What would you say if someone asked you to get rid of your sofa? Most people I know wouldn’t be impressed! But that is what I suggested to Pigeon and Parrot a year ago. The old sofa was in a bit of a state, the two boys had jumped all over it and some damp in the house had affected it badly. We chopped it up and took the frame to the tip; but we kept the large cushions from it to use as floor cushions. We decided not to replace it, which freaked out some of our friends and family! I should say at this point that we did buy a futon for guests to sit on and sleep on. But a whole year without a sofa has been amazing.
Pigeon and Parrot are boisterous, sensory-seeking children and need more space than our home set up previously allowed. The sofa took up lots of space as did random freestanding cupboards and other bits of furniture. Streamlining the furniture around the house has allowed us to have a more flexible space. The boys have a bigger space for rolling around the floor, making dens and generally being ‘boys’.
This meant we also had room for an indoor folding climbing frame and ladder that tucks behind the futon when not being used. We also bought a gymnastic bar that comes apart and stores down the side of my bed when not in use. The old sofa cushions make an excellent crash mat for underneath the climbing frame or bar when combined with some blankets and the futon mattress.
The first item in our indoor playground was an indoor swing that sits across the lounge doorway; it has various attachments that have grown with the boys over the years. A while ago, we added a balance board, a spinning carousel seat, a cargo net to crawl under, ropes, compression suits… basically we live in a sensory play zone! Combine all of our equipment and it is possible to make an assault course around the whole house, which we do once a month or so.
It is not a standard way of parenting, but we aren’t your average kind of family! Our house set-up lets the boys be active, even in the midst of a pandemic when public playgrounds carry a risk of infection for a medically complex child. It also encourages creativity in the boys. The climbing frame often becomes part of a tent to sleep in or eat their lunch in. Pigeon has even managed to make a nest that hangs from it.
I like to think of it as making memories in a different kind of way.