How to protect your new things, and how to let go...

madtown_2006_gwFebruary 7, 2013

This post brought to you by my brand new wood floors :-) When you have something new - a new couch, new bedding, floors, anything really - you want to protect is as best you can, right? Keep your feet off the new couch! Shoes off in the house! But how do you keep yourself from going overboard and becoming too paranoid and uptight about every single little spot, scratch and smudge?

I will do a lot to protect these new floors...padding under rugs and furniture and all that. But let's face it, I have two small boys (3 and 10 months) who are just at the beginning of their destructive years, I fear. How do I sort of relax and let go and come to terms with the fact that some scratches WILL happen? How do I keep it all in perspective? Ii mean, they are just floors after all. But they were expensive and we worked hard in order to have the money to purchse mind waffles between wanting to really take care of the things I've worked hard for, and wanting to be more relaxed aboutt the things that are just that...things.

Am I making any sense here? Anyone who has lived through children (or maybe pets?) care to chime in?

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I'll chime in! We have wood floors in our home too; they are about two years old. Plus, we have two young boys and a 90 pound dog. We try to protect the floors with rugs and pads under furniture, but after about a month of stressing over it, we accepted that they are floors.

My boys push trucks all over it. My dog runs on it and drops heavy bones on it. The floor is scratched. But it's a floor. I grew up in a home where I was made to feel that a spill or damage was the end of the world. I don't want my kids to feel that way. Destructive behavior is not acceptable, but I'm not going to keep my family in a bubble for the sake of floors.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:29AM
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Well, I can tell you that I have a brother that is 14 years younger then me. I can remember my father telling him he couldn't play with his cars on the floor. Even when I was 19-20 that struck me as just not right, so the thought has stuck with me. It doesn't work for me. But I may be an extreme, I pick my battles with my boys. I also have a messy DH. He thoughtfully tried to clean our new fridge with a scrubby sponge. Oy! I was so upset. the scratches are still there. I try to just tell myself it is no big deal. :)

I did recently talk to my brother about how he was raised which was so different then the way I was raised (my parents divorced) He seemed OK with it and thought it helped him to be who he is now.

I guess that is a long way of saying you have to do what is right for you and your family. :)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:29AM
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Don't blame it on the babies! I wish I could say children or pets are responsible for the scratches in my costly floors. (although the fringe chewed off the rugs is another matter) Fact is, life scratches my floors. Maybe there is a trick to getting the right chemicals put down, because I see lots of posts where people with both pets and children have perfect floors years later. Mine are scratched already, and we aren't even completely moved in.

My new goal is attractive patina. Don't know if I can pull it off, but perfection is not an option.

I hope you succeed in finding a balance. I never could before, but since I'm older and this is one of the last homes I'll ever own and it was basically affordable, I have been able to settle down. Where possible, I used indestructible flooring. For example, my bathroom has terrazzo tile, and we epoxy coated the garage.

Still wouldn't mind having a plastic coating all over everything, but never figured out how to do it and still be comfortable.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:35AM
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We've always had cats but our baby's too young yet to roam around to his fullest. I'm currently trying to decide if I want to pack the silk pillows up for a while or risk it. :)

I sometimes have a hard time with material things but tell myself I can't take it with when I die, acceidents happen, and nothing's perfect.

I've found once I get over the first accident, it's easier for me. Of course we still try and take care of our things.

When my sister and BIL refinished their beautiful, old hardwood floors she was quite obsessed with keeping them scratch free. After the money spent, I would've been like that for a while too. The first ding was really bothersome, the second too but it got better after that. :)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:39AM
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I would guess those first couple of scratches and marks are going to really bother you. Really, really bother you. You will be furious and very upset. Then, no matter how many additional precautions you take and rules you lay down, there will be a few more scratches and marks, and probably a few more to follow. Instead of your head exploding, you will probably realize one day that you stopped noticing all the dings very much because they all blended together into what your eyes see and your brain interprets as "just floors after all."

Another way to deal with what's to come: just like pencil marks on trim to measure children's heights as they grow up, you could look at the marks fondly and with love, as signs that rambunctious but healthy and happy little boys had a warm, safe, and loving home in which to play.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:40AM
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I think I might hang a sign on my fridge that says "Life scratched the floors, Mama" Ha ha! Thanks for the responses so far, it's interesting to hear others perspectives.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:40AM
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Buy yourself a Tibet almond stick, and relax.

The first several months are hard, because the floors are so beautiful at first.

But then go look in the mirror, appreciate that life gave you every scar, line, and extra pound, and apply the same thinking to your floors.

If you looked like you did when you were seventeen, all your friends would hate you.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:47AM
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We recently refinished the 90 year old floors in our old house. At first we SO careful and got stressed out at every little ding. But after a bit the floors began to tell a story. The large stratch that extends right through the middle of our living room reminds us of the time Scarlett was SO proud she was able to drag her toy from the playroom to the living room all by herself. She didn't know that it picked up a little stone along the way. The spots that are worn underneath the chairs in the dining room (despite the fact that they have those little pads on them) are there because we spend a lot of time as a family around that table. We eat there together every night. We do homework there, and puzzles, and colouring.

Once you stop looking at them as scratches and start looking at them as memories, they don't seem so bad afterall ;)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:57AM
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Well, since the first scratch is the worst, you might deliberately make a scratch in your floor! JK I know the first scratch is always the worst, after that it's called patina. Get a good stain that matches your floors and wait for that first scratch. It won't be very noticeable after using 'scratch remover' and you will know you've done all you can.

My 2 year old floors are maple and I have yet to see a scratch. Of course I have area rugs that cover a lot of area and no longer have big dogs.

I have several pieces of antique or vintage furniture and the first scratch I made on one really bothered me. Had to give myself a good talking to. I felt that the sideboard had come thru 95 years before I got it with almost no 'patina' and I carelessly put a bad scratch on it. However after using stain and wax I no longer even notice it. It's celebrating it's 100th birthday this year and is still in great shape. No one but me knows it was ever scratched and wouldn't care if they did know.

For me that first scratch on a vehicle is even worse than scratches on my furniture. I cannot call that patina.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Going to inject a much-need alternative perspective here.

First of all, even with the best care in the world wood floors will wear under normal use. You will absolutely need to accept that.

However, it never seems to occur to modern parents that generations of previous parents were able to raise children successfully and lovingly without destroying their homes. That is because my parents' generation, for example, did not have much money and could not afford to redo kitchens or have floors refinished or remake drapes at whim or dispose of decor and replace it. Furniture and rugs and china and all of that were expected to remain with the family and be passed down. So even though children would inevitably cause some damage, things that are fiercely and defensively justified today--running in the house, breaking things that were not even supposed to be touched--were simply not permitted. Period. Full stop.

"Spoiled" is the only word that works here. And it is not merely the children who are spoiled, but the parents, who treat everything as disposable. They don't have to take care of their things, because they are entitled to new whenever they want it. So anyone who dares to suggest their unique, special, creative geniuses should be stopped from burning the rug or tearing a door off a cabinet must just be a hater.

We have field tested both styles of parenting, btw. One produced the world's highest literacy rate, the world's largest economy, and global supremacy. The other is producing a steady and unstoppable decline in academic achievement, fat and diseased bodies, and a well-documented and thoroughly-researched explosion in social development problems such as narcissistic personality disorder. But thank god we're not silly like our parents.

A scratch in the floor isn't the end of the world. But every choice we make has consequences, and children need to learn that sooner or later. The consequences needn't be extreme, either; just because you wouldn't whip a child for walking across a floor in muddy boots doesn't mean you have to simply accept it and say nothing for fear of stifling their brilliance.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Wet,snowy, muddy shoes off otherwise I feel floors are meant to walk on and as above stated "life scratches" don't get up tight, enjoy them.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:16AM
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I would say remember the marks and what made them as I'm sure as they grow up you'll think of these marks more fondly and they will turn into good memories.

It is inevitable that something will happen and once the first few have you'll stop worrying about it. So less stress if it happens sooner than later and you'll likely have some good memories from it.

Ours lasted less than a month before we had scratches in the kitchen on the floor from the plumber not being familiar with a bottom freezer drawer fridge not unscrewing the locking of the wheels. Happened more than once there now, but it was a good reminder for me to tell folks in the future when it needs to be pulled out. Other than that I think of most of the other marks as part of our life that holds some kind of good memory.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:37AM
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I think Marcolo is giving examples in extreme here. My kids are not spoiled brats who are allowed free reign on the house to do what they wish with no ramifications. And who says kids are the only problem anyway?

We had wood floors put in 10 years ago. And like everyone else has said, they look amazingly perfect at first, and you worry about every little thing. But eventually, a little ding here and there is going to happen and over time, you just don't notice the imperfections, or you do, but like someone else said, you get over them. I have a significant ding in my kitchen floor where I dropped a very heavy brass book end....that certainly can't be blamed on my kids. I also have a long, but not deep, scratch on my kitchen table. One of my kids was moving a package I left on the table that was heavy, and didn't realize that the underside had something (debris of some kind) that ended up leaving the scratch. How can I get angry about something like that?

That's a far cry from parents who allow their kids to jump all over the furniture, play ball in the house, eat and drink in any room, etc. Life happens. Can I really get mad at the dog when he vomits all over the rug in my family room?

Obviously kids need rules and boundaries, but I don't see where anyone mentioned in this thread letting their kids do whatever they want, enabling destruction of the house. What I did see is a bunch of parents agreeing that there are going to be accidents that you can't prevent. I'm not sure why the diatribe about spoiled kids that really didn't have anything to do with this thread.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:40AM
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I really like my possessions, I earned the funds to buy what I preferred, but when it comes right down to it I won't ever be possessed by things. In your shoes I'd focus on raising two wonderful souls and providing them with the foundation they need to add value to our world, hopefully being healthy and happy and looking back one day on a wonderful childhood, knowing they were my real investment.

As others said, life will mess up every item, nothing remains pristine and it helps to appreciate the day to day dings that happen to everyone of us and to our homes when we examine and cherish what is most meaningful to us. Floors can be refinished perhaps, but your family can't.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:42AM
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Thank you marcolo. I hope those of the "Entitled Generation" will see themselves but I'm not holding my breath. Somehow respect for a lot of things has been lost.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:43AM
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I have 30 year old oak floors that were refinished one time maybe 15 years ago. I live in the country, where nothing is paved and for the first 22 years everyone removed their shoes when coming into the house. Most of my friends live the same way and our entertaining is casual. This is not a high heel crowd, most wear shoes that work well on muddy driveways, etc. so they can get caked with mud and pebbles. I take my slippers with me, others may bring theirs here or just go in stocking feet. It really kept the floors nice, but mostly kept them clean. I am not of the mind to have to wash the floors every time someone enters to prevent dirt and gravel from grinding into the floor. If I lived where there were sidewalks and people wore more flat soled shoes,I would feel differently. It has a few dings and scratches, mostly just in the finish and most were caused by some speck of grit on the vacuum wheels.

No children were raised here, but now I have a 3 year old grandson. It was hard to see those first scratches from a couple of his toys, but he was not playing in a destructive way, just playing like kids do. I have to say I wouldn't trade one of those marks for a return to pristine floors, because of the immense pleasure he brings me.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:01PM
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I appreciated Marcolo's response and didn't get the idea that it was "much-needed" because someone in this particulatr thread was suggesting we let our children have the run of the house. I guess I saw the reference to "much needed" as being for society as a whole. I don't know, maybe Marcolo was a bit "soap box-y" but I do appreciate and agree with the perspective. I think achieving balance is the key. I don't want my kids to remember me as a drill sargent, but I also don't want my kids to turn out entitled, lazy, or coddled.

I also have to thank whoever brought up the mistakes/accidents caused by us (the parents). Excellent point! i've certainly never needed anyone's help dropping things, tripping over things, and in general being a huge klutz! ha ha

I really have enjoyed all these response, thank you all so much. I am going to send this link to my husband and we will refer to it come the time of The First Scratch.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:04PM
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Some things are just too fragile for some homes.

If you have a dryclean-only, light colored, embroidered bedspread and no other place to put the suitcase for packing and unpacking except on the bed, and you have the vision and means and space to install a suitcase stand and DH still puts the suitcase on the bed, do you

1. Get divorced
2. Remove the bedspread so it can be stored to pass down to the next generation (if so, then do you have to buy something else? )
3. Nag constantly
4. Go back in time and have yourself raised differently so you would have been smart and practical enough to know not to acquire the embroidered bedspread?

I was raised in the old days, btw.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Too funny, jamies.

Maybe consider option 5: toss a spare sheet over the spread when DH even looks in its direction. I guess divorce may be a bit milder than murder so I give you credit for that though I know some DWs might have considered bodily harm as their first thought. LOL!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:40PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Lay an old sheet down before putting the suitcase on the bed. We have tons of old sheets for this type of thing.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:41PM
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I do understand where Marcolo is coming from but I just didn't see that this thread was advocating that children have free reign on the home. Or that "modern" parents don't appreciate that generations of parents before us were able to raise kids "successfully and lovingly without destroying things." Using the word "never" to describe parents of this generation is a bit far-fetched.

Surely Marcolo has heard of the Italian grandmas (who married in the 30s-40s) who kept plastic covers on the living room furniture and the ugly plastic runners on the carpets in order to keep it pristine and still going strong in the 70s. That certainly isn't teaching children to appreciate and respectfully care for something. To me, that's saying that keeping the furniture forever without allowing it normally wear and tear is more important than comfort and attractiveness. I'm not sure who she was preserving it for! It went right to Goodwill when she died in the 90s. And I know my grandmother wasn't the only is a humorous topic of conversation among people of my generation with Italian grandparents.

I think everyone here was in agreement that there should be a happy medium.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:42PM
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Jamies, thanks for the laugh!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:43PM
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Sorry, there are suggestions in the thread insinuating there is a trade-off between caring for expensive items and being a nice parent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Teaching children to care for things is an important part of parenting.

I had one of those plastic-encased homes in my family, too, but it was an aunt. I still crack up at the way everybody has the same memories of sticking to the sofa in their shorts.

My mom used a different approach. She kept nice throws on the backs of furniture, and unfolded them when people wanted to sit or lie down. Everybody can take reasonable precautions, including kids.

Again, I want to emphasize that everyone here agrees that it is impossible to keep a floor in pristine as-new condition. I'm not sure how that makes it OK to roll trucks across it, though. We had to play on the carpets.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:01PM
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I cringe every time I see a commercial of a child banging his trike into a refrigerator or cabinet or whatever it was. Or other commercials with destructive kids. But, one thing I just realized. In our day, trikes and bikes were not allowed in the house. And kids were sent outside to expend that energy, or the basement. These days no basements and can't just send the kids outside by themselves.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to keep your place nice, and to take extra steps to keep things that way. Think you already know things happen and hopefully the newness will have worn off so it won't be much of a big deal.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:24PM
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Perhaps it's the rise of the great room concept? When I was growing up, we didn't have wood floors in our 60s Levitt house, but we did have a formal living and dining room. We didn't play in there. We had a separate family room which was where we kept the toys, etc. My parents didn't entertain in that room except for family. However, that room had (and still does to this day) the most vile wood shingles covering all the walls. The house came with it, but none of my friends' homes seemed to have it - it was an upgrade at the time. It is so hideous, but my mother refuses to get rid of it b/c she doesn't have to worry about maintenance. They are virtually maintenance free. I remind her that it is just my father and her living there but she says, "Well, I have grandchildren now." The grandchildren are not there all that often and are beyond the age where she really needs to worry about any of them doing anything to the walls!

And yes, I wholeheartedly agree that teaching children to care for things is an important part of parenting. With four kids in my house, I can't tell you how often that lecture occurs, followed by consequences when they disobey.

LOL about sticking to the furniture. So true. In fact, I think I'm one of the few people around who does not care for leather seats in my car b/c I live in a hot summer climate and cannot stand sticking to seats. Ironically my friends think I'm crazy, as a mom of four, to own a car with cloth seats - so much easier to clean leather from food spills, etc. But there you see, I typically don't allow my kids to eat in the car and only allow them to have water. And thankfully, only had a few issues with puking in the car and that was easily cleaned up with Resolve. I'm shopping for a new car now (don't want one even though my car has 150K and is 10 yrs old, but dh thinks it's time) and am annoyed that most of the ones I'm considering only have leather seats with the options I want!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:26PM
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I am going to send this link to my husband and we will refer to it come the time of The First Scratch.

Maybe you need to let something happen to it, don't wait for the other shoe to drop - literally.

i've certainly never needed anyone's help dropping things, tripping over things, and in general being a huge klutz!

What if you deliberately drop something, in an unobtrusive place, so that it's over and done with? If the first scratch is yours, you'll be very forgiving to the boys when the inevitable happens.

It seemed like my new wood floor was barely dry when a friend dropped one end of a 5 foot shelf he was installing for me and it gouged the floor. A bit surprisingly, I didn't even get upset - it had to happen sometime and he was doing me a big favor hanging the shelf. I still see it but no one else has every asked 'what happened here?'.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Marcolo, you strike me as someone who doesn't have children. And if you're someone who would freak out about a kid rolling a truck on the hardwood floor, it's probably a good thing you don't.

This isn't 1950. Families use there homes differently now. Key word being "USE". How many people here remember not being allowed to go into their living rooms when they were growing up? Like it was some sort of exhibit at the museum behind a velvet rope. People don't live like that any more and I'm personally very thankful that they don't. It doesn't mean that we see our things as replaceable or have no appreciation for it. It means we want to enjoy the things we have, even if it means they won't be perfect forever.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Amen Marcolo!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:04PM
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I guess I shoot for somewhere in between protecting stuff and just letting it go. Our first house we refinished the floors and literally a week later the delivery guys broke a leg off an antique we had just purchased and left a huge scratch in a very prominent place. (Antique went back to the store for a full refund and I did my best to ignore that scratch.). So damage definitely happens no matter what and a lot of it is not kids' fault.

This place the hardwood was refinished when they put the house on the market and it seems to scratch very easily--not sure if is the kind of wood or if they did a quick, cheap job. I have scratched it myself shoving a moving box out of the way. Once I realized that was an issue, I stopped sliding the boxes around that way, but I'm not fretting over the scratch. Ds, age 9, scratched the heck out of the floor in his room sliding a wood chest around. We showed him what he had done, asked him to PLEASE think before he does that kind of thing and put the chest in his closet to remove the temptation to repeat the incident. But I'm not stopping him from building with his blocks on the floor. Carpet doesn't work for that activity. If it gets too bad, we will buy a floor protector mat or something I suppose. But a small scratch or dent here or there is the price of living here and being happy, IMO.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:12PM
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I have children and I agree with Marcolo's social observations. I grew up in the seventies and we had a nice house, though not off limits, the difference was, there were limits. I think the points he was making most likely do not refect most of the parents on this forum. However, he is correct that we, as a society, for good or bad, have become a childcentric one.
The floors will not remain perfect, in a house with or without children, a mistake will happen. The first scratch will really hurt the next less and eventually the patina will glow. That is how I deal with life I guess. Is this to say you should let what will be be, no. Caution and rules are helpful in delaying life's wear and tear. But stuff does happen:)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:17PM
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I've been around for years and know Marcolo's style well enough to know s/he can ably defend any position put forward, but I don't like these personal attacks.

I think there is a middle ground between cordonning off sections of the house and permitting what some correctly call "spoiled" behavior that allows children to become inconsiderate brats that carelessly ruin objects. Perhaps Marcolo has hit a raw nerve with some, though interestingly not with the OP as she clearly understood the intent was to speak to a non-parentlng style that she recognized as part of our societal downward spiral but was not part of her family dynamics.

Why try to attack Marcolo for speaking to a glaring parental breakdown that someone else correctly pointed out is far too often popularized in TV commercials (and I'd add in many stupid sit-coms)? If you're under 45 then perhaps some of you have no clue what being respectful means as it is not highlighted in popular culture as much as it used to be -- toward each other, within the lost art of political discourse, and in many public arenas. Consequently, some think much less about what it entails to nurture children rather than raising little beasties. When that staid line of thinking is introduced, mull over if you choose or not, but Marcolo brought up a philosophical construct that is quite reasonable. Why can't a child learn to play on a rug instead of marring the floor? Oh, I forgot, perhaps they can draw on the walls as we have Magic Erasers or we can eventually repaint. After all, "my kindergardner is an 'honor student' even though they can't read, add or subtract, and may never be prepared to make a constructive contribution. " NOT!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:29PM
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Oh Abundantblessings the thing is that kindergarteners now do need to read, add and subtract and also use a macbook by midyear, at least in my daughter's kindergarten class, but for all I keep hearing how much smarter kids are today, only two children in her class( yes she is one) can even tie their shoes! This is not a child's fault this is due to a lack of parenting them, and do not blame it on velcro cause these kids are wearing tie shoes. Many over estimate children today but at the same time they also have been underestimating them too.

This post was edited by roarah on Thu, Feb 7, 13 at 16:04

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:43PM
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1. Believe it or not, there are some people on this forum who ARE under the age of 45, and we DO have a clue.

2. Some homes don't have carpeted areas. Several homes out there are entirely hardwood. So asking a child to play on a carpet is not an option.

3. There is a difference between destructive behaviour (ie, drawing on walls) and everyday wear and tear (ie, colouring in a colouring book, but accidentially slipping off the page and getting marker on the table). Accidents do happen.

4. The words that you have used to describe CHILDREN make me want to vomit in my mouth a little bit. Inconsiderate brats? Beasties? Seriously?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:47PM
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Yes, roarh, it's painfully obvious that we often fail to nurture our children yet think that as long as they have a cell phone, can have the laptop or gameboy or tv do our job of parenting, they'll be ok.

steph, so sorry you're not well. Shall I get the waste can for you? Re-read my original post. "I really like my possessions, I earned the funds to buy what I preferred, but when it comes right down to it I won't ever be possessed by things. In your shoes I'd focus on raising two wonderful souls and providing them with the foundation they need to add value to our world, hopefully being healthy and happy and looking back one day on a wonderful childhood, knowing they were my real investment.
As others said, life will mess up every item, nothing remains pristine and it helps to appreciate the day to day dings that happen to everyone of us and to our homes when we examine and cherish what is most meaningful to us. Floors can be refinished perhaps, but your family can't."

The folks who don't get my point or that of some others who seem to feel similarly may just as well be raising "brats" and "beasties" instead of little people who are expected to know they are responsible to create a better world. If that's not the goal of parenting, then you and I will just have to disagree. YMMV, but how's that working for all of us?

This post was edited by abundantblessings on Thu, Feb 7, 13 at 15:23

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:01PM
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We already ask our 3 year old to keep his cars on the large rug we have in the living room. But he's used to keeping his "work" on rugs...thank you Maria Montessori! Ha ha Have I opened a can of worms?!

I think we can all agree that we love our children (and our wood floors) even if our parenting styles differ!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:54PM
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Fori is not pleased

The kids are alright where I live.

Madtown, you just do what you can without going insane. The first ding will be a relief. Those floors will be well on their way to getting a lovely patina of use before your boys get to work. :)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:58PM
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I am under 40 and I agree with marcolo.

It doesn't have anything to do with scratches on the hardwood floors. Those happen. We have pine floors so everytime anyone drops anything, it leaves a ding. We have hundreds of dings.

I only have one child and he has special needs so I know it isn't the typical scenerio. But, he is only allowed to eat and drink at the table. He doesn't always remember the house rules, but if I remind him, then he wll comply.

Recently we fininshed a home theatre and we invited a few of our friends with their kids to watch a movie. I politely requested that kids not bring food or drinks in the theatre other than water. I was completely ignored. They brought fruit, popcorn and pizza into the room. The popcorn spilled everywhere. I wasn't quite sure why the kids had to constantly get a drink or a snack. It was 9 p.m. and my son is content not to eat or drink anything after dinner.

Another time, My son had a few friends over to play. They were eating a snack-cheez-its. It leaves an orange powdery residue on your hands. Several of the kids kept getting up touching the walls, trying to sit on my white sofa when I promptly reminded them to either sit down and finish their snack or if the ywere done then to go wash their hands.

I am not saying that my kid is always perfectly behaved. I am saying that I hold him to a certain standard and often he will forget as kids do and it's my job as his parent to remind him and teach him.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:17PM
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Don't you just love the commercial that's on now in which a woman with a couple of kids and a dog has wall to wall white carpeting everywhere?

Of course they're advertising a rug cleaning machine, but really!

In our house, if the children broke or damaged something accidentally, they were expected to apologize, show a little remorse, and help clean it up. If it was something they shouldn't have been handling, or as the result of something they knew better than to do (an incident involving a tennis racquet and a really good lamp comes to mind), they had to replace it (or at least contribute to its replacement) from allowances or additional chores. If they did something destructive intentionally, out of temper, the consequences involved loss of privileges with no possibility of negotiation.

The first rule taught the art of giving and receiving apologies as the path to complete forgiveness. The second taught them to connect things to the effort it takes to have them. The third was a deterrent. It was a relief to them to understand the drill, to expect a proportional response, and to have a way to resolve it. And the whole enterprise was meant to model a civilized and gentle response to a world in which Things Happen.

I wish I could say it was a fail-safe system, but it worked pretty well most of the time.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Some homes don't have carpeted areas. Several homes out there are entirely hardwood. So asking a child to play on a carpet is not an option.

Um--area rug? Or how about a vinyl tablecloth, which costs almost nothing at the dollar store and keeps markers from ruining furniture? Kids learn to take care of things from their parents. Unless they don't.

ETA: I like bronwynsmom's approach. Especially the bit about apologizing for accidental breakage. This practice was universal when I was a child. It helps kids control themselves. Plus, all actions have consequences, and while you might want to soften them for kids, it's wrong to hide them.

This post was edited by marcolo on Thu, Feb 7, 13 at 16:45

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:30PM
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We redid our house a couple of years ago and put nothing but hardwood in it. I obsessed about the floors until my 22 year old DS accidentally dropped a jar of Smuckers jam on the floor. It didn't break but if anyone knows the jars of Smuckers jam, the bottoms have lines of rings along the bottom edges. And I now have a nice circular impression of rings on the floor. I stopped obsessing. It was nothing but an accident and accidents happen.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Wow, this thread took a turn for the worse. It's disappointing that such sweeping generalizations are being made about both children and parents alike. I'm not sure if that comment about personal attacks against Marcolo was directed about me - all I said was that I felt his examples were in the extreme. Ironically, then personal attacks were thrown at those of us who are under 45.

"If you're under 45 then perhaps some of you have no clue what being respectful means as it is not highlighted in popular culture as much as it used to be -- toward each other, within the lost art of political discourse, and in many public arenas." Seriously??? I don't even follow popular culture. I cannot believe the nasty things that are being said about children and their parents as if ALL children and parents these days fit that category. I don't deny that there are kids like that who exist - I have two in my neighborhood, but the vast majority of kids I know are polite and respectful.

Perhaps I'm in the minority but my kids aren't allowed to watch TV, play video games or use other electronics during the school week. The computer is in a central location in our home. They have daily chores and are expected to dress nicely for Mass on Sundays (no jeans, collared shirts, skirts). My 11 y/o son takes up my elderly neighbors' trash can every week and shovels his driveway when we have snow. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, my husband takes my kids with him when he delivers food and gifts to the projects for a local charity. After my 13 y/o babysat for an acquaintance for the first time, she called me to tell me what a wonderful girl she was - sweet, polite, well spoken, very responsible and mature (I am not a braggart by nature and don't talk about my kids like this IRL). OTOH, I also realize that my kids are not perfect - I have to constantly remind them to clean up after themselves, stop leaving their basketballs on the lawn, etc. I'm the mean mom who will yell up the street for my son to come home b/c he left his dish on the counter rather than put it in the dishwasher when he was done with it.

I don't disagree that there is some truth to what Marcolo initially said but I certainly don't think that it applies so generally. And as far as things being far more disposable to current generations - has anyone stopped to think that's because things are so much more cheaply made and don't last as long?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:56PM
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Marcolo, not everyone can have area rugs. My sister can't have area rugs due to extreme allergies.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:00PM
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4kids, since you highlighted my sentence which was not directed to you BTW but a response to at least a couple of posters, I will respond to you directly now.

What part of SOME as in " 'perhaps some of you have no clue what being respectful means as it is not highlighted in popular culture as much as it used to be -- toward each other, within the lost art of political discourse, and in many public arenas.' Seriously???" SERIOUSLY!!!

If other perspectives don't sit well with you, unless you are specified directly there is no need to take it personally. Kudos if you feel you are raising your children to be wonderful people. I intended no sweeping generalizations, but made a valid observation, though the cut-off age of 45 was somewhat arbitrary as it could easily have been 55 or an even older person than I may have said justifiably 63 or 99 I suppose.

You've misconstrued and made the sweeping generalizations as I know and love many younger parents and their children who are raised with sensitivity and consideration toward others. I applaud those parents who take their job seriously but know that there are some, even those sitting on a daily basis in the pews of houses of worship who clearly are not be prepared to take on their role as parents effectively. Note the word "some." I don't welcome having my words misrepresented.

Also, knowing marcolo does not need my assistance, I'll still respond to your last post: "Marcolo, not everyone can have area rugs. My sister can't have area rugs due to extreme allergies."

It helps to read as Marcolo clearly expressed: "Um--area rug? Or how about a vinyl tablecloth, which costs almost nothing at the dollar store and keeps markers from ruining furniture? Kids learn to take care of things from their parents. Unless they don't."

I'm truly not interested in bickering with you or anyone else, but sometimes attitudes left unchallenged simply allow those who are less reflective to continue erring.

This post was edited by abundantblessings on Thu, Feb 7, 13 at 17:48

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:32PM
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I feel like I'm straddling two worlds here. I'm over 45, AND I have a kindergartner. I have two boys, a DH, a largish dog, and wood floors. It's not something I worry about. Of course my floors are almost 60 years old, so they already had some wear on them when I got here!

Not all children are wild and out of control. Not all parents are permissive. This thread has taken a weird turn with some pretty sweeping generalizations. For the record, my kindergartener can read, write proper sentences, add and subtract, tell time, and tie his shoes.

Madtown - Good luck with your new floors. Enjoy them. Take reasonable precautions and don't obsess about the inevitable evidence of life that will show up.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:44PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

What's kinda funny is the wait until they're teenagers element. I don't have kids but I certainly was one, raised in a very nice house with parents who taught me to take care of things. However, when they weren't around, I was known to be rebellious and do exactly the opposite of what they wanted. Such as doing my nails (and using nailpolish remover) on the coffee table. I ruined it. I ruined the carpet in my bedroom, the bathroom countertop, sigh, quite a few things actually over a number of years from makeup, nailpolish, art supplies or whatever.
At least I didn't burn the house down from my cooking experiments. We had a renter whose child almost did so frying french fries...

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:06PM
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Abundant, I did read Marcolo as clearly expressed so I don't need you instructing me to do so. Perhaps he should have been more specific but the way I read it was that he was suggesting that those with wood floors use area rugs and that those who have issues with marks on the table use vinyl tablecloths. My statement was directed at the area rug part of the statement. If I misunderstood it was because he was not clear (and perhaps I was wrong, but I assumed the tablecloth remark was for those commenting about markers on tables).

For someone who isn't interested in bickering you certainly have made some chastising comments. It's funny because your very last sentence could certainly apply to Marcolo's sentiments as well, but somehow it seems as if those comments are directed at me.

I have no beef with Marcolo's sentiments as I do think that he is accurate WRT to some parents (and moreso with current generation than previous ones). I just felt his comments were a bit extreme initially considering the thread was talking about scratches on one's floor caused by typical wear and tear by household members. I suppose I took issue with the fact that he said this, "However, it never seems to occur to modern parents that generations of previous parents were able to raise children successfully and lovingly without destroying their homes. " Up until that point, there was no mention of parents allowing their kids to destroy their homes but rather people giving examples of things that happen in every day life that might cause some marks on the floor. If people had said, "Oh, my daughter took nail polish and painted her walls and I told her that was okay b/c she was just expressing her artistic talents" then his observation at that point would have been well deserved.

Yes, you used the word some to describe my generation. I just didn't appreciate the fact that you arbitrarily admonished parents under 45 as if to make a point. Had you left that out and just said "some parents" I wouldn't have quibbled with you. However, it seemed directed at a specific segment of the population that I didn't feel was necessarily true.

I do admit that I misread this "some of you have no clue what being respectful means as it is not highlighted in popular culture as much as it used to be" - I actually do agree with you there wholeheartedly.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:17PM
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In my will always remember your kids having fun in your house and skating in your basement. Yes, my girls actually did that to the sounds of Kylie Minogue. But, you will not remember the scratches and the dings. And they will not matter.

Don't let them destroy the place, but don't get too serious either.

It's a home, not a museum.

When they are gone, you will look at those dings with affection.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:18PM
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As Steph pointed out, Marcolo isn't a parent himself. And, my experience is that there's no one who knows more about how to raise kids than someone who doesn't have a child.

As for the actual topic, a timely one for me. Not floors, cabinets in my case. I remodeled my kitchen a few years ago after saving for a VERY long time to afford it. Lately I'm noticing my white cabinets have quite a few areas where the paint is chipping or wearing. I'm going to call the contractor out since there is a 'lifetime' guarantee.

But meanwhile I'm struggling that something that was costly, valuable and cherished is no longer perfect. As others have said, it's a life lesson. But oh, it is not a fun one.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:20PM
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Porkandham, I'm not far behind you. I'm turning 45, have a 2nd grader in addition to three other kids in grammar school, a spouse and a 92 lb dog we recently adopted from a local kill shelter. And wood floors. My previous dog and my 16 y/o cat have done more damage to my floors/carpets than any of my kids! I'd rather have scratched wood floors than the stained carpeting I have upstairs from my pet accidents.

I admit that my 10 y/o still has trouble tying his shoes. Not because he doesn't know how but because he has poor fine motor skills. He can do it, but often doesn't get them tied tightly so they come undone easily. My kids never had velcro shoes b/c I thought they were ugly and here they teach kids to tie shoes in in kindergarten. As far as being able to read in kindergarten, that expectation is a recent phenomenon. Back when I was in kindergarten, most kids were still learning the alphabet.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:29PM
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Running, I do think that Marcolo has valid points, regardless of whether he/she is a parent (for some reason, I always think of Marcolo as a man but realize I have no idea so forgive me if I've incorrectly made that assumption). And I do think that while it's easy for childless people to criticize, that doesn't necessarily mean that their opinions on child rearing aren't meaningful or accurate.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:34PM
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madtown, I think it will just take time and the 'new' will wear off, plus if the floors get a ding you can always have them repaired if it bothers you, no?

I wonder if we automatically think of a hardwood floors as, well ... hard, when they're really not. I was reading that hardwood floors pre 1940's were made from older trees which made the floors much harder than what is produced now. So lots more dings and dents with the new.

As for kids running amock, I have worked in furniture stores for decades. Most children I have seen (and that's a lot!) are respectful and well behaved with the stores belongings. Then there has always been a certain element of parents, that in my mind, I think of as the 'dirty diaper crowd'. They are especially abundant during clearance sales. Their children are unsupervised and are allowed to do as they please. The parents are pompous and rude. And after they are finished shopping they go to their cars, change the child's diaper and leave the dirty diapers dotting the parking lot.

On the other hand, I have fond memories of my grammy setting up a trampoline in her living room one day and other days rolling up the carpets so we could roller skate...:)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:17PM
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When I first read OP's post, I assumed she was asking how to avoid average wear and tear. I further assumed she has the same idea as me about house manners for children. I raised three boys and with two small exceptions, they never caused any damage that couldn't just as easily have been caused by a well mannered adult. I'm talking about extremely rare accidents here.

So assuming OP has the same expectations of her children, I would have said, "Don't let the damage bother you, people have to live!"

Then the question was raised about just how much damage children might do. It made me think, what if madtown is one of those people that expect children to do a lot of damage? In that case, I'd hate to be telling her to "just let it go"!

I reread the original post and saw this: "I have two small boys (3 and 10 months) who are just at the beginning of their destructive years, I fear." I am puzzled by this expectation of "destructive years". Children don't have destructive years. By the time they can walk, they can also be taught to respect their surroundings.

I have a dear friend that raised three children. She expected that they would destroy everything she had and they did. She simply didn't believe they could be taught to be more careful because "they are kids". They are now young adults and one of them just put a huge dent in the front of her brand new refrigerator because they still have no house manners or any concept of what it means to be careful. They are the sweetest kids ever and far from spoiled. Unfortunately, they have zero house manners. All because she never expected them to have any.

My LR has two doors that go to the kitchen/breakfast room. As toddlers, the kids had a ball chasing each other in circles. It never caused any harm and they certainly were not allowed to run in other homes. We played "baseball" in our living room using a wiffle ball for many years when they were small. No damage ever occurred. They had tons of large trucks, etc. that they played with inside without hurting anything. Tonka trucks, which are all metal, were not allowed in the house.

Every parent has to decide what they will and will not allow children to do. In my opinion, extremes in either direction are always wrong. Not everyone is going to agree on where the middle ground is. I would like to see the need for good house manners discussed more often in parents magazines, etc., because I think way too many are like my friend. They have low expectations because they don't know any better.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:10PM
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cindylou, your post is excellent! Thanks for reinforcing roarh's position as well as others.

Children live up to expectation. It's up to all of us to support that idea just as stated in the African adage: It takes a village to raise a child. (... and each other. LOL!)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:32PM
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cindyloo, exactly. I noticed that same line in the OP--then a string of messages saying not to worry about it. Perhaps some people overlooked that line, and were also thinking normal wear and tear only.

Hilariously, right in the middle of reading your message, I got an email from a relative with pictures of her grandson--opening a Tonka truck package in a room with exposed hardwood floors. I'm biting my tongue.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:19PM
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Life's too short to lose it over broken glass. Now if I had been lied to about the baseball that hit this door...that would have been a different story.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:04AM
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LOL Redlover, we did have a sidelight broken by a baseball at one point. My eldest son came inside in tears, but I heard the glass break and was smiling to myself as I always smiled when these childhood incidents occurred. I told him we had always known that if we let them play ball out there we would eventually be replacing the picture window or a side light. We just hoped it would be our glass and not a neighbor's. And as always, our main concern was the no people got hurt! If our windows were some kind of irreplaceable glass we wouldn't have taken that chance. But we had quite a few years of baseball with only one broken sidelight. It was well worth it and I'm smiling as I recall the incident.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:37AM
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Marcolo it was a long post. Knowing that you were reacting to that one sentence, which I didn't even see at first, totally explains your response, lol.

Madtown I'm not criticizing you. I have no way of knowing what you mean when you say "destructive years". My initial impression was that you expect young children to have a wanton disregard for your home, lol.

Upon reflection, your idea of "destruction" may be no worse than what I would call normal wear and tear. I can't deny that the pre-school years generally result in higher wear and tear than the later years.

But whatever you call it, the fact is that your floor cannot remain pristine. If not your own family, visitors, contractors, etc. are going to damage it. We put in our first wood floor a year ago. Before the contractors left, there was a dent in it. A week later we had some other work done in the room and a few more dents appeared. Then DH and I each caused a mark or two. THEN, we relaxed about it because we realized we wouldn't enjoy a perfect floor if it meant we had to walk on eggshells. Now, we are mindful of the floor but we are not obsessed with it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:37AM
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When I consider the scratches and dings on my floor, most of them are from either the dog or adults. Yes, I allow my boys (3 and 5 years old) to push their toys on the floor. They know to avoid furniture, cabinets and appliances. When the floors were new just the sound of a toy on them made me cringe. I envisioned great damage. But you know what? The toys haven't caused any damage. They're just loud. We have "inside toys" and "outside toys", so that may help a bit. The giant, heavy stuff doesn't need to be in the house IMO. Also, one of my rules is that once a toys goes outside, it stays outside so the dirt isn't tracked inside.

The sratches are mostly from dog claws. Plus there are a ton of dings from my husbands crutches. He would lean them against the counter to reach for something and they would slide down (always landing with the wing nut in the wood). Thankfully he's done with those things! Then there are the scratches from appliances being pulled in and out of position. I'm still not sure how to avoid that one.

I'm with Cindyloo: Now, we are mindful of the floor but we are not obsessed with it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:53AM
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The first scratch (6" long) we got on our new floors was from the Christmas tree of all things. I freaked, but remembered I had bought those floor pens. I covered the scratch and I swear I can't find the scratch anymore. Those pens work wonders!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:03AM
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Cindylou I really liked your response, especially the thoughts on expectations. In fact there are so many helpful and thoughtful responses here. Thank you! I just hope no one comes away too offended.
My comment about "the descrtuctive years" was mostly tongue in cheek. Since my younger son is only 10 months he doesn't really push cars around and use markers and stuff like that. And we are not yet to the baseball and rollerskating years. :-) I can totally see how Marcolo and others may have read that in a different way, though. I should have/would have cleared it up earlier, but I just didn't make the connection. I never re-read my OP, I just kept reading the responses.

I most definitely have expectations for their behavior, and I want them to respect their surroundings. I have absolutely no problem asking them to keep cars on the rug, food out of the living room, and all sorts of other boundaries. However, I don't want to freak out if an accident happens. I don't want to think, "ugh, my precious floors!" I want to think, what is the lesson I can teach my kid." Bronwynsmom's post (I hope I spelled that are browny's mom to my eyes :-)) helps me articulate that now. Thank you so much. The "teachable moment" is exactly the perspective I hope to keep in mind, rather than the floor (or other such thing).

And, as someone else pointed out, it's not just about what my kids do. I want to be able to go easy on myself and my husband when we have the inevitable accident. I didn't mention that in my OP, and I should have because it makes it seems as if I only expect my children to make mistakes.

Now that we've discussed the ins and outs of parenting, let's all go take a look at my new floors! Ha ha! :-)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:51AM
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Just FYI, I remembered reading a tip on this forum for floor scratches to take a pecan, break it in half and rub it on a scratch. The oil makes it disappear. So when our floors have been scratched I've done that and it's worked! I hope that helps! Enjoy your new floors (and your boys)!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:01AM
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madtown 2006 - I know how you feel. And people seem to try to make you feel bad about trying to take care of your investment. I know it's just a floor, but I really don't won't to lug all the stuff out of the house, find a place to stay for days while it's being refinished, and fork out a ton of money again for quite some time!!! Whew!! We had our wood floors refinished 2 years ago, and within days, a chunk of granite fell off on them, a door sample my sister brought by fell on them, and the dishwasher leaked. Sooo it's hard not to stress a little. But you do have kids, so there's got to be a balance. Do what you can do - put large rugs outside and inside the exterior doors, and teach the little ones to wipe their feet. I don't think that's being an overbearing parent, and the neighbors will love it when your kids come to their house. Take precautions and then grit your teeth and grin when the inevitable happens :)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:10AM
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my dh made the first big scratch in our new hardwood floors right after he installed them, moving the fridge and leaving a huge mark in front of it. Thankfully we went with a lighter oak that hides scratches and dirt fairly well....we knew that all 5 of us would cause marks at some point.

I read this yesterday, and I thought is was fitting for this topic.

I am trying to account for my season by going with a new slip covered sofa, indoor/outdoor rugs, and then I won't be freaking out from inevitable spills. We have a wildcard in that I have a kid with special needs, and she can go for months of being well behaved, and then she'll randomly throw fragile belongings down the stairs or pour a can of paint on our dining room table when we briefly move out of arms length (and with autism, discipline is so much harder than my other two, who, while they still have their moments, generally respect the idea of taking care of our home).

I live in a small home with 3 kids, and so we don't have any separate spaces besides our bedroom (our dining room and living room are combined). I struggle with balancing my desire to have a beautiful home with the reality that I can't control everything and I want both me and my children to feel comfortable in our own home.

Here is a link that might be useful: design for the seasons of your life

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:42AM
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This quote by the renown Albert Hadley seems appropriate here which others have also mentioned.

"A lot of people worry about the "wear and tear" on furnishings. I feel its more a matter of people treating the things that surround them with respect." ~Albert Hadley

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Fourkids - My second grader has fine motor delays, so I understand. We've also never gone the Velcro route. So unattractive! Kindergarten is indeed a different animal these days. Imagine my surprise when my 5 year old came home talking about Venn diagrams!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Pork, LOL about Venn diagrams!

I used to get so frustrated with my 9 y/o about tying his shoes - we didn't even know until 3rd grade that he had issues with his fine motor skills. He always had poor handwriting but it never dawned on us why. In 3rd grade he was required to write in cursive and he had SUCH a difficult time with it. His teacher was incredibly strict, wouldn't let him test in manuscript and would take points off on his answers (on things like a social studies test that should have been about content, not spelling) b/c the words weren't written correctly. We had just started seeing a reading tutor who was so frustrated that they were requiring this of him, that we had a meeting with the school. The only way they would ease the requirement was if he got a note from a doctor! The reading tutor suggested an OT, and his handwriting test score showed that he clearly was struggling. Their testing also showed some minor other fine motor skill delays. It then clicked that this was why he had such trouble tying his shoes tightly and correctly! Anyway, he did almost a year of OT and it really helped (and fortunately, his 4th grade teacher is so much more understanding so he is having a much,much better year).

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:14AM
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I am a strict mom and I expect the house and items within it to be taken care of by everyone. Unfortunately at this point the most damage to my floors and furniture is from the large dog and the gd cat. It is hard to accept that we spend our money and time making our house look nice and that even with care, and extra scratching posts in every room, everything cannot look new and great forever.
I will say that some of the statements made about children and parenting do not or cannot hold true for all. I have 2 kids that are complete opposites, the first would never intentionally damage items in our house. The younger has a hot temper that has caused damage before it could be stopped but with time he has learned that there are always consequences, for example if you slam the door then it gets put in the basement and boy does he hate not having a door. Sometimes no matter how strict a parent is there are some children that will take many lessons to learn and unfortunately they may cause damage along the way.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Oak my Christmas tree scratch is about 3' long and right in the center of the room. The floor was about a month old and I was still waiting for my area rug to come in. As I was taking down the tree I VERY gently laid it down on the floor so I could separate the sections. As I picked up and packed each section, I saw the scratch. I could NOT believe such damage could be done by what must have been a branch gently sliding across the floor. It made me absolutely sick. I had planned to keep an area rug down most of the time, but I thought I'd take it up occasionally, because the floor is stunning without it. It's not a deep scratch and since it's under the rug I haven't tried to work on it, but I can say that none of my kids ever did any damage that horrified me the way that scratch did, lol. And there is no doubt that the majority of damage in my house, has been caused by my husband, who simply is not as careful as he should be. I'm glad I was the one that made the tree scratch because it was an early and valuable lesson as to how easily it happens. Because I KNOW how careful I was, I don't blame anyone else for an accident.

Madtown, I'm relieved to hear you have reasonable expectations of your babies! I should mention that one reason my kids never damaged anything is that my house was furnished with them in mind. I didn't have any crystal or fragile things out where they could get broken. I didn't have polished wood surfaces anywhere. I frequently watched them play and often took note of the freedom they had because we had wall to wall. They could stack their wooden blocks almost to the ceiling and there was no problem when they fell down.

As I think about it now, if I'd had the wood floor back then, I'd have had to restrict an awful lot of healthy, fun activities we enjoyed in the house. Speaking of which, baseball in the living room began when my eldest was two. My husband would blow up a balloon, give him one of those fat bats, and they had a great times playing like that for years. Then he graduated to wiffle ball, using throw pillows for bases. One night when the kids had gotten pretty big, too big to "run" the bases anyway, someone hit the ball really hard straight into my forehead while I was engrossed in a book. It made a very loud noise though it didn't hurt a bit. There was a collective gasp from the four males in the room, followed by all of us laughing our heads off. We all have a vivid memory of it. I hadn't realized how hard the kids had begun hitting the ball, so that night I reluctantly declared an end to indoor baseball out of concern for the windows and the TV screen.

There is no question that how you can use your home is directly related to your concern for material things. I wouldn't trade those years of USING our home to the extent we did, for all the money in the world. The years went by so fast, and now sadly, I have the most unwelcome freedom to indulge in delicate furnishings.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:49PM
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Excellent point athomeinva. We find out how delicate something is by damaging it! We all go around with a sense of how careful we have to be, but sometimes we are surprised by a particular item. I'll never forget breaking a Waterford goblet while washing it...I KNEW it was delicate, but not THAT delicate. Lesson learned, but damage already done.

Children have to develop that "sense" about everything and while they are developing it...

I'm a strict parent too. All of my boys became Marines and they all agreed their drill instructors had nothing on me.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:08PM
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Cindy, my mother has broken at least three of my wine glasses. Two of them were no big deal, but on Christmas Eve, she broke one of my Waterford crystal water glasses. We still don't know how it happened - she was pouring water at the time. I was standing right there. But when I went to pick up the glass right afterward, there was a piece of glass in it. She felt awful of course, and can't understand why she breaks so many glasses at my house, but never in her own!

I'm strict too! Like I said in another post, if they leave a dish or food out after a snack then go up the street to play, I shout up the street for them. You'd think they'd learn on that one. Even silly things have consequences. My boys have a habit of jumping up and touching this ledge in the family room as they enter the kitchen. One day, I noticed fingerprints all over the white paint. Ds spent a good bit of time washing the wall that day and it has curtailed his habit!

I can't imagine playing baseball in the house but my boys do have a basketball hoop on the back of their bedroom door. They were smart enough to move fragile things out of the way when they play (there is a ledge nearby with photos of them playing sports and they remove them when they play ball). Food stays in the kitchen except under special circumstances that require my permission. I

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:23PM
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The IKEA commercial with the boy in time-out in the kitchen makes me cringe. I would never have allowed my kids to slam closed all the drawers/cabinets or bang their ride on toy into them either. Sadly this IS the type of behavior that many parents allow. This is the kind of kid you hate to have in your playgroup!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:41PM
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fourkids, my 90-year-old mother is the usual culprit at our house, too! I know - age - but she's always been a little that way, because she is an animated storyteller, and whatever is in her hand is likely to be waved in a dramatic arc at some point.

And because she is alert, engaged, and quick to be distracted by the next thing before being quite done with the thing she is putting down, things do hit the floor with some regularity.

Recently she took out the whole glass side of a small old china cabinet by turning a corner too quickly and driving a rectangular bar stool seat right through it. She was horrified, but no injuries were sustained, and we all laughed and accused her of drunken lurching. (She wasn't.)

It was only a piece of glass. And now it's much easier to put the things on that end away!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:48PM
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That Ikea commercial is terrible and so is the Lowes one where they conveniently keep track of your paint color for touch ups after the kids have colored all over the walls, ugh.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:01PM
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