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House To Home

January 21, 2016

I recall when my daughter was small and I’d ask her to clean her room. Her young mind responded by stuffing small toys and dirty clothes under the bed and larger toys and games in the closet. Those were her two favorite hiding places, as with most children I imagine. How could anyone argue with that logic? Everything was out of sight and ‘wa-la’ her room presented itself clean. Besides, she was so proud of herself. I was proud of her too. Until the trend continued into her teenage years when I realized I probably should have encouraged some adjustments to her tidy-up strategy.

Nowadays, with an up and coming second generation it’s not that I’d call myself a neat freak. Okay, maybe just a tad fre…I, I mean neat. What can I say; utilizing my Interior Design degree all toys and games necessitous for encouraging a child’s imagination have hiding places in my house. Reflecting on the years my daughter lobbed everything out of sight I must have acquired the brilliant idea from her. Now, years later I’ve developed a terrific skill for organizing ‘tons of stuff’ neatly into small spaces. Well, as neatly as you can stack a two-story toy airport tower on top of a two-story folding doll house.

Guests are never aware of the amazing treasures tucked away in my dinning until the g-kids come to visit. Faster than you can say “open sesame” toys spill across the floor before I finish carrying everything in from the car. Sigh. Stepping over unclothed dolls, cars with decaled faces and a plastic jigsaw, I find myself smiling as I glance at the inspired chaos. A “Children at Play” sign hanging over the sideboard would be apropos since they’ve already ignited their expanding imaginations in a quest to decide what to play with first. As a matter of fact, each time the dynamic duo visit my humble house transcends the boundaries of neat and tidy and straight into the well-loved, well-lived comforts of a home blessed with children.

Their usual favorites are the doll house for Sunshine and the ‘city’ rug with ALL his cars for Stormy. Hovering nearby, I realized on this particular visit my little man wanted to play with his sister and the doll house. Overhearing the conversation Stormy had a Ken doll and was ringing the doll house doorbell. Meanwhile, Sunshine was undressing yet another Barbie (what a child’s obsession with a naked doll is I’ll never understand) and wouldn’t let Ken in. Older now, he is talking more and just kept ringing the bell and asking, “Can I come in?” “NO!” “Why not?”

Dickens, at three and five, I’d rather witness play arguing. Especially since he’s becoming more articulate and suddenly my granddaughter is finding herself on the receiving end of being tattled-on. A turn of events since big Sis has always been in charge of what they are doing. Yes, our little man is finally speaking out. He’s always been quiet and calm, content to sit and observe while playing with his toys or on the tablet. His older sister has never shared those attributes, being more interested in stealing the spotlight. Funny, they are so different, yet so alike.

Anyway, the saddest part of their visit is when all the toys are picked up and tucked away because they must return home. The house grows quiet as the canine crew resume their favorite sleeping places in the dining room: the pup in her crate, Bonnie on the pillow I made for her in front of the sideboard and Clyde in front of the pantry. Once again a serene calm envelops the house as country music softly plays in the background.

Yet, even though the g-kids leave they are never really gone. You see, for weeks I always find small reminders of their visit. Such as, a toy truck forgotten on my vanity or a baby doll lovingly wrapped in tapestry I’d set aside to recover a bench. Children, do indeed, make a house a home.

Can you imagine…if Barbie ever lets Ken in?

Smile, you were a child once too!




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