There was indeed some discussion when we first spotted the cardboard house. The discussion being that Nate, in typical fashion, wanted it for Thalia (along with everything else in the store) insisting that she would love it like nothing else. I resisted.
He won. And he was right.
It started with a lot of potential – a pristine white 3-dimensional canvas ready for water colors and imagination. But instead of turning it into a rainy day art project (because that would take planning) we decided to let Thalia go at it with any art supply, any time she likes. Basically the Running with Scissors approach to creativity. She had her way with stickers and shards of Crayolas retrieved from under the sofa. She painted. She let her sitter sketch suns and trees and stars. She wrote the letters in her name.
Even if it yielded a big multicolored mess it was her mess and she loved it. Her beloved mess in the middle of our living room.
Over time we saw the house evolve, as we had hoped. It was a castle, a kitchen filled with play food, a playroom, a dress up space. It was a place Thalia accepted junk mail through the little pass through slot or sat on a single pink toddler chair and ate an apple. She hung her art work on the walls. She invited her sister in for tea.
And then in the last week, it became something we hadn’t expected – a bathroom. Thalia moved her potty in there for privacy. Once a day she announces her intentions, then races in shutting the little cardboard door behind her.
I always wanted a second bathroom in our apartment. I never expected it would be an outhouse.