Friday, July 27, 2007

Cardboard Envy

I very much agree with children the world over – cardboard boxes make the best toys. We order a few things online here (as one does when one lives in America, and lives in a climate that can be inhospitable), so we regularly receive cardboard boxes. When a large box arrives, the boys become quite excited: Nic at the prospect of something to climb in / out of and to hide in, Luc with the prospect of creating some new form of habitation. 

From the larger boxes we have made a fort, castle and houses… These have a limited life span and once they start to disintegrate, we await the arrival of the next big box and potential plaything to take its place. 
Demise of a cardboard house. The house - that Luc decided should be red - in its final moments. 
Luc has an obsession with rocket ships at the moment. Wanting to be an astronaut when he grows up is part and parcel of that obsession. One morning we were lamenting the demise of our latest ‘house’ box, and Luc mentioned the prospect of building a space rocket. We had no suitable boxes available. When we walked out on the street to visit our local park, voila, sitting on the pavement was a very large, very lonesome looking box. Luc took one look at it and exclaimed “A space rocket!” we knocked on our neighbours door and asked if we might have the box if they had no need for it. That was no problem, so we claimed it and put it inside our buildings foyer. 
Nic examines our cardboard box find
The whole morning, while we were out and about, Luc wanted to go home to build the rocket. After his nap that afternoon, he was upset to find the box hadn’t transformed itself into a rocket. After another days disappointment, I was compelled to build a rocket. I ran out of cardboard for the ‘fins’ and knew this would be the first thing Luc would notice, and sure enough, after the initial excitement of seeing his very own space rocket the next morning, he exclaimed “I wanted a rocket ship with fins!” Another box, and the fins were attached. 
The rocket ship (with fins) showing some sign of wear and tear. Luc decided the rocket should be blue. 
The need to have astronaut attire was (partly) satisfied with the discovery of a small cardboard box that Luc promptly put on his head and pronounced a helmet. Luc wore this to the park. I must say, I had a number of quizzical stares from strangers, whilst pushing around a stroller with a cardboard clad child. I said “He’s an astronaut” to a bemused couple as we walked past. They called back “Perfect!” We arrived at the park. Gabrielle was amused, 3yo James impressed and 1yo William non-plussed. 

The next day we planned to meet Polly, Callan and Finn at the Green City Markets (a weekly expedition for us). Luc again wore his cardboard helmet. Upon seeing Luc, Polly exclaimed, “For goodness sake, buy your child a sun hat!” Callan was very impressed and wanted a turn wearing the box. Luc, not about to hand over his prized helmet, promptly refused. Quite a bit of tussling ensued and we had two 3 year olds in (sometimes physical) competition for a very simple, plain, unadorned, brown cardboard box. Polly and I couldn’t believe it. We had to institute a 2-minute-rule (Callan could wear the box for 2 minutes, then Luc for 2 minutes – alternating between the boys). Thank goodness that 2 minutes is still an arbitrary concept and can last for as long or as little as required or is necessary. 

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