Couch Surfing

It’s been a long time since I’ve purchased any new furniture. But our old couch, a fourth-generation hand-me-down, was down to threads. The middle sagged like my, um – well, it just sagged. And even the slipcover that I’d had on it for the past five years was worn and faded. It was time for a new couch.

So, after much searching in stores and trying to budget for a brand new one, I found on Craig’s List a beautiful, gently used leather sectional that I love. It’s the same shape as our old one, just a few inches longer on each side. And the price couldn’t be beat. I was so excited about it!

Then I remembered – I had better prepare Nigel. Even little transitions like a new piece of furniture are sometimes difficult for him to assimilate. I announced that we would be getting a new couch soon and showed him the photos of it that had been posted on Craig’s List. I pointed out that it was similar in size and shape to the old couch, just different material. I mentioned that I wouldn’t constantly be nagging about the slipcover getting messed up because we wouldn’t need a slipcover. Nigel, not caring in the least about the slipcover, started in with the questioning. Why do we need a new couch? Why can’t we just keep the old one in the game room? Why do we have to get rid of it?

I couldn’t expect him to understand that because the old couch had belonged to an ex-boyfriend, I really didn’t want to keep it any longer. So I tried to come up with other compelling reasons, but Nigel held his ground. He didn’t want to get rid of the old couch because he had fond memories of watching movies with the ex-boyfriend. I knew then that the only way out of this conundrum would be gradual. He needed time – time to bond with the new couch and time to let go of the old one.

Since Nigel is a kinesthetic learner, I figured that one way of helping him to process the new couch would be to have him help with moving it. I brought him with me to go pick it up from the seller’s house, and he enjoyed helping to carry it out and load it on the truck. When we got to our house, he helped to unload it and bring it in. And then he would have nothing to do with it.

I had pushed the old couch to the back of the room, and that is the one that he sat on. “I have to say goodbye to it,” he told me. And I knew that he would need time to do that, so I scheduled the pick-up for the old couch the following week.  He sat on it for about an hour, and he insisted on eating his dinner while seated on it. “I have a lot of memories with this couch,” he said wistfully. “Yes, honey. We all do,” I confirmed. Then I had an idea.

“I think tonight we should have our first memory with the new couch. And the old couch will still be here, so it can be the last memory with the old couch, okay? Let’s all watch a movie together tonight. Nigel, you can choose what we watch.”

So that night we watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Nigel split his viewing time between the old couch and the new couch, doing in-home couch surfing. At the end of the movie, I asked him what he thought of the new couch. He mulled it over before answering, and then he said, “Well, I would like it better if it had a fabric cover.” Ah! A sensory issue! I should have thought of that! I suggested that he could cover his side of the couch with a sheet until he gets used to the leather. “But it’s not so bad,” he conceded. “I don’t mind it.”

And that’s how we roll – one couch-surfing transition at a time.

9 thoughts on “Couch Surfing

  1. Pweshes Mama

    OMG that’s such a sweeett story and I got a lump in my throat just reading it! I loved how Nigel was able to communicate why he was so attached to the old couch and the fact that he managed to convince himself in the end that the new couch isnt so bad. – that’s just too precious! -I’m so in awe reading about him! 😀

  2. Fearless Females

    that was a great way to handle the transition… he’ll come around. The last time we needed a new couch, we got the same exact one, just is a little different color… didnt trick him, but it was helpful..

  3. Cheryl

    OMG – Nick had a lot of the same feelings that Nigel did when we got our “new leather couch and sofa” several years ago. He wined about having to get rid of the old thread-bare, stained, stinky couch that he loved for days, and on delivery day as the movers were bringing in the new furniture he threw himself on the old one and cried and glared at the moving men when they asked him if he liked the new furniture! I could have died…you handled it WAY better than I did!!! Patience of a saint, Tanya, that is what you have! I strive to have even an ounce of yours…could you bottle some up for me please???

  4. hellokittiemama/MT

    We did the couch replacement a couple of months ago. You were way better about transition than we were. We had to remove the old one and out to the curb the night before the new couch & chair arrived. Thankfully, the kids took to it right away and they liked that the new roomy armchair was kinda like the “thinking chair” on Blues Clues. Alex didn’t like that it didn’t rock the way the old loveseat did but after about a week of telling me to bring the old one back (it was long gone to the dump) it stopped.

    Way to go on finding a craigslist deal like that!!!

  5. Bonnie Sayers

    That is a good process of moving the old couch and bringing in new one. Matt does not seem too bothered by new large pieces. I tend to move furniture and re arrange when he is asleep and when younger he would put things back to the way they were. Nick usually comes with me when shopping. Next is either a small couch to replace old one and a futon bed for him to move him into another room.

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