[Guest post by DRJ]
The title of this post was taken from a February 14, 2008, article in the New York Times. A few people might read this article and wonder if these parents should even be parents. I don’t feel that way. It takes all kinds of people to make a world, and each of these parents seems to genuinely love their kids. Plus, it sounds like each family ended up taking good care of their kids.
Nevertheless, reading this article did make me wonder a little why they wanted to be parents in the first place. Given the article’s title, I suspect whoever wrote the headline was a little conflicted, too.
“Ms. Brown and Mr. Friedman — who of course were thrilled to have a child, like all the later-in-life parents interviewed for this article — were also determined not to let Harrison “take control of the house,” Ms. Brown said. They went ahead with putting in flat-front lacquered maple cabinets in the kitchen, even though they soon had to watch a professional babyproofer drill 300 holes in them for safety latches. (Ms. Brown still cringes.) They put up silk Shantung draperies in Harrison’s bedroom, knowing that they might well end up stained, as they soon did — with yogurt. And they held onto the molded-wood chairs, which were not an easy transition from the highchair. “They have a very sleek bottom,” Ms. Brown explained. “He slides off it.”
“[McLean] also refused to babyproof furniture when the children were younger. She was “never one of those mothers” who put safety corners on coffee tables, she said. “That stuff is just gross, and I don’t feel you have to sacrifice living space to that degree.” And she decided not to install wire railings on the open side of the floating walnut staircase Mr. Stratton designed to connect the first- and second-floor living spaces.
“We couldn’t bear it,” she said. “It was too ugly. So basically what we did was we trained the kids to hold onto the handrail, and it’s worked. No one’s ever fallen off.”
“Among the most troubling matters was the fate of the Barcelona chairs, whose “corners are basically razor blades,” Mr. Cheng said. After much deliberation, they put three in the garage and wrapped the corners of the fourth in foam so it could stay in the living room. “It was just sad,” Mr. Cheng said.
As for the coffee table, they avoided doing anything until Beckett gave them no choice: while learning to walk last summer, he used it as his main training prop. “He’d cruise and trip and hit his face on the table’s edge,” Mr. Cheng recalled.
Mr. Jarecke initially refused to discuss parting with or altering the table in any way, but they eventually compromised and decided to wrap the edge of the top in foam. “As I’m taping it,” Mr. Cheng said, “I’m saying, ‘I’m taping over what makes the difference between this being a Noguchi table and a Kmart table.’ ” Mr. Jarecke was even more distraught. “It transformed this beautiful modernist piece of furniture into a piece you’d find in a ’70s rec room,” he said.”
There used to be a time when parents bemoaned the loss of their “adult” lives in a humorous way. This article wasn’t that humorous.