My boys love to play with my old dollhouse.
It is old. Forty-plus years. Yes, I’m dating myself.
But I saved it all these years, I guess, thinking I might have a girl one day.
I didn’t have a girl.
In fact, when I heard I was having a boy after our ultrasound, I cried. I called my mother in tears. I’d been a girly girl; I didn’t have brothers; I never played sports. What was I going to do with a boy?
Anyway, the dollhouse was stored in my parents’ attic forever and ever, and literally, the week after I got back from our honeymoon, my mother unloaded it on me, along with all the ancient family silver and china that she’d never used and stored in her attic – for as many years as I now will probably store it all in my own attic.
But about three years ago, the dollhouse came down. The boys were at that toddler age where I thought they might actually want to play with dolls. Don't all boys go through that brief stage? Even in Kenny's kindergarten class, he told me how all the boys gravitate to the Barbie dolls ("Yuck"). And they've always loved stuffed animals...
They didn’t want to play with dolls.
At that time, Ryan was very into tools:
So the first thing he did was try to take the dollhouse apart. He removed the stairs so that he could get at the door in the back where the battery used to be, for the lighting. We’d just had our own house rewired, and Ryan, at the tender age of four, had actually helped the electricians, pulling the wires down through the walls. Here's a great pic of him actually in the electrician's truck:
With baby brother Kenny forced into the role of assistant, Ryan ordered him to push this or that tool through the hole in the wall, pretending he was rewiring the dollhouse.
The next dollhouse phase was a Spiderman cave:
Then it made for a great parking garage and helicopter landing:
It’s been some time since the dollhouse has been hauled up from the basement where it is now stored, but the other day, Ryan asked for it when he was playing with his cars. By this time, the roof had come off, but made for a spacious ramp:
This has been the evolution of my old wooden dollhouse, from what it used to be when I was the one to play with it, when it was lovingly embellished with sweet, delicate doll furniture (it even still has the green flowered contact paper I’d stuck up as curtains, and a bunny picture on one wall).
I guess I’m glad I saved it all these years. And I'm not as sad that I never had a girl – it’s not so bad having boys! They don’t care about wearing those sequined plastic pumps I’d see even preschool girls wearing, on the playground (I often wondered how they didn’t slip and snap their tiny necks).
And as girly as I may have been myself, I would choose Spiderman over princesses any day; at least he can do wild things, like stick to the sides of buildings.