Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

7.08.2009

The Other Perspective

The previous post elicited strong responses, so I thought I should take a second to acknowledge an alternate perspective. Some people, including my mom, prefer the guideline "sofas are for sitting." She feels that it is best to simply teach kids this from the start.

Part of my inspiration for yesterday's post came from reading a story about the impeccable Annette de la Renta. It seems that as a child she rode her horse right into her family's house. (Yes, her horse!) I thought it would be fun to hear some candid opinions from 21st-century moms with active boys and three graciously obliged.

Everyone agrees that children need to learn not to walk on furniture, or eat on sofas, when visiting other people. But when it comes to their own homes, thoughts on what pets and kids can and can't do vary widely.

Two other areas of agreement: old leather and oriental rugs are infinitely child-friendly.

Rug photo from Allan Arthur on Bennett St. in Atlanta.

17 comments:

The Peak of Chic said...

Gosh Courtney, I don't know how I feel about any of it as I don't have children! I guess you never know how you would deal with these issues until you have a child. Your two posts are certainly thought provoking. The one thing that I am old school about is children's behavior in public. I don't remember ever being allowed to run wild in restaurants, yet it seems that many parents today just let the kids loose in public. But that's a topic for another day!

Style Court said...

Jennifer, yes definitely! No excuse for ruining other diners' meals or disrupting movies etc. I think you can still learn to say yes m'am even if you are allowed to frolic on beds, ottomans and sofas :)

Southern Aspirations said...

LOVED yesterday's and today's posts. We don't have children, but do have dogs, but that doesn't mean an entirely child-safe house. When my two nephews visited last weekend, it was interesting to see that our house isn't too bad. And while I like to be the cool aunt, I still did tell 5-year old Thomas to not jump off the sofa. It is a nice big cush sectional-oh the horror, I know- so very tempting for little boys!

Mrs. Blandings said...

I think one key point here is that children know what plays where. While mine know that at home sugar is a treat, at their grandmother's it can be a main course or entire meal if they choose. I remember when my oldest was teething and pulling up she did not bat an eye as he gnawed the side of her living room coffee table. In fact, she thought he was "so smart" to have figured out how to meet both needs at the same time. Mr. B was incredulous.

home before dark said...

I hope I didn't come across as the Wicked Witch in the last post. Perhaps it was because I was working on my last nerve. My neighbors three houses over mind you, put in a swimming pool to help their two ADD sons wear out some of the energy so that when they went into the house a night they'd be quieter. Did you know that 10 and 12 year old boys can scream nonstop for over six hours? The parents think we are being too old, too snobby, too rude to suggest that maybe one hour of screaming might be sufficient.

About furniture I have only to look at my husband and his brother. My husband, the oldest, learned to respect his mother's family antiques. His younger brother resented the rules. The things we received from his mother will be able to be passed down to another generation. His brother's furniture shows the wear and tear of rollerskates, tricycles, jumping on caned chairs and coloring furniture with permanent markers. To each his own.

Style Court said...

Hi HBD -- not at all. You raised valid points. It's a hot topic!

And, what you're describing, kids -- or adults, too -- trampling on other's serenity -- that's a whole other issue and I think we all frown on that :)

Style Court said...

Like Jennifer and Patricia said, know where you are and know your audience!

Tracy @ comfortandluxury said...

In my comment on your last post, I mentioned that my white sofa "cleans up well" despite having lived for 19 years in a busy household. We've always had rules of course about what can and can't be done in that room, but my daughter resented them a little and broke them often. Especially when she had friends over. "home before dark's" comment made me think about this: daughter used to say that dad's house (my ex) was a lot more fun because there weren't so many rules. Now that she's older, she can see that, like hbd's brother-in-law, dad has a house full of junk because of the lack of rules and respect for one's things. Daughter is now living on her own, furnishing and maintaining her apartment with her own hard-earned money and elbow grease and realizing the effort it takes to have nice things. It's going to be interesting to see whose "rules" she adopts.

Sanity Fair said...

I've noticed with homes with children go for minimalism. I remember visiting a beautiful house in a DC neighborhood for a dinner party last year, and noticing how BARE it was. The look worked - it was very cohesive and relied on a lot of color, but after looking around I realized that this family (with very rambunctious children) simply had nothing destroy-able. A few of the wall hangings probably couldn't have survived a direct hit with a baseball, but otherwise, it was "tough minimalism"!

balsamfir said...

Tough minimalism is fine, but as an aunt, and a non-mom, I really have to question how many kids are actually being schooled in how to behave, or just told not to at some future ambiguous date. Munchkins just left after a long weekend. I have to hire a carpenter to fix the damage, plus dry clean the rug(they were angry with mom and went to the bathroom on it), and replace a full set of house keys. Never mind the rest of the breakage. Its a new record. And I don't really have a fussy house. You can wear muddy shoes, set coffee cups almost everywhere etc... Many a restaurant meal has been spoiled by other children that haven't been taught anything. Sofas ARE for sitting. Kitchens for eating. Bathrooms... Playgrounds are for playing, woods are for playing, water is for swimming. etc

Style Court said...

Oh goodness. I guess the kids that come to my house are more tame :)

"Trashing" or breaking has never been an issue. Just rumpled cushions, minor smudges etc. Nothing really different from what adults might do. I'm the one who has scratched furniture legs with my wheelchair. The only experience I've had with ruined items (bad smells, stains) has involved dogs.

The Peak of Chic said...

Courtney- I was going to mention in my comment that dog owners go through a bit of what parents of humans do- although we don't have to worry about curfews being broken! I got slipcovers for my sofas so that Alfie's paw prints don't show, and I also haven't gotten rugs for my living or dining rooms yet. Dogs can be just as or even more destructive than children! The upside is that they never talk back and love you unconditionally. :)

Style Court said...

Jennifer, so true! But, as you said, the love they bring makes it all worth it. (Kids and dogs :)

Style Court said...

Oh and I'm supposed to mention chewing. I definitely know of households where the pets have destroyed curtains and all sorts of things that the four kids never hurt. Chewing is a tough issue.

balsamfir said...

Totally true about dogs. The last owner's dogs nearly clawed through the doors and made the entire house smell. Its why I could afford to buy it. I keep all my wastepaper baskets at head height because of mister curious. He's definitely done some damage. On the other hand, he never screams and I'm more used to his ways. I love the kids, in case this sounds like I don't. But I wish they could be a little less destructive.

Style Court said...

Balsamfir -- sounds like your recent experience was pretty crazy!

Alicia said...

It sounds like we got more into a manners debate more than anything.
That could take up millions of comments but for me I let children be children.. but not loud, rude & disrespectful.
A horse yeah thats ridiculous but a spilled glass of milk, thats irrelevant, once its cleaned & Hailey beginning at 4 knew what to get & how to use it. She'll still tell peopl to blot not rub.