Saturday, January 17, 2015

I Have Crossed Over to the Dark Side: Recliners and Raising Strong Confident Boys!

I want to say that as I get older I get wiser.  But I won't lie to you.

However, I have noticed that many of my thoughts have been updated to reflect my middle-aged mind. Today I wanted to talk about recliners and raising boys, both unrelated but on my mind this morning.

In the past I hated recliners.  I used to watch HGTV-type decorating shows before I had kids and from those shows I knew that recliners were tacky, yet a chair with an ottoman was fashionable.  Why that was so I had no idea, but it was on TV on a decorating show so it has to be true, right?

Sure, it made it harder to vacuum and it was usually more expensive, but once I had a bit of money I would make sure my house was properly decorated with the proper type of living room chairs.

Well, that never happened (enough money to buy the "proper" furniture).  I have two boys and a dog which don't go well with beautiful, expensive furniture and no disposable income.

My husband really wanted a leather recliner years ago and I "let" him buy one, reluctantly.  I made sure to point out it was tacky but he didn't seem too concerned and it has sat there in my living room for years, laughing silently at me.

But something strange happened as I got older.  Suddenly I found myself sitting in his tasteless recliner when he wasn't around and actually enjoying it.  The soft leather (beat up as it was) cradled my tired back and rear, and I enjoyed the ability to read while reclining and having the bright reading light next to me.  After almost a decade I was starting to love that  old chair.  But I kept my illicit love quiet.

But there was a problem…  We only had one recliner and there was no way my bottom was going to be anywhere near that chair when my  husband was home, especially since I had griped about it for years and years.

We have a really small living room in this house and I squeezed in my large old patterned-hides-all-stains-because-I-have-boys couch that has survived years of children (including a horrible incident when Duke threw up all over it) and my husband's much-loved recliner.  But the seating was awkward when all four of us are in the room.  No one ever wants to sit in the middle of a large couch and only Dad can sit in the recliner.

So we decided to go couch shopping.  And as we only buy the best and most expensive furniture (NOT), we decided to go to Costco.  And my husband and I picked out a couch together. A double-recliner mostly-leather couch...

Yes, I decided I wanted MORE recliners in my living room.  The horror!  This one fits all four of us if we squeeze a bit (if you have a Y-chromosome in our family you have a very narrow bottom).  And if you can see anything in this quick snapshot of my living room (I sent this to my mom to see if she was shocked) you will notice that we have both a recliner couch AND a recliner.

We were about to drag the old recliner to a new location in the house when we noticed it actually still fit.  And this new-old me said, "Wow, we could all sit on a recliner if we keep this beat-up old recliner chair in the room!".   Yes, that actually came out of my mouth. Again, the horror!

Our tiny living room is stuffed with furniture, but we all can recline in tacky-but-wonderful-comfort and we still have room for the dog bed.  Win!


Another thing I noticed that happened the last few years was my evolution in parenting my boys.

When they were tiny we would go to the park and I would hold their little hand and make sure they never fell.  They hardly got to do anything as I deemed almost everything too dangerous.  As they got more independent in their toddler years I would follow them around trying to hold their little hands and caution them wisely not to fall and break out all of their teeth, not climb too high and fall and break their neck, and to stop picking their nose and eating it.

I would see other mothers sitting around oblivious as their older boys would be walking and jumping off the top bar of the swing set or climbing up three stories on the outside of the big tube slide.  I would think to myself that I would never ever be such a horrible parent and risk  harm to my little sweet boys. The horror!

Then the boys and I got older and I actually became wiser and realized that I was raising my boys to be scared little weak wimps.  Duke, at six, wouldn't even go down the fire pole at the park for fear of breaking his neck or play in a puddle for fear of getting a flesh-eating bacterial infection!  So I bit my tongue, sat back, and decided I would let them explore more on their own.   I even stopped telling them "Just don't fall and break your neck!" in most cases as I think they don't intentionally try to fall and break their necks. ;-)

Now I go to the park with a good book and sit in the general area where my children play and keep an eye on them without treating them like two-year-olds.

I let them climb high things like trees and fences while silently praying they don't fall and get hurt.

They love climbing and they are really proud to show off their skills.  And so far no necks have been broken (keeping fingers crossed) yet their self-confidence, balance, and strength has increased.

Sometimes they push it and still freak me out. Yes, he is jumping off an approximately 7-ft wall into soft grass and could potentially twist an ankle or break a wrist.  But the odds are in his favor.

They are boys, doing boy things, and taking calculated risks and having fun.  I still keep an eye on them and will intercede if I think the risk outweighs the pleasure, but I am much more relaxed.

I am now one of those "bad" moms sitting down seemingly oblivious to the wild antics of my crazy sons, laughing at the newer moms at the playground treating their little boys like fragile china eggs.  Yep, I was one of them.  :-)

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  1. Enjoyable read and I as a grandmother with a 10 and 14 year old granddaughters, I can relate to the worrying part. Through the years, watching them, I was also paranoid that they would fall and "break their necks". Girls are just like boys as they need the climbing experience and we do have to let go. Enjoy the experiences with them and stick your feet up at home and cuddle.

  2. Oh I so loved this post. You write so well, I could visualize you crossing over to the love of the recliner. Made me smile. It is hard with the little ones to realize they are not that breakable. However, I found I am worse with my grandson than I was with my own and I drove my daughter crazy when he first learned to walk. I so wanted her to put a helmet on him, and then I felt like I'd been a bad mom with my own because I just let them go. So fun this post, but then I always enjoy visiting even if I don't always comment. :)

  3. Loved this post!! I find myself changing too. I still want to get rid of our recliner as it is super ugly (that my DH loves) but oh yes I do enjoy sitting on it too!!!
    My parents raised us the way you are now raising your boys. We got a lot of freedom to be kids and we really enjoyed it. : ) We were lucky in that we only had 2 ER visits and those were for small stitches.

  4. I can relate with being a little freaky when my kids go & play. But as I had more kids, it seemed to lessen. I now have 7 (4 boys & 3 girls & in boy/girl order too. I should play the lotto, right?!?) And the only injury we had that was hospital worthy was when child #3 was 2 & broke his leg. Not by playing near a cliff, but by a faulty safety belt in a shopping cart!! So now when I see mothers following their kids all over the playground, I chuckle to myself & sit back & wave to my children.

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