We’re moving house, a monumental upheaval that is making me sweat just thinking about the lists I have to write. But to distract myself from the enormity of the task ahead, I have started packing away completely useless boxes of stuff that bear no relation to the actual packing that is required. I know there is a voice out there somewhere telling me to face my fear and all that, but right now, I’m putting a box together of wrapping paper, random ribbons and torn tissue papers, lovingly marking it “present wrapping stuff”.
Anyway, there I was, rolling ribbons, when my girls came into the room. “That’s that” I thought, as a long afternoon loomed before me trying to distract them while I carefully folded tissue paper that will probably never actually be used to wrap any presents. But before I could say “Shoo”, Daisy spotted the large cardboard boxes. In she got and literally didn’t emerge for two and a half hours. TWO AND A HALF HOURS! Of contained, happy, non-needy fun! And of course it made me raise my eyes to the heaven – because once again my mum was right. “Why do you need all these toys? You buy them too much stuff – you’re spoiling those kids. In my day you played with a box!” Of course I would smirk in a condescending way – no child would ACTUALLY play with a box. That’s just folklore. Myth. Annoying mother-isms.
But no, I can now confirm, all a child needs to be happy is a box. And in case you doubt me, here is a list of the things Daisy has done with the box (might as well get at least one list off my chest):
· Decorated it with a choice of felt-tip pens and unfortunately a rather nice Estee Lauder Rose pink lipstick
· Played house.
· Cast away in a ship.
· Made it her bed (“sleepy sleepy box”)
· Filled it with things.
· Emptied it of things.
· Pushed Poppy around in it thus making it a pram
· Sat in it constantly asking “Close the box mummy”
· Took in her torch to explore.
· Opened the bottom and made a tunnel.
At one point, Poppy and I fed her grapes through the handle hole (“It’s a window mummy”) just in case she expired from boxed-in exhaustion. She is so delighted with her plain brown box it was the first thing she showed her best friend today on a play date.
So there you go. While my daughter is thinking inside the box, I’m having to think outside of it and get writing those lists. And if it all gets a bit much, I might just get in there myself…