30 December 2013

Love Actually Is Making a Superhero Dollhouse For Your Kid For Christmas

It seems to me now that you don’t really know how much you love your kids until it’s 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve and you’re hand-cranking tiny hooks into the wall of a “superhero dollhouse” (that the wife and you have constructed out of an IKEA bookcase) to hang miniature keys, arrows, and “extra capes” on. (No, really. This is our life.)

Here’s the thing. In his infinite imagination (which, believe me, I am glad that he has), the Doozer mentioned a few months back to his mother that he’d like a dollhouse. But not for dolls. He wanted a place for his superheroes (and Star Wars guys and Scooby-Doo characters and animals and dinosaurs and knights and horses) to hang out. And sleep. And cook.

He’d played with one at his grandmother’s house and he was fascinated by all the little things in it, the food, the furniture, the accessories. But the dolls, not so much.

Thinking about the kid’s concept, my wife was inspired by some images on the Internets. On Pinterest, maybe. (Thanks a lot, Pinterest.) We looked at some actual dollhouses, but many came completely furnished and didn’t always seem to meet our needs (or rather, his).

So, we got a bookcase from IKEA with four cubes/compartments. The four rooms of the house would be a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room, and . . . a planning room. (We still haven’t come up with a truly decent name for this space.) This room would be like the command center and so it has maps, computers, binoculars, tools, a globe.

You know. For planning.

On the top of the house, we decided they’d have some grass and a rooftop vegetable garden, since the Doozer loves working alongside his mom in the actual garden. Since I’m a boy, I suggested that we should also have a landing pad up there. Hello? Where else is the Millennium Falcon going to land? Of course, the garden needed a white picket fence. And a cobblestone path connecting the garden and the landing pad. Affixing a miniature white picket fence all around the perimeter of a bookcase posing as a superhero dollhouse is one of the stranger things I’ve found myself doing in my life as a parent.

And since it’s Christmas, they would definitely need a gingerbread house and Christmas cookies in the kitchen. Not to mention their own Christmas tree, wreaths, and Christmas lights.

(Insert your own theory about our mental stability here.)

He better lose his mind over this thing, I started to think to myself. Although he did also get the Scooby-Doo Mystery Mansion, which for a few minutes on Christmas day seemed like it might beat out the superhero dollhouse as favorite toy of the year. Did I mention it comes with something called “goo?” This is a highly suspect material that I imagine might produce some kind of lawsuit in the future. (Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball!)

But back to that house. Did I mention it’s on wheels? Because it’s big. And heavy. Hey, what good is a superhero dollhouse if it isn’t capable of tipping over and flattening one of your kids like a pancake? I should say the wheels come with brakes, so that Little Brother doesn’t ram it into a wall or a door or a window. Which would definitely happen otherwise.

Did we discuss the extra capes? Or the gumball machine? Or the still from the Rudolph show playing on the TV in the living room? We went all out. Painstaking. Detail. This is what it’s like to be married to an artist. (Okay, so I got pretty into it, too.)

We wheeled it out at the end, after everything from Santa had been opened (or ravaged) and so everybody was a little Christmas’ed out at that point. So the response was a bit more muted than perhaps we’d hoped. (He actually seemed more excited about gummy candies he found in his stocking, but in his defense, they were one of the very first things he opened.)

I was just told (facetiously) that we were making other parents look mediocre. Which is all the praise we needed. Forget how much our kid might dig it, if we can make other parents look bad, so much the better. We got comments like AWESOME and AMAZING (their caps, not mine). Although, I think another word for it might be STUPID. Or CRAZY. Those also work.

And now that we’ve set the bar this high, we’re only going to have to top ourselves next year. Or just get used to disappointing our children, because I really don’t think we’ll be able to go above this one. We love you guys, but I don’t think we can find a bigger way of showing it.

Who am I kidding? They’re going to lose all interest in it in a month and six months from now won’t even remember that it exists.

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