The Book’s Right – It’s Not a Box!

The book title is right on point... it's Not a Box!

A few months ago, I got this really cool book for T from his Scholastic Club called “Not a Box.” As any parent already knows, kids LOVE boxes – and I mean LOVE boxes. In fact, it’s very hard for us to recycle or otherwise get rid of any boxes around here because T loves boxes that much. Well, I am happy to report that author Antoinette Portis portrays the love of boxes from a child’s perspective with unabashed perfection in this book.

See examples of how "it's not, not, not, not a box!"

Even so, I wanted to know more about the depth of this love, so I finally asked why T wanted to hang onto so many boxes: Big, small, long, short, deep, shallow, tiny, huge, flap-lid, latch-lid… yep, so many kinds! His answer was, “Because I want to make a dollhouse for girl diver.” Despite his several (not so gentle) reminders these past few weeks, I kept putting him off on this project with a smile-and-nod response, as I knew that it’d be all me making this house. That plus the fact that T’s housing plans were fairly grandiose for a cardboard box dollhouse. “The house needs a bedroom and bathroom and kitchen, plus a hallway, and a porch, and a front door with a doorbell, maybe a second level… oh, and furniture, too!” While his creativity and vision impressed the hell out of me, it all was just too overwhelming at the same time. I just didn’t consider myself the expert box-house architect that T apparently thought I was, you know? Translation: Lots of pressure!

More excerpts from "Not a Box" by author Antoinette Portis.

But then T’s birthday came around and he got a boy diver doll to go with girl diver; this only intensified the box-house requests. “Now we REALLY need to build that house, Mom. When can we? Can we do it today?” I’d tell T when we had time and enough boxes, we’d get around to it. Well, as I said before, the pile of boxes was overflowing, and now the daily demands were becoming far too constant, so I finally gave in.

The front door to T's "boy- and dollhouse."

This last weekend while C built the float, I got to work on the “boy- and dollhouse” (what T calls it). I started small and began designing the house with the largest box we had. I asked T where to put the front door and the windows, and next we outlined those and I cut them out. He then reiterated the need for furniture and other rooms, but I asked him to choose one piece of furniture that girl and boy diver needed first; T chose a bed.

Boy and Girl Divers (AKA Ken and Barbie) napping in their new bed. They also have about as many windows in their house as we do in ours... wonder where T got that idea?

To make the bed, I took a smaller box that fit both dolls length-wise next to one another and that fit inside of the house. I know, I know – they’re sharing a bed (gasp!), but whatever. T sees his Mom and Dad share a bed, which is where he got the idea that they have to share a bed in the first place. I then took an egg crate and made two “pillows” for boy and girl divers and asked T to get a clean rag for a bed spread. Voila – bed’s made!

The hallway I constructed for T's "boy- and dollhouse."

T next said, “Well since our bedrooms (meaning mine and his) are down the hall from one another, they have to have a hallway for when they get out of bed.” Really? Well, OK. So I took a long, narrow box the same height of the “house” box, cut a door in it opposite of the front door of the “house” and nestled those together to create a hallway. Of course, this now means the house has no door, but that’s OK. When T asks for a door again, I can just remove the hallway.

An aerial view of the new "boy- and dollhouse." More additions to come as T makes requests of his architect and contractor (i.e., me).

I realize the “boy- and dollhouse” is and will continue to be a work in progress, but at least I finally got over my architectural fears and started on this project. It actually is pretty fun to do with him (especially on a cold or rainy day inside)­, and I think T’s happy enough with it for now as the demands have tapered off. And while I’ve used up a good portion of the boxes from our stockpile, I know T hasn’t used up all of his ideas; thankfully I can just save up more boxes until the next time T makes demands of his architect/ general contractor (AKA – me).

The back cover of Portis' book "Not a Box."

One response to “The Book’s Right – It’s Not a Box!

  1. Pingback: The Best Things in Life Are FREE! Even for Kids! | Real Mom Time (RMT)

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