Thursday, November 27, 2008

Random question Thursday ... Thanksgiving edition

dollhouse of her dreams

What's your story?

I never owned a proper dollhouse.

I wanted one as a child but I was too much of a "tom boy" to admit that to anyone.

My mom told me a story about when I was little and I used to make dollhouses out of cardboard boxes. I'd color them with paint and crayons, and fashion furniture out of matchboxes and unraveled thread spools. I'd play for hours with small animals and dolls. Just chatting with myself.

She told me one Christmas she'd bought a lovely set of little boxes that were all screen printed inside to look like rooms in a house. You could stack them on top of one another, in any order you liked, to make a dollhouse similar to the ones I had been making out of empty postal packages. She thought I'd be thrilled with their bright colors and modern design. She expected they would enhance my play.

But, she says, my reaction was something best described as lukewarm. She explained with some degree of humility how I filled the boxes with crayons and never played with my creations again.

Mom said she thought the message she'd given me along with the boxes was that the houses I'd made weren't perfect enough.

After she'd told me that story, I wanted to make her feel better.

I remember those pretty little boxes, but I don't remember the emotions she's attatched to them. They were just the place I put my crayons. I have no memory at all of my cardboard houses. In my way of seeing things, it was her story more than mine.

But the tale has etched itself on me all the same. And it's taught me a lesson.

My daughter makes cardboard houses, too. She stacks them one ontop of another. Her father has helped with fancy turrets and colorful roofs. They are her story boxes: a room inside her room where she brings her dolls to reveal the stories of their lives.

This year, I'm getting her an unfinished wooden dollhouse. She'll get to paint it and make it her own.

** This would be one of the stories I'd ask my mother to retell tomorrow, StoryCorp-style, as part of the National Day of Listening, if I had any ability to use our camcorder and force her to sit in front of it. Since I don't see any of those variables coming together, I'm going to settle for this remembered transcript of our conversation.

Please consider taking part of this important contribution to history. Post a comment or blog about your experience and link back here. I'd love to hear (or read) your stories.


Whirlwind said...

I'm sure she'll love it. My girls got a dollhouse last year (it's white and pink, at one point, we were going to paint it like our house, we just never got around to doing so). They play with it still, but they do love their little box creations. We currently have a large shipping box in the living room, that they poked tons of hose into (and colored) that they like to sit in and close up. They say looking through the holes is like looking at stars. It's even got a cushion inside from them to sit on.

Who needs fancy gadgets? Just wrap a bunch of empty boxes!

gkgirl said...

love this post....

Anonymous said...

We put so much pressure on ourselves as moms.

I was going to buy Jaylene a "proper" dollhouse this year, after years of her begging me for one. We were in the toy store the other day and I sneakily asked her which one she liked the best (pink princess or green jungle). She said she wanted "that one" and pointed to the train set. I guess I have to wait another year to get my dream dollhouse ;)