Monday, May 14, 2012

Come With Me To The Casbox...

Inspired by this cave of stars and this reading nook, I made our wee man a funky little library. Or maybe it's a discotheque. Or a swinging hookah bar. Anyway, it was easy, and he loves it. And like the president, it is constantly evolving...

It started like this:

Mom added some fringe and some christmas lights, cut a hole in the wall for the window, and furnished it lovingly with a cushion, books and toys...

I just used a steak knife to cut an x to push each light through. The blogger who inspired me used the nonbrushy end of a paintbrush. We used battery powered lights, which let me tape the controls to the roof instead of having a cord.
Pretty swanky!

True to form, Austin had to redo the whole thing. The cushion, books and toys were all kicked to the curb. He does love the rest though... I can tell because he hasn't torn it all apart. So I reimagined it...

I am particularly proud of this after reading a depressing poll on a parenting site called Urban Baby. The poll asked, "Do you 'enjoy' spending time with your kids?" Out of over 50 thousand responses, more than half said "no." It was a nuanced version of "no," spread between two answers: "I really don't enjoy it at all, and wish I could spend less time with them" and "Honestly most of the time it's not fun at all, but it's not supposed to be fun." Another 20% said it was only sometimes enjoyable, but I'm cutting them some slack, because almost nothing that doesn't involve chocolate or nudity is 100% fun. And when I first saw this, I admit that I got some tears in my eyes, thinking that they were talking about real children. And I started thinking about why someone wouldn't enjoy spending time with their kids, and what I came up with was the disappointment of not being able to guarantee any kind of experience. Kids are unpredictable. I drove mine 40 minutes south just a few days ago to play in some bounce houses (not for free, mind you!) and he was afraid of them. When I held him and bounced he whined, and when I put him down in the bounce house, he clawed desperately at me, trying to climb back up from the horrible, horrible, jiggly surface. And I can understand getting pissed off at having invested so much time and effort in something that the kid wouldn't even try.  But that's not the kid's fault. Everything is new for them. They don't get copies of an agenda in the morning, so they know when they're supposed to be having fun. So I let him run around on the carpet around the bounce houses and grab the balls I suppose were there for the kids who weren't into bouncing. He was really into an arcade game in the back of the warehouse that had buttons to push and joysticks to wiggle. And after another half hour of this, I tried the bounce house again. I took him in when there were no other kids using it, and laid down and put him on my chest. And I reached carefully around for some soft balls that were bouncing around on the surface of the vinyl, and started shooting at the basket mounted above us on the wall. And after a minute or two, he started chasing after the balls. He was unsteady, and looked a little nervous, but he giggled when I shot baskets and the balls fell on his head. And eventually, he was having fun. He ran straight back to the arcade game when we got out to put our shoes on, but I felt very proud that I'd persevered with the bouncy house without forcing him or scaring him. And I had fun too. I fully expect him to be afraid of it again the next time we go, but that's just normal. It was a strange new place. But I'm his mom, and it's my job to help him find things that make him happy. So if he doesn't want a reading nook, it can be something else. So long as he enjoys it.

Which he seems to.

We liked playing with the beads

A lot.

We liked throwing things in the window

And coming in to find them
Hey, what are you doing in there?

I love this last picture. This is what the christmas lights look like, reflected in the foil. I don't think he's noticed it, yet, but I'm sure he will, someday.

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