03 January 2007

of course

I caught them fighting over cardboard boxes yesterday. the bodies of the toys aren't even cold yet and they've turned to the boxes. oh yes, it was a scene christmas morning-- a tightly-wound ezra ripping into the box that held THE buzz lightyear doll-- something like high-pitched squealing and some frantic jumping and wide-eyed adoration over the highly-anticipated arrival of buzz. oh buzz. poor buzz. he was hot for about 72 hours but now lays prostrate in the corner of ezra's room. we occasionally hear him proclaim I AM BUZZ LIGHTYEAR I COME IN PEACE and it's like he's talking to himself. like he's trying to convince himself that he's as important as he ever was.

once ezra discovered that the box could be worn on his head like so, that was it. the box went with us everywhere. he wore it in the car, fell asleep while wearing it, tried to take on entire imaginary armies with it on. and once, while I was driving, I pulled it off his sweaty, sleeping head and put it on myself. I wanted to see what the big deal was. I'll tell you, I kind of liked it. or maybe I just liked the way other drivers reacted, I don't know.

though the interest in the buzz lightyear box has slightly waned, the desire for cardboard has not. two days after christmas, ava and ezra almost threw down over a flimsy strip of cardboard. it wasn't even a box (a good box is sometimes worth fighting for)-- it was a long, skinny piece of cardboard bent accordian-style. they both desperately wanted it and were ready to shed blood for it. and the words came flying out of my mouth before I could even think about what I was saying: ALL THOSE TOYS AND THIS IS WHAT YOU PLAY WITH? I'M CALLING SANTA! I'M SERIOUS! I'LL CALL HIM UP RIGHT NOW AND HE'LL COME AND TAKE ALL THESE TOYS AWAY! OH YES HE WILL! no, I'm not proud of myself but it was the voice of an exhausted, frazzled mother. the one who spent hours obsessing over the ramifications of so much barbie in her daughter's life, the one who went to four different targets to find the froggy rainboots for her son. she is the one who stayed up all night painting and decorating a small suitcase, filling it with supplies to make a special writing kit for her daughter. she is also the one who stayed up all christmas eve night to wrap presents and fill stockings and make sure that everything looked like it had been touched with the magic of santa claus (all in the fine details, you know). the words came flying out and I couldn't help myself. sounding like so many mothers before me and so many more to come, I know. and now I think I will run for Martyr of the Year because I am sure to win.

I'm over it now, I think. that is to say, I didn't lose it when the fighting over the boxes hit new heights yesterday. at least we've moved on from strips of cardboard to boxes, I thought. actually, I'm a little proud of the creativity behind the construction of ava's makeshift playhouse. I think maybe it's at the end of the day (that magic hour, you know the one-- from 5 to 6 o'clock) when they're both screaming over the boxes that gets to me. out of the corner of my eye, I spy (the now powerless) buzz lying in the corner. I know the contents of ava's new writing kit are strewn all over her bedroom floor and the barbies have been set up in the same position at the barbie totally real house (so TOTALLY real) for three days now. the fact that barbie's doorbell really rings, that the toilet makes a real live flushing sound, that the washer and dryer really spin-- the novelty of all that has completely worn off. ava has abandoned them to live in a box in the hallway with nothing but a lantern, her two teddy bears and her wits. the scenario is complete only when ezra beats on the outside of the box with little fists of fury and wants in. ava screams and I am called to duty. totally baffled, I shake my head in disbelief. and then I remember how much fun I had taking my mom's maxi pads and making them into twin-sized beds for my barbies. no toy in the history of the world can compete with the childhood joy experienced when making something from nothing. thus, the allure of the cardboard. how could I have forgotten that?

I suppose I should enjoy this stage. before the onslaught of video games and all things electronic. long live the cardboard, I say. long live cardboard. I've made my peace with it and am ready to get on with my life already.


  1. It kind of makes me sad that Buzz was lying alone--I've had a crush on him forever...

    ...but it is something that cardboard could be such a fascination! Fun story!

  2. oh andrea... the way you tell stories! [congrats on the whip-up mention today - so deserved!]

    but more importantly - i have an ORANGE longish box that may be of interest to your two little ones :) next year i say hunt for odd boxes and build them a fort [did you see what blair's husband made? a cardboard rocket ship! wow!]

  3. LOL, i remember this stage with our children. we would buy them the supposedly best toys money could buy only to find that they preferred the boxes. i was just chatting with a girl friend about our doll days. she use to cut her grandfather's socks to use as a dress for her doll and i use to cut my dad's hankerchiefs. then i wonder why one of our daughters cut the curtain cordes to use as hair ties for her dolls' hair (not to mention how she thought that if she cut their hair it would grow back!). thanks for the memories. :)

  4. I loved the story of the cardboard delights, but I have to say, I'm really intrigued by your mention of making the suitcase writing set. I'd love to see what you made ... any chance of a guided tour? Oh pretty please? :-)

  5. Awesome story. Been following your blog for a couple months now and just had to comment because I love that picture of Ezra.

  6. Ok, first of all Josiah has those froggie boots and they are in shreads. I am footing the extra ten bucks for LLBean lifetime warranty boots! Because I love my boy in boots.

    And then, I am so not worthy to know you oh Whip-Up Queen! How'd that-like-happen?? Who dya know? I want in!

    And then lastly, I miss you guys and love reading about your at-home exploits. Always a great read.

  7. Oh, my dear, your talents are immeasurable.
    That photo?
    The words you use to carve a magic little story?
    Even with the words 'maxi pad'?
    You are priceless.

    Happy new year to you.
    I promise to sit down and call soooon - so much to catch up on :)
    Much love,

  8. you are an incredible storyteller my friend! that writing suitcase sounds amazing btw! xo, m

  9. I have to say, though I don't often comment, I do read religiously and your blog never ceases to brighten my day, whether it's your photos or your stories...but especially the stories. I have to keep from laughing outloud, so as not to tip off my coworkers that I'm not really doing work!

    Thank you!

  10. i heart you andrea, i really do. it's TOTALLY real. and i have a small someone whose birthday is rounding the corner, who would love that barbie house. that photo of ezra is the best. ever. the gaze of his eyes......poor buzz. (= and i have to admit, that i really like cardboard strips, they make perfect mounts/frames for black and white photo strippies.

  11. geesh, here it is cardboard also. and laundry baskets. still with the friggin' laundry baskets....
    it's sad that i whip out the lb's for 5-10 minutes of sitting down.
    wonderful words, you make me smile :)

  12. what a great post. i laughed out loud. i love the photo too. my favorite is that you tried on the cardboard buzz box while driving. that is so awesome.
    I WANT a totally real barbie playhouse too

  13. I used to live in a box. It was okay, but there was never enough closet space.

  14. What a story-teller! Boy, your night before Christmas sure reminds me of another mother who would stay up till the wee hours of the night making sure everything was just right....you are a chip off the old block and a good one at that...Ava and Ezra have a lot to be thankful for...and i do too! You are a sweetheart! God bless you...

  15. I love it! You need to write a book.
    Look how cute he looks!

  16. oh, this is classic. i love it. i guess birthday presents will be easy this year, no?
    I have to admit the part i 'got' the most was about ava's painstakingly put together writing box being strewn about her bedroom floor.
    oh, can i relate. she'll come back to it, i'm sure. at least that's the hope I'm holding on to with some of the stuff i've made emma...

  17. i am laughing so hard right now.
    oh my.
    (taking notes. learning from the master.)

    the best part of this post is imagining you with the box on your head. while driving.
    i love that you wanted to see the world from inside the box. to see what your sweet ezra sees.
    you are so cool.
    fer real.

  18. so funny! i howled thinking of you wearing that helmet! and the whole process, i think i did say that too myself.....the toys they don't play with and back to where we were before xmas....

  19. We've had that argument(?) here..the long awaited pirates of the caribbean car track lies discarded and my boy is upstairs with his feet and lower legs in the box, his butt in the playmobil castle box 'canoe-ing' down the hallway with an unfinished roll of wrap paper. £100+ of toys and yep..he's playing with the boxes. (Me)"Oooh. What would Santa say?" (My boy) "Watch that rock Mumma, er...He'd be glad I'm recycling"
    Well, what could i do but agree, smile and walk down to pour a very strong coffee. life is good!