Monday, 1 October 2012

Colour Choices

Over the years my family lived in a number of houses as I was growing up. My parents let me choose wall colours in several of my rooms. When I was ten years old, I chose a green room. I still remember the painter telling me I'd turn in to Kermit the Frog (ha ha, not). When I was twelve I chose a blue room. In case you haven't realised, I was a deliberately non-pink girl. When I was sixteen I chose blue again (new house), this time we added a tiny blue and yellow floral border under the ceiling line. I'd bought it myself from Laura Ashley.

So does that make me a hypocrite to admit that when it came to painting the room of my girls, I overruled their suggestions and chose PINK?

Okay, probably yes.

When we first talked colours, my husband thought it would be cool to ask the kids for their colour choices, just like mine had done for me. I quickly realised that I was not this kind of parent. Okay, I probably knew this information about myself already.

Jonathan employed this same technique before Arch was born. For a period of about six excruciating months he persisted in asking the older three what they wanted to call the new baby. This discussion would invariably lead to long list of COMPLETELY USELESS names, that we were never in a million years going to use (apologies if your name or favourites appear below). Frankly I couldn't see the point.

Leading examples (I'll keep the identities of the suggesters anonymous):
Snow White
Rapunzel
Robin (yes, as in Hood)
Sung Yee or Kim Jong (anything Korean was the suggestion)
Fanny (thank you Enid Blyton)
Frank or Joe (as in Hardy)
Alfred (as in Hitchcock)
Hagrid...

Needless to say we went with Archie James - and so far haven't regretted it.

So, back to the colour choices. Jesse (aged 9) asked for black, brown or blood red. Eleanore (aged 7) wanted aqua; and Miriam (aged 5) wanted purple. Currently the girls share a room. Trying to imagine a room half aqua and half purple gave me nightmares. Similarly the black and brown options did not feature in my top two hundred.

I had a picture in my mind of the rooms I imagined for them. I wanted imaginative safe havens. Cosy nooks for reading and fun places for playing. Restive rooms for sleeping and places that reflected them. We discussed other elements they wanted, such as bookcases, pictures and mirrors. We talked themes: Fairy tales, Harry Potter, Wizard stuff, Knights and Castles, Enchanted Lands and gardens...

I wrote about the colours we did end up choosing in my previous post La Vie En Rose - the girls got pink, Jesse got red, and Arch (thankfully not yet speaking) got blue. Even though they may not have been the first or personal choices, it  was a discussion that included everyone, and everyone was happy with the end result.

the red room (3rd choice) with war pictures

the pink room (Mum's choice) with fairy castle mirror
Maybe when we do the "teenage update" I'll be more flexible. I can see that at that stage it would be pretty important for the emerging adult to feel like they were having a say, being heard, taking ownership and loving where they live. I'm just praying that Jesse still won't want black or brown. I figure I've got four to five years to talk him out of it..and I'm starting now.

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