sideways rabbit

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Joy of the Found Toy

There's a joke, stale as fruitcake, that gets lobbed around this time of year: the one about the kids abandoning their carefully chosen gifts and discovering that the boxes they came in are the most fun of all. We're meant to learn an important lesson about the wonder of imaginary play, paired with a bonus scolding about the perils of overspending.

Trouble is, the joy of the empty box doesn't last long after age 4. (Unless, of course, it has housed a refrigerator or some other major appliance and can reasonably be turned into a playhouse or pirate ship.) But I'm all for found toys, and the more unexpected, the better.

You can't force the found toy. I once suggested to Beau that a stick in the yard could easily become a light saber. But he's an only child. Absent a worthy opponent, the game's pointless. So, for those times when there's no friend over to enact a particular scenario, I'm always pleased when he incorporates random objects into his play.

One of my mothers-in-law sent me these petite French-milled soaps for Christmas. (Yes, I have more than one MIL, thanks to the multiple divorces, on both sides of our family, in the previous generation. In a future post, I'll explore how having a baker's dozen of grandparents affects the only child.)

The soaps smell divine, and are intended for guests. Right now, though, these fragrant little squares are on hard duty. I looked for them late this morning and found them lined up on the rug at full attention, bookended by a bulldozer-grader and a dump truck, with a skid-steer loader waiting in the wings to complete construction. It looks like a levee. It may be a wall. I left it there, resplendent in the December sunshine.

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