Growing

I’ve been patiently waiting to announce my latest product design with one of my favorite Dutch brands, but first things first – if you haven’t yet transformed your kids’ closet into a reading corner, make thee a Target run. A few body pillows, a small rug, panel curtains, a tension rod (that moonlights as a super unsafe sword when Bee’s friends come over, in case you’re curious!) – and boom, done. It’s by far the best $30 I’ve spent given that it both doubled the square footage of playable space in Bee’s room, plus now makes bedtime a breeze. She looooves her reading nook, so when I ask her if she’s ready to hear a bedtime story in her reading nook, the answer is always, always a glee-filled yes.

($30 for a toddler to regularly and willingly agree to bedtime seems like a worthwhile investment, yes? I don’t know; I’m new at this parenting gig.)

But really, I’ll stop with the reading closet. Just do it.

And now, the big news: my product design with Make History! When my dear friend Irene first introduced me to Dutch designer Anouk van der El in Singapore, I loved her instantly. She had kind eyes and such a relaxed presence, plus impeccable taste for aesthetic details. Creative sparks flew and we began brainstorming a product collaboration the moment I returned to the U.S.

We had many ideas, but I kept coming back to the reason Anouk created Make History years ago: a desire for inspired documentation. The need to celebrate the milestones that had passed while still looking ahead to the many more. One hand in the past; one in the future – with both feet firmly planted in the present. Letting the sand sift through your fingers, but stopping just long enough to notice it.

To write it down.

To let it be.

Her time capsules and quote jars perfectly reflect this sentiment, and I wanted to carry on that legacy with a third product for modern parents to document in an inspired fashion. Enter, our growth chart.

Growing up, I’d visit my grandfather’s farmhouse in the summer and winter – a towering two-story brick haven with creaky wood floors and dented tin cups in the cabinets. The farmhouse had seen decades of children – my dad is one of eight kids – and the big doorframe in the living room proved their presence. Marked in pencils and crayons and Sharpies, a handmade, taped growth chart boasted names, dates and measurements of all who dwelt there.

Eventually, the growth chart began to bear the heights of dozens of grandchildren, slowly filling up and spilling out into the doorframe’s walls. Marks and marks of years passed, inches grown, memories made.

It is still – to this day – my most vivid memory of that old farmhouse. Standing up straight, back to the wall – fine blonde hair and lacy socks – secretly raising myself on my toes, just a bit, to measure taller than my sister did at my age. (It never worked; we had a strict flat-heels policy.)

And so, in the spirit of memory-making and growth-celebrating and truth-measuring, Anouk and I are so pleased to present our modern interpretation of the age-old growth chart tradition.

If you’re in the U.S., you can purchase it here ($35). And for international friends, you can purchase it here (25).

I hope this goes without saying, but I can’t thank you enough. Designing products with such talented collaborators has been such a fun, welcome change of pace and you – readers and friends – have been the first in line to support us. I’m so appreciative for that – for the comments and emails and Instagrams. Thank you. Truly.

And although I don’t have a growth chart to measure it, my heart feels very big and grateful today.

p.s. If you’re in NYC, our growth chart will be spotlighted in this pop-up shop! Please stop by and take a peek!

  • Beautiful! Also: I just had to comment because my daughter (also 2) is OBSESSED with Press Here right now. Ha!

  • So ironic but just last week we ran across our daughters pink wooden growth chart with all the little stickers still on it. My husband, who is a softie, brought it upstairs and hung it in his home office which is her old room in the exact same spot it hung when she occupied the space. She is now 27 so we are proof that sentimentality and looking back over their years never goes out of style! Good luck on your new product and love the reading nook idea. They do gravitate to cozy spot, don’t they?

  • Erin! The growth chart is adorable. Also – the closet turned reading nook stopped me in my tracks. With four of us in a 700 sq ft house, space is precious. My first thought was, “Love it, but what would we do with all the stuff.” and then I realized – you clear out the stuff to make room for the experience.

    I’m feeling a project coming on and couldn’t be more excited. Thank you!

    • Oh Tiffany, I LOOOOVE that wording. And yes, that’s exactly what we did. We donated a ton of gently-used and already-read books because hey, that’s what the library is for! It was all an uphill purge from there. Such a worthy effort, and I love how you put it: clear out the stuff to make room for the experience. Yes!

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