My last project brought up a few questions about my motives and philosophies around parenting. I had won an old princess-themed kids chair from a Recycled Kris-Kringle game, intending to re-upholstering it to match our lounge. In the mean time Belle started using the chair – and loved it!
One night, when she had gone to bed I set to work taking it apart to make it new. But I felt a tad guilty for changing it to my taste and style. Would it break her heart to find the chair changed? Did she love it for its size or its pink-princess look? (She is only 17 months – surely she does not have very clearly defined princess-prejudices?!) So I turned my dilemma to my facebook friends, and got some interesting replies:
A few design and interior-decorating type friends urged me to cover it asap. A few recommended I use the original cover to make something for her dolls – like a little cushion or quilt cover, but cover the chair with something nicer.
An interesting comment which really got me thinking was: “don’t get me started on Disney princesses and the socialisation of little girls…this way, Belle will have a beautiful, stylish “grown-up” chair, which makes her part of the company!” I agree. While I want my little girl to always feel loved, respected and beautiful, I guess it is also important for her to know that in this life she won’t be able to always have everything her way.
Belle did a double take the next day when she saw her chair (without any covering at that stage), but kept going. Later in the day she came and enquired after it in her toddler-way, and I let her play on it. She tried it out and was happy. Phew!
When princess Belle woke from her beauty sleep a few days later, she found a newly covered little couch instead of a throne… She tried it out and seemed pretty happy with it. Her and the cat now have constant battles over whose chair it is, and I don’t hate the thing for spoiling my lounge decor.
The upholstery might not be perfect, but I figure: My lounge – my style. One day she can decorate her lounge in her style (which I am sure won’t be princess-themed anyway as I am trying to teach her to have her own unique style and taste – not the commercial rubbish that gets thrown our way in the media!