Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not Your Mother's Dollhouse: A Utopian Vision

Take a journey with me inside the mind of a three year old. Dude, it is a weird place.

This morning, after I got back from taking Ava to school, the refrain of "Play with me, Mom!" rang in my ears. Perhaps this will sound callous, but I have a to-do list that will wrap twice around my 8 1/2 month preggo tummy right now. I'd been hoping to spend some time checking things off of it. But who can resist a dimpled-cheeked, blue-eyed boy? Especially when he follows you around the house, repeating said refrain over and over and over again? (I'm talking about Nate, not Jason. Jason has hazel eyes.) Nate and I sat on the floor and he wanted to play with Ava's dollhouse. But of course, he puts his own little-boy-Natey spin on it.

I started to put all the little people that go in the dollhouse in their proper places. Wrong. Apparently, as Nate informed me, this dollhouse was a "holiday house" for dinosaurs, superheroes, a giant starfish, a few stuffed frogs and--lo and behold--Bob the Builder. Oh--and a giant inchworm stopped by.

Here's some of the guys, you know, just chilling. It's what dudes do with giant turkeys on their holiday.

As we played, it occurred to me that Nate must be an idealist. What a utopian vision--to have a place where dinosaur (large and miniature), turkey, Captain America and starfish could gather in unity. To find a common ground, to all sleep lined side by side in the upstairs loft bedroom. There's something positively biblical about it. "The lion shall lie down with the lamb". "The Pooh Bear shall swim with Barbie and a stegosaurus."

Of course, when Barbie showed up things got a little interesting. She's a bit of a party girl. Then another Barbie came--a ballerina, this one--and Nate told me she had nowhere else to live. So some sort of indigent dancer Barbie needed a place to stay. But my boy--he's a hospitable type. And even though I found her a bit tartish, she was made welcome too.

And as for my to-do list, well, it waited for me. After all I learned something valuable. Several things, actually. For instance, did you know that when Captain America is in a tight spot, he relies on the assistance of a trusted billy goat? I know--I had no idea!

Apparently, this is an established fact. "Yeah, the goat helps him!", Nate told me. Got it.

It heartens me that in the midst of wars and conflict around the globe, the next generation has a vision for the future where multiple species, sea life, farm animals, homeless ballerinas and contractors can hang together. Wouldn't that be grand? Or weird. Or maybe both. It certainly was today.


  1. Sometimes my kids stop me in my tracks with the stuff they say, reminding me about what's really important...I need to play with them more often! I love your take on playtime with Nate!

  2. What an imagination ! So funny what little kids come up with. You were smart to sit down and play and let your to-do list go. He's a cutie !

  3. I read this in bed last night, and I was laughing so hard I was afraid I'd wake up Matt. What a wonderful world it will be!

    Oh, and of course Barbie is a "dancer." Right.

  4. Awesome. I want to read Nate's blog.

  5. We all just brothers from a different injection mold.

  6. Those *were* some good lessons.

    And it took me way back to those days when all my toys had personalities and we did not discriminate against the shaved Barbie head with a shoe string body that swam like a water snake in our swimming pool. And the He Man people played with the Thundercats.

  7. That warms my heart to read... your Nate is so wonderful... I look forward to see what my Nathan comes up with. Praying for you and your family sweet friend, I can't wait to meet the newest addition. Love you guys!

    And now I also know why Barbie is not allowed in the Darnell household : )