Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The castle of my 4-year-old

My son delights in collecting things from around the house--things that are not his, such as his sisters' candy, my tools, rolls of toilet paper--and stashing them in small nests he has hidden around the house, then hiding there himself to spend hours perusing his loot. After the latest clean-out, which included some family heirlooms, packing peanuts, dried mango strips, and about $30 worth of pesos, I told him we were going to build him his own hideout, and he would get to keep his stash in there, but only there, keeping his clutter away from the rest of the house.

This involved a drive to the cardboard recycling dumpster in front of the nearest appliance store, to which he clung with a maniacal grin, peering in at me swimming through giant refrigerator, stove and washer boxes. I found several prospects, though the deeper I dug, the heavier the cardboard above me got, until I was lifting several feet of ultra-heavy board-stock with my back, while trying to extricate washer & dryer boxes on which I was standing. That's when I noticed the rain starting somewhere above my cardboard burrow. I frantically dug out the last boxes, threw them on the car, and piled three more on top to keep the rain off the good ones. We tied them on and took the surface streets home.

The washer & dryer boxes were perfect, and more than enough, so I moved several hundred square feet of excess cardboard out to the porch, and got to work. We taped them back up to shape, arranged them next to each other in the corner, and then pulled out one so that it was edge-to-edge with the other, leaving a space right in the corner it had just vacated, exactly the size of another box. This I called the courtyard, and he approved it over the other designs. The touching edges got taped together, to secure the courtyard against invaders, and we cut a little hobbit door into one box for an entrance to the compound. A little round hobbit window on the side where the natural light and the lamp can illuminate the interior (he wanted it wired for electric lighting, but combining electricity, cardboard, and someone with poor bladder control seemed like a non-starter to me). Another door leads into the interior courtyard, from where the only door to the second box makes that one rather isolated from the outside (and from anyone larger than a hobbit). He is beside himself over this new domicile, which is tall enough for him--and only him--to stand inside.

And I spent money on Christmas presents?

1 comment:

Laura said...

mrmcgroovys.com

it's the best idea ever for building with boxes

Good Luck!