Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Stupid Rules!

My son knocked down my curtain rod -again- for the umpteenth time in the last few days.
The resulting conversation went something like this:
"Geez, Trev, you knocked down my curtains again?!? How did you do it?"
"I was climbing on the entertainment center."
"Trevelyn!" In an exasperated, somewhat whining voice. "What have we discussed about this?"
"That I won't climb up there anymore, because those things belonged to your Grandmother and they might get broken."
This after a lamp that I love got knocked off and broken. And this after a discussion we had the other day. It was not a lecture. It was a "Let's find a solution for this problem" talk. There was an agreed upon solution. Trev agreed that he had lots of places to jump and climb, and he could let me put these things safely up there, and he'd not endanger them by climbing and possibly knocking them over.
It's the only place in my livingroom -I think maybe the whole house- that's strictly off limits.
I hang the curtains back up. I slightly bump them, they come crashing down. Damned sturdy, almost sound-proof, plaster walls.
"Okay. Now the curtains have been knocked down so much that the screw won't even stay in."
Grumble grumble.
I think I said something totally moronic like (God I'm an idiot) "Shall we just say that you can't play in here anymore?"
"No. This is my favorite room! I'm going away from here." and he heads into the backyard.
I finally find one of those plastic do-hickey's that you hammer in, and put the screw inside of it. Curtain is back up.
Sigh. Better go talk to Trev.
"What are we going to do about this, Son?"
"Mommy, it's just that we have all these Stupid Rules!"
What!?! again.
"Son, we hardly have any rules!" Thinking, are there really any? I fully believe in living with principles, and NOT rules.
"I can't jump anywhere!"
"That's not true. The only places I ask you not to jump is the couch, my Grandma's antique chair, and the entertainment center."
"Rules, rules, rules!"
"What other Rules do we have?"
He sighs, as if speaking with an idiot. "Listen, Mom." Counting them off on his fingers. "One. No jumping on your new couch. No jumping on your Grandma's chair. No jumping on the entertainment center.
And three! for absolutely certainly (or something equally descriptive) NO sneaking behind each others' backs!"
"Actually, that was four. Okay, Son. I gotta go think about this."
And that's where we ended it, and I came here.
Audible Sigh.
It seems to me that these things are perfectly reasonable. My Grandmother's chair is a beautiful piece with carved wood and original upholstery (though needs to be re-upholstered). The matching sofa has been retired to my bedroom, as it has a sort of sinking-into-the-center-of-the-earth issue.
My couch. My beautiful, comfy, lovely, perfectly-matches-me couch. It pained me to pay so much for a piece of furniture. It was the single greatest furniture expense of my life. I love it. It's a year old. It has a small tear (I really gotta patch that up, somehow) It suits the changing seasons beautifully. It's gorgeous in the fall, with oranges and yellows and burgandies. It's beautiful with pink tulips, and the pastels of Ostara. It's lovely at Yule/Christmas, with golds, pinks, burgandy, and sage green. (sobbing, now :) ) I lo-hu-hu-ove that couch! My worry is that the cushions (part down, and part foam, I guess) will be misshapen and raggedy.
Buying something ugly wasn't possible. Buying something passable was considered, but not after hearing the angels sing upon setting my eyes upon The One.
And then we have the entertainment center. It's a sturdy piece of furniture. Not huge, though it's probably four feet+ high, by 20 inches deep, and 5 feet wide. Sturdy, but not indestructible. The treasures on top of it are not in the least indestructible.
But I want them there. And even if I moved them to by bedroom, which I wouldn't be totally against, I'd want something else up there that I wouldn't want killed. I refuse to decorate my living room with stuffed animals, for God's sake.
I'm not a squeamish sort of mother. I've witnessed my children practicing caution often enough that I know they'll only do what they are reasonably certain they can, at least the first few times, then they're more likely to just let it fly. So it's not as if I see them six inches off the ground, and shout out "You'll fall and break your neck!" It occurred to me shortly after Trev's birth that that sort of thinking/parenting was likely to make a liar out of me, and I didn't want that sort of reputation with my child. So I zip it, for the most part, and let them decide.
They jump on beds. They leap from the coffee table. They launch sky-high from the quarry (well, not Cakes yet, but soon, I'm sure). They climb on top of the swingset. Trev climbs trees. Maddie has climbed up slides since Long before she could walk.
But (shrug) I like my treasures around me. They're just decorations, yes. I don't use the pitcher and bowl in my livingroom until it holds the roses from my garden. Sometimes pine boughs at Yule.
But just as I don't scream at my children (or even get annoyed) for coloring on my walls, because it's an expression of Who They Are, I expect that my self expression/joy should also be respected in our home.
So I suppose that I've come to the conclusion that it's quite alright for me to have treasures in my home.
Naomi Aldort said something (I had been pondering my own thoughts of "this is my house") about not expecting the child to take the same ownership of the home, and therefore the chores, unless you make it equally their home. That means the construction of the house. The choice of the house. The colors. The decorations. The city. And I say- Whether it's made of candy, or not.
I'm honestly not trying to justify my actions here. I just have a very real need (paramount to my happiness) to have things -aesthetically- a certain way in my home. Of course it doesn't include to the detriment of my children.
Maybe it's just a matter of talking with Trev (though I have while writing these thoughts) and expressing that it's a matter of importance to me. It matters to me.
Maybe, for better or worse, that's where the most important part of 'socialization' comes in. It's learning that others have needs, and learning to live in a world/family while compromising, and learning to adapt to others needs and wants.
I truly believe that I am open to their needs and desires.
Maybe I just need to say "This is important to me, Bud", and have that be enough.
He's a reasonable person (as I've always assumed he was, therefore he is) so maybe that will do it.
I'll let you know what we decide!

Note from author later: After our talks about the entertainment center again (Trev decided not to jump up there) I brought up saying "not play in here anymore". We discussed and laughed about my saying such a moronic, impossible thing.
All is well.

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