I’ve spoken before about the amazing experience of watching my kids discover something new. I hadn’t really expected the addition of a 4′ x 4′ x 6′ cedar playhouse in our basement to bring me another one of those great moments. But it did.
I’d been searching for a plastic playhouse at garage sales for months. I think I was with good company, because someone always managed to snatch them up first. I just wasn’t willing to shell out $200 for one of the plastic ones knowing that we were only going to get a few years’ worth of use out of it and were planning on purchasing a swingset this summer.
Enter grandparents. Better yet, grandparents who read the sale fliers. My parents located a cedar playhouse on sale at Toys R Us – cheaper than the plastic ones! You can find it here…although the cost has doubled post-Christmas (http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3393748). You will notice the reviews on it suck, but my dad had already done a lot of the work assembling it, and had no problems because he took the time to predrill the holes and used Gorilla Glue to help him out. I helped with the final assembly in our basement, and was psyched to be able to use the power tools to finish putting it together (yes, in my previous life I was apparently a carpenter, or else I was just on a power trip in general – take your pick).
It took about two hours for final assembly (after dad had already put three weekends into it), and I was afraid we were losing the kids interest. Translation? Mama’s attention was focused somewhere else for two hours and they were mad. But once that final door went on, energy was restored!
I watched the two of them run in and out, excited to have their own “building”. Jake immediately figured out that the side window with a shelf was for handing food in and out of the house. How that conclusion was drawn is beyond me, but the house is now known as either “dinner house” or “Old McDonald’s”, which is his version of McDonald’s. He spends hours playing down there, serving us whatever we want. Scratch that. The dinner house is often arbitrarily out of food, the other night it only had 5 tomatoes and 4 carrots, both things he never eats himself.
The most exciting thing was seeing Morgan’s imagination rise to the surface. We finished the house and my parents asked Jake to get them a ham sandwich. He ran inside the house, and came out with an invisible sandwich in his hands. Looking at Morgan, they asked for an ice cream sandwich. Wouldn’t you know, she ran right in and carried out another invisible food item.
Now I know many of you probably think she was just mimicking her brother, and I’m sure that’s true. But she was an active participant in this game – ask, get, give. She clearly understood that my parents were asking for something that didn’t really exist, but she was able to deliver.
So, I call this moment, imagination realized. And however she figured it out, I’m awfully proud of her for getting there!