Sunday, 18 November 2007
My Elf In Shining Armour
My husband does not fit the typical profile of a Christmas elf. Personally, I picture him as more of a “knight in shining armour” type with his tall athletic frame, dark tanned skin and broad shoulders. He recently surprised and impressed me, however, with his elf-like toy making abilities. After months of enduring my lengthy lectures and rants about the benefits of natural and handmade toys, he finally decided to roll up his sleeves and pitch in on my efforts to reinvent the contents of our family's toybox.
At 2 ½, Chi-Chi’s creative play is becoming more elaborate and complex. His quiet and peaceful moments of independent, imaginative play are welcome and appreciated around my busy household. It is much simpler to whip together a quick meal with Chi-Chi deeply engrossed in a farmyard scenario where Mr. Bunny crashed his fire truck into Mr. Horse's stall. Wishing to encourage this creative outlet for him, I thought he would find enjoyment in some type of structure to “house” his vehicles and animal friends. Browsing through natural toy websites, I quickly became aware that wooden dollhouses and barns can easily take a toll on one's pocketbook. A self-made structure seemed the best option.
My husband and I put our heads and hands together and created a wonderful little playhouse that will no doubt provide endless hours of entertainment in our home. A quick rummage through the yard and basement produced all the necessary project supplies. The two main floors of the structure were created from a remnant of a century-old barn board that was used as flooring in our home. Sticks and twigs from our property provided the beams and support pieces. The top platform was sliced off a log from my favorite childhood tree that my parents salvaged years ago. Hubby and I collaborated on the design of the project. I was responsible for sanding and finishing and he was in charge construction and assembly.
Chi-Chi’s little dollhouse is a child’s dream. This open-ended toy allows a child’s mind to drift and imagine. One moment it is an airport, the next a fire station. In the blink of an eye, Chi-Chi transports himself to Nanny and Graga’s house for a visit to pick apples and pet a sheep. Chi-Chi is also learning valuable lessons as he observes Mommy and Daddy collaborating on a project, lovingly building something with their hands especially for him. He's learning about being resourceful and creative by sorting through one's scraps to produce a beautiful and useful object. This little play house and the lessons and values that go with it are cetainly not something Chi-Chi could have found on the pages of the Sears Wish Book catalogue this Christmas!