Thursday, March 22, 2012

WE BUILT A CASTLE


The Castle Kit that’s been hanging around down in the toy-file-drawer came out into the sun yesterday.   Its debut several months ago went the way of the Go Fish cards, the Cootie Game, the numerous puzzles of twenty-four or fifty pieces.

Books are different---books get opened, admired, sounded out, and read to over and over, but games with pieces---those have been a different story.    Candyland’s little cards and figures were co-opted for the dollhouse, serving as guests and carpets and blankets.  
Any pouring out upon the table, or attempts to deal or explain rules were met with immediate encircling-with-arms and refusals to listen.  And I, from my own imagination-laden childhood (albeit of far lesser bits and pieces to conjure with) can remember the immediate jumps forward of this-will-make-a-splendid x and won't-that-go-nicely-in-the-dollhouse/game /kitchen/ treehouse in which acorn cups and flower buds and bottle caps translated nicely into all sorts of other needfuls, understand perfectly.  This child takes things into her own hands---making roads and hills and schools and songs.   You’re welcome to participate and embraced into the imaginary game or story with enthusiasm---just take what she hands you, and follow her lead.
And I treasure these times---even the proprietary ones, for they are fleeting and the conversations beyond price.
And now---yesterday---as she spied the castle bag in her toy-tub, she gently lifted it out, laid it upon the table, and carefully spilled its shapes upon the cloth.   We got out the INSTRUCTIONS---just imagine---and read those for the cornerstone, at least, as she patted and picked up and perused all the shapes and forms.     We counted out twelve blocks---check;  two arches---check, two ice cream cones---ditto.
I carefully stacked the first six pieces---the two foundation blocks, two round-ended planks, and the big gateway balanced atop---then sat back and let her go to it.



And she did---quite well for a four-year-old, I think.   Little tries and rejections, tiny squints and removals, the soft whisper of “Steady, very steady,” as she set the tiny crenellations into Mary Poppins chimneypots.    A few overturnings, a couple of just-avoided avalanches, and quite a few prinkings---like a new bride moving a mirror or chair from place to place all over the room til she’s satisfied with the effect.  She'd pick up a piece and reach, then reconsider like an uncertain chess player, never turning loose of the wood.




Back view:



It’s still sitting there---we left it for Ganner to see when he got in late from work; we ate at the dining table, the three of us, setting down the little Tupperwares and the cottage cheese container right out of the fridge onto the shiny glass with the fish sticks and the bowl of snap beans, so as to leave the breakfast-table masterpiece intact for her Mommy to see after her Bible study meeting.

What small royal or fairy or elf wouldn’t want to live there?  Ganner and I certainly would, but we’re waiting til the moat-diggers work us into their schedule.  


11 comments:

Beverly said...

It is the place of many dreams - and built with great skill. I would happily inhabit such a place, too.

I know what a treasure every minute is with your sweet little one.♥

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Rachel:
Now, this could so easily be Sleeping Beauty's castle. It is simply magical and we are totally amazed that a four year old managed to construct it. We are certain that we should have been fiddling about for days and still have had half of the turrets missing!!

What a wonderful time you must have spent together in this activity.

Southern Lady said...

What a precious little hand and how imaginative and creative she is!

You are giving her such a magical childhood, Rachel ... and, even though she's only four, I know she will remember and cherish moments like this for the rest of her life.

Kim Shook said...

Brava, Sweetpea! What a blessed girl to have so many people proud of her accomplishments!

Tonja said...

What a sweet post by a very wise grandmother! 'Instructions' I, myself, have such trouble with those. I am of the type who wants to rush in and try it my way...thinking myself as smart as the designers of the product. I never am...but, I tend to forget that the next time something comes along with instruction! An, now...I have to find a large magnifying glass to even read them!
Your sweetpea has much confidence, it seems, in her abilities, and that is a gift that those who guide and direct her have given her. It is a gift she will always have. Amazing job building that castle!

Tonja said...

What a sweet post by a very wise grandmother! 'Instructions' I, myself, have such trouble with those. I am of the type who wants to rush in and try it my way...thinking myself as smart as the designers of the product. I never am...but, I tend to forget that the next time something comes along with instruction! An, now...I have to find a large magnifying glass to even read them!
Your sweetpea has much confidence, it seems, in her abilities, and that is a gift that those who guide and direct her have given her. It is a gift she will always have. Amazing job building that castle!

ma said...

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jeanne said...

Hi Rachel, Sweetpea's castle is lovely. The best part is a grandma, who loves and guides her precious granddaughter in all things. I loved reading the stages of loving careful building of the castle. You are building her character, security in your love and giving her your precious time. Sweetpea is such a darling bright little girl. You are my delightful dear sister friend. My wish is that we will meet each other one day. Smile.
Love, Jeanne

Keetha said...

Oh, I love that! I'm so happy for Sweetpea that you documented it.

jeanne said...

Hi Rachel, just checking in to say happy weekend.
Love, Jeanne

Steven Meralevitz said...

Howdy, Rachel D!

I've been on hiatus from eGullet for a while (though I wasn't shoe-shopping as you might expect), so I updated my blog at http://borscht-belt.blogspot.com.

How are the Ladies Who Lunch doing? And are they still willing to extend an invite to Fress in a Dress?