys don’t keep knocking them off, or better yet, embark on the potentially messy project of releasing some beans from the bags to make them smaller.

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In any case, we set up the light, which made us both say “Kmart shoppers, we have a blue light special” because the lamp shade turned the whole closet blue.  I was reminded of that Seinfeld episode with the red Kenny Rogers Roasters light burning into Kramer’s apartment (“Kenny? Kenny?”).  But hey the point is there is plenty of reading light now.

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With the remaining piece of canvas I made a little area rug, threw some pillows on top of the bags, and suspended some spin art stars and swirls the boys had made.  (Of course, one has already been ripped off).  Reading nook complete.

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However, “reading nook” doesn’t really grab a 6 year old, so once I called it a “Secret Reading Hideout”, both boys were in there faster than you can flip a page.  Every night now we go into the SRH and read a book and/or do sight words.  They seem to really enjoy it and what is best is that I managed to get Dave involved on this too – after 9 years together this was bound to happen.  Who is the more foolish, the fool or the fool who marries her?

UPDATE

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An update to the SRH.  Over time, the thumbtacks just were not cutting it.  After using some of those supposedly “won’t mess up the wall” sticky hooks which still didn’t work, I reverted back to one of my original ideas.  I took a tension curtain rod and stretched it across the closet.  I cut the polka dot cfabric in half and sewed a pocket sleeve on each end.  I slid them onto the tension rod tied them back with fishing wire, attaching them to the useless hooks.

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In the past Geoffrey had a habit of taking out every superhero cape, mask, puppet etc., out of his dress up box under the bed and was then unable to shove it all back in there.  After a while I thought “Hmm.  Maybe its not just him.  Maybe that box just isn’t big enough?”  Any excuse to buy organizational things.   I bought a relatively inexpensive storage bench from Ross for his dress up clothes which also fit in the closet as a reading bench.  Don’t you love it when something does triple duty?  No clutter on the floor, a place for dress-up, and a reading bench that fits perfectly?  SRH 2.0, y’all!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathyann
    Oct 04, 2014 @ 07:42:55

    This is a great idea for a warm and cozy reading place…and just right for falling asleep afterwards.

    Like

    Reply

  2. Melody
    Oct 04, 2014 @ 17:32:32

    Yeah I almost fell asleep in there last night 🙂

    Like

    Reply

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