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Ikea table parenting

February 24, 2015

Ours is a little more scratched and dented and marked on and…

My philosophy of parenting includes keeping only moderately decent furnishings, because mistakes will happen. For example, one of the boys got permanent marker on our dining room table. It’s the nicest table I’ve ever owned, but it’s also an Ikea pine wood jobby, easily scratched and marked. It’s not anything we’re likely to turn into an heirloom.

When I was a kid, I always thought getting yelled at for that sort of thing was a huge injustice. Growing up hasn’t really changed my mind. I can tell the boy didn’t do it on purpose*; it’s easy not to think of these things when you’re a kid**. Nothing (that’s not actually yours) has a huge amount of value, because that’s not how your mind works yet. It’s just stuff, that exists in your world. How on earth could you understand the schooling and career building behind the day your mom was able to buy a decent table?

Knowing that, why would I get my dream table – if I had such a thing – and expose it and my kids to each other?  It’s better to have the niceish, functional table, tell them to clean up the marks as best they can, and ban permanent markers.


*He did once mark on a chair on purpose, but that time I could tell it wasn’t malicious. He was just “oh hey, a chair and a marker, let’s see.” Yes, sometimes as a kid you brain fart that way. I remember doing it, don’t you?

**And, the daughter pointed out that the permanent marker may have bled through the paper, which is just a problem with experience and/or anticipating consequences.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 24, 2015 5:57 pm

    I actually got a similar ikea table to that second hand. It has two leaves so I can stretch it out to like ten people. Its only pine on the side and formica covered high density particle board on the top. It was a laundry room table before I got it, so its a little warped on the top.

    Honestly, if you could get one of those big ass table sanders, it wouldn’t be to hard to refinish the table. A few coats of tung oil, will give it a pretty natural look.

    I’m totally with you on the kids being all destructive. I will say when Emily is old enough for me to be able to have nice things again, I’m going the antique route for the dream kitchen table. I don’t think there’s anything mass produced these days that is really appealing to me, and bespoke artisinal tables are in the $10k+ range new. Also, anything mass produced today is going to be new growth wood.

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