Sunday, February 05, 2006

Use Caution When Choosing Child Sized Furniture

By Christina VanGinkel

Browsing the furniture department of a large department store recently, I found myself in the section that displayed a wide range of children sized furniture. Small stepstools, recliners, toddler sized beds, and chairs. The small chairs caught my attention, as I have commented to my husband on more than one occasion that we should buy a small chair for our living room that would be perfectly sized for our two-year-old grandson. We actually bought him one of those miniature recliners that you see everywhere when he was just a year old, one of the ones that look identical to a typical adult sized recliner, and we know that he uses it all the time at home.

Our living room is small though, and my husband has always rejected the idea of buying a chair that would not blend in with the rest of our living room furniture. Not to mention that whenever I push the point, he reminds, a bit sarcastically I might add, that we already have a child-sized rocker, which we purchased while on vacation thirteen years ago, for our youngest child. Made of wood, I have disliked the rocking chair from the minute we actually made the decision to buy it.

I should have known that there was something amiss with the rocker before we bought it. There were several of them all lined up, and my husband commented that they looked to straight. When I asked him what he meant, he tried to explain it, but in the end just replied that if I wanted the chair I should buy it. We had come across the display of chairs at an outdoor fair that was selling all sorts of handcrafted items. One vendor in particular had a large display of wood items, including several pieces of children's sized furniture, including the particular rocking chair that we did eventually purchase. It looked so cute, and our son, who was just over a year old at the time, sat down in it and seemed to be very taken in by the fact that here was a chair just his size. My husband, a pushover with each of our kids from the day they were born, and with me, of course bought us the chair without another word said.

I recall asking him if we would have room for it in the car on the drive home, which was ten hours away. We were visiting my brother and his family down state Michigan, and we lived in northern Wisconsin. We would be driving up the length of the state of Michigan, across the Mackinaw Bridge, and then down along the bay until we got to Escanaba Michigan, where we would then turn inland until we arrived at our home about an hour outside of Escanaba. This should have been a big clue that this chair was not meant to be ours, as realistically, I knew there was not room in the car for it, not with my husband, three children, and myself. With all three kids in the backseat, along with a car seat for the youngest, and our trunk full of luggage, where we were going to put the rocker, I had not a clue. Still, I just thought it was just adorable, and so we bought it. In addition, our littlest one did look so cute sitting in it, though; I have to admit it did seem a bit tipsy. It was sitting on grass, and I just assumed that was the reason.

Well, we got it back to my brothers, carried it in, placed it on the floor of his living room, on a flat surface I should say at this point, and the minute our son went to sit in it, I knew what he had meant by too straight. The rockers were not extended far enough out, and now that it was on a flat surface, and not on grass as it was at the fair, it wanted to tip forward the minute our child tried to sit in it. I think my husband knew then that it had been a mistake to purchase the chair, but he just remarked that our son was somewhat small to be sitting in a rocker by his self, and as soon as he was a bit bigger, it would be just fine.

Well, we lugged that chair home, most of the way on my lap in the front seat, and after just a few days of near mishaps, we put the chair away. Like a thorn in my side, we have never tossed it, and our daughter used it for a while to stack her dolls on. However, to this day, every time I have mentioned getting a small chair, when our youngest child was still small and now with our grandson, my husband just sort of rolls his eyes and reminds me that I have a cute little wood rocker in the spare room, and that I should just use it. Yeah right!

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