Jack shredded the seats of our dining chairs. It happened the way people fall asleep or in love, you know—slowly, and then all at once.
He worked on them for years every time he sat down for a plate of frozen Dino nuggets or a bowl of Cap’n Crunch. Eventually they started to look haggard. Holes appeared in the woven rush seats. You could see right through to the floor. And then last week, sitting on a wobbly chair meant one risked falling through and getting one’s bum stuck, like something from a Laurel and Hardy sketch.
You see, the chairs died because I got them fifteen years ago before I had children. Those were the days when the only thing I cared about in a chair purchase was if the country French look worked with my Grandma Lila’s Art Deco china cupboard.
I chose poorly. They simply weren’t the sturdiest. I recently saw my old chairs on a Humans of New York post about matching up people who have nowhere to go for Christmas dinner with people in the city with room to spare. I couldn’t see the seats in the photo, but I assume they are pristine, because my children aren’t in that NYC apartment picking at them.
This just in: things can really last quite awhile when you don’t intentionally try to destroy them. Amazing.
We got new chairs. Since having children with autism, the criteria have changed. Now we just need durable and cleanable. Also cheery.
We found yellow metal chairs at IKEA which fit the bill. They’re perfect, actually—lightweight, happy, and they can be taken outside and hosed off. Best, there is really nothing on them that a sensory seeker can pick at.
It’s a win-win because when we got them put together (by which I mean, when Dutch assembled them for the better part of an evening, and I simply stuck floor protecting felt circles on the tips of the legs) I noticed that aside from the chairs, everything in my kitchen/family room was a shade of tan, brown, cream, or beige.
It was like that moment in The Giver when the people suddenly have access to memories and emotions, and their world transforms from black and white into an explosion of color.
I’m surrounded by neutrality. It’s safe and boring.
I want color! I seek vitality! I need an infusion of life!
I’m not sure when I turned into some robot who buys everything in the same shade so it will go together, but I am determined that that drone woman must be stopped.
Eclectic, darlings, not matchy-matchy. That’s what’s happening now. My kids’ destructive tendencies are lemons that I’m juicing for lemonade. The colorless palate can take a hike.
I’m scheming to hang my grandma’s bright vintage quilts on the walls, but I need ideas for keeping people from using them as napkins and Kleenex. Send me your suggestions.