We’ve owned the two sofas in the sitting room for almost ten years now. Fortunately they have removable covers, otherwise I know we’d have replaced them a long time ago (note to parents: never buy a sofa that doesn’t have removable covers). One of the sofas, the one parallel to the television, is a three seater and at a squish will take two adults and two children. The other is a standard two seater and is perpendicular to the television.
Last week, before Project Banish the Children to the Playroom For Ever More had been undertaken, things reached an unexpected head. They boy was sitting at the dining room table doing his homework after a minimal amount of fuss*, the television was off, wifey was doing a bit of knitting, I was reading a book and we were all listening to some jolly pleasant music.
A near idyllic Sunday afternoon in fact.
Ned came in from whichever room he’d been crayoning the walls in, picked up a book and asked me to read it to him. I budged up on the sofa and he snuggled in next to me. Before I started, Fifi came in and sat down with her own book to read, right next to Ned. So we all sat there like a row or sardines, elbows pinned to our sides, knitting somewhat impeded. I politely asked Fifi to go and sit on the other empty sofa because it was getting more than a little crowded. The reply I got was baffling:
“I can’t Daddy, that’s the boy’s private sofa, Ned and me are not allowed on it.”
The reply was confusing enough that I entirely forgot to correct her grammar but I pushed on with the child relocation scheme regardless:
“Nonsense, just go and sit there, he’s doing his homework.”
Honest to goodness, Fifi hadn’t been sitting down for more than five seconds on the ancillary sofa before the boy had stomped over from the dining table, every muscle clenched, eyes standing out on stalks and veins bulging in his forehead. He lent in perilously close to Fifi, with both fists clenched and whispered loudly through clenched teeth:
“This is my private sofa. Get off of my private sofa right now.”
Well, that was unexpected I must say. It was the sort of display of terror that Darth Vader put on in the Empire Strikes Back, without any of the redemption that came in Return of the Jedi and we weren’t quite sure how to deal with it. Fifi had obviously fled the sofa in fear of her life, and wouldn’t go back on it with any assurance I could give, so it was left to me to have a full and frank discussion about sofa ownership with the boy. It didn’t go particularly well, and at one point had me pinning his flailing arms to his side as he attempted to best me for ownership of the aforementioned sofa but by the end of it some sort of entente had been reached wherein I gave my seat on the other sofa up to Fifi and I was allowed to sit on the private sofa myself.
Think I’ll chalk that one up to experience.
*about an hour of rolling around on the floor, sobbing, threatening and cajoling, so nothing really. Relieved it went that easily, all told.