Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Castle Building

Ellie's teacher sent home a note a while ago asking parents to make a cardboard building with their preschool child.  The buildings would then be put together to make a little community, complete with roads, signs, and the whole shebang.  (Apparently the word "shebang" is recognized by spell check)  All of this is for some at-home enrichment of their construction theme.  I'm cool with that.

My fantasy
Last night we finally got around to making Ellie's building.   She wanted a castle.  Because we have so very many castles in rural Utah.  Yeah.  Anyway, I'd wanted to do it when Eric was home because the idea of making something like that while trying to also entertain the toddler and the baby was...daunting.  And frightening.  And a paint-mess disaster waiting to happen. We had planned to make it on Monday when Eric had the day off.  Didn't happen.  The paper said they wanted the building "for the month of January."  What does that mean?  I assumed it meant to bring it before the end of the month.  My options for turn in dates were the 23rd, 28th, or 30th.  I'd have felt like the world's worst mother if the 30th were the very last day they had the community set up and it only lasted one day.  So I bit the bullet and we made it yesterday. yesterday was also Eric's quarterly user group meeting.  I hate those days.  He leaves for work at 6:30 am and gets back at 8:30 pm.  Boo, hiss.  All day long alone with un-napped children.  Because an un-napped two year old is a pleasant two year old.

Lucky for me, I had two small cardboard boxes and plenty of empty TP rolls.  You know, just in case I ever decide to free my inner Pinterest craft diva and make wall art.  Hooray!  Both girls can make buildings and all I have to do is strap my bottomless pit (seriously, the boy never stops eating) of a baby into his high chair and hook him up with a box of Cheerios.  Bonus points for mom.

For Ellie's castle I envision a building with turrets and battlements and windows and a drawbridge, much like the picture above.  She has asked only that it have a pointy roof.  I'm so glad she and I are on the same page about that.  Turrets need pointy roofs.  We'll paint it a shining white with lavender roofs and I'll die of mommy-craftdom bliss.  Ellie, however, has an opinion.  And the reality is never what we imagine.
The reality, designed and (mostly) painted by Ellie.  Not too bad for a four year old.
"Ellie, should we put some towers on the castle?" I ask as I'm slicing open the first empty TP roll.
"Are you sure?  Let me show you."  I optimistically place the sliced TP roll on the corner of the castle to show her just how awesome a castle it would make.
"No.  I don't want it."
Disbelieving, I grab her plastic princess castle and show her a castle needs round towers.  "See?"
"Okay!"  She is now enthusiastic about the tower.  Yes!  I ask her how many towers she wants as I get ready to slice at least three more rolls.
"I just want one," she says as she points to the corner where she wants it.  Dang it.  My eye starts twitching as my need for symmetry is completely ignored.  Four year old kids don't care about that.
"What color should we paint it?"  I reached for the bottle of white paint.
"I want yellow!"  Of course she does.

I let her paint at her own pace while I painted as much as I could as fast as I could.  Then I turned the blow dryer on it to speed up the process.  We did, after all, start this project about an hour or so before bedtime.  Smart.  Ellie told me what shapes she wanted for the door and windows, as well as the number and location of those windows.  While she painted windows I excitedly prepped the peaked roof for the tower.  Really, I was excited about it.  When I finished I balanced it on the tower.  Ellie informed me that the roof didn't go there.  Say what?  Well, at least she wanted it lavender.  Roofs don't go on towers.  They only go on top.  And then I was done.  It was bedtime and I had three kids to prep.  I still cut, painted, and glued on the battlements after they were in bed.  No self-respecting castle would be without them.  Not even a castle that thinks it's good fashion to wear a small purple party hat.

Now the castle is living at Ellie's school.  She was so excited to take it there.  Maya's castle is still here, obviously.  She wanted a tower on her castle.  Good girl.  She's even more opinionated than her sister.  Her tower had to go right on top and directly in the middle.  I told her it looks like a temple.  And now it's a temple.  We have a lot of those around here, including the one being built two blocks from out house.  Besides, a temple's better than a castle any day.

See the color choice Maya made vs. the temple's colors?  Nice work, Miss Maya.  That picture is taken from my driveway.  Knowing the temple is being built there gives me the warm-fuzzies, even if the cold and the inversion make for pretty bleak weather.  And chewy air.  Also, my walkway has developed an ice pimple.  Just so you know.
You should see the icicle that drips onto this.  It's not actually all that impressive.
It's a good thing the temple gives me warm-fuzzies because discovering dried acrylic paint on my table after putting down plenty of craft paper prior to painting makes me grumpy.

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