Friday, July 17, 2009

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I sometimes joke I grew up in a museum.  Not literally, of course, but my childhood home was filled with family artifacts and antiques.  My sister and I had toys, but they firmly belonged in our rooms.  All through my childhood I was regaled with tales of how I broke this or that very old and valuable item as a toddler: “When you were two you broke ___________!”  Back then, I felt bad about it, as that meant something very old that had been in my family for perhaps a few generations was no longer going to be passed on, and because of me.  Now, as a parent, I generally wonder how on earth I even got my little hands on those things in the first place and am relieved I didn’t hurt myself.  I mean, I don’t let my kids near the crappy Shrek glasses because I don’t want them cutting themselves, much less leave out crystal.  Child proofing is a good thing, I find.

I’ve probably gone farther than most would in my response to growing up in a house where I felt like everything in it was more important than I was, and my husband and I jokingly call our decor ‘early childhood’.  There are stains on things.  Our sofa, which was very nice at some point, is thrashed.  It’s also large, and I can’t find a slip cover for it that’s not one of those ‘throw’ ones, which experience has taught me means sloppy and continually untucked. 

So, I just throw a quilt or comforter over the mess and wash it as needed.  It’s not great, but it works, and I’m never stressed about it becoming messy.  Sure, sometimes I look for a more attractive solution, but really, I know the solution is when the children are older and I feel ponying up for a real refurbishment is not akin to throwing money into a hole, then throwing a match down that same hole.  Additionally, I suspect I’d be like the wife in American Beauty who can’t overlook the possibility of a spill on the furniture and is distracted by keeping things perfect to the detriment of everything beyond appearance… that would not be much fun for anyone.  Finally, I myself am pretty prone to spills, so it’s always good to ‘myself-proof’ things.  :)

Just yesterday I was once again looking to see if by some miracle prefab fitted slipcovers are made in size for a deep 9 foot sofa, and came up empty.  A little while later Cole and I sat down to share some chips and guacamole.  “Yaaaay!” he’d squeal every time he got to dip his chip in that blessed green stuff.  Inevitably he got a bit on his hand, and immediately he wiped it onto the comforter on the sofa.  I told him not to wipe on the furniture.  At the same time, I felt very happy that sitting with my son enjoying a little snack and enjoying *him* enjoying that snack was what we were doing, and that I really could give a rat’s patoot if there was a bit of oogy on the fabric.  Someday I’ll not need to worry about people wiping their faces directly on cushions.  Until then, rest assured, I’m not worrying about it anyway.  Go ahead, spill a little.  I might too!

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