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Do Boys Get to Play “House”?

April 27, 2015

JamesSamInPlayhouse

The little backyard playhouse had to be happy.

It was once again enjoying the pitter patter of little feet.

SamJamesTalking

Little guys Sam and James finally are old enough, and walk well enough, to go out and visit the little white and red playhouse that their great grandfather first made, and their grandfather, grandmother and one of the mothers helped restore.

 

Before2WithMichelle

The project had waited for years; it was sorely in need of a new roof, new siding and trim, and once they got into it, a few replacement rafters. Yet it is easy to put off such a project, especially when no grandchildren seemed imminent. But in the fall of 2012, Michelle suggested she take a week of vacation—she had more vacay time to use up than her husband, Brian, and come for a week and launch the grand playhouse restoration.

It would take us almost a year to complete, including moving the project indoors to the garage so work could continue through the winter. You can read the back story here, including the joyful discovery they made once they got into the inside paneling of the playhouse. We were also grateful for Uncle Brett who added some muscle as we carefully moved the finished, refurbished playhouse back outside.

P1040057Uncle Brett on the ground helping set up the restore playhouse,
with neighbor Harold (tipping hat) after moving the playhouse with his tractor.

But that’s history. Sam and James won’t understand all that for some time. I had observed how much fun both Sam and James had removing pots and pans from the cupboards in their own home kitchens.P1060807

JamesCrackers5

I knew they were ready to enjoy the pint-sized cupboards and the old plastic dishes their mothers and aunt played with.

SharingPlatesSamSinkJamesAndMomJamesDishes

Never mind boys maybe aren’t supposed to play “house.” In time, we fully expect the playhouse to become a hideout, a fort, a sleepover place, an anything-they-want-it-to-be hangout. And if they end up “serving take out” through the drive up window like their mothers and aunt, so be it. That’s how we’ll roll.

FamilyWagonEaster weekend, 2015, with Sam and James in wagon, James’s mother Michelle; 2nd row: Sam’s mother Tanya and Michelle’s husband Brian; back row: Stuart and daughter Doreen. Sam’s dad Jon had to work that weekend. Playhouse in background.

They, and other cousins who we hope may eventually join them, can use it and their imaginations to create their own worlds. Perhaps a space station. An underwater sea lab. A no-girls-allowed club?

How happy their great grandfather would be, to know the little playhouse is ready for a new generation. I know I’m very happy to have it ready for little ones again!

playhousefromgrandma2

Stuart, Dad, and 18-month-old Michelle building the playhouse in 1982.

Pitter patter. The march of generations goes on.

***

Does play across traditional gender roles get your affirmation? What have you observed in your children or grandchildren?

 

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From → Faith, Family Life

11 Comments
  1. My kids (boy and girl) loved to bang on pots and pans with a wooden paddle on our kitchen floor. I don’t think I thought of their play in terms of gender – they just liked the noise. Their families each have tree houses in their back yards now.

    I have noticed with the 2-year-olds I teach in Sunday School the boys tend to gravitate toward plastic tools and balls while the girls like the kitchen set-up with tea time plates and cups. They know toys are a free-for-all and girls could use tools and boys, dolls. Occasionally, I see one of the boys playing with a doll but it’s usually to take the clothes off. (Starts early!)

    You have lovely photo and a fine playhouse.

    • Marian, it is interesting what children gravitate toward. So often, even unconsciously, I think we reinforce stereotypes in how we respond to their play–including toward specific occupations.

      On that windy day before Easter, it was nice to play out of the wind in the playhouse! You can see the boys were bundled up. 🙂

  2. Pert Shetler permalink

    Great blog…great memories.

  3. Caro - Claire Wiles permalink

    A heart warming story to read and I am sure there will be lots of new memories coming up in the years ahead.
    Thanks for sharing this project and we will look forward to many stories to come.

  4. Beverly Silver permalink

    How lovely, Melodie! I read the previous blogs about the playhouse, too. Thank you for sharing so beautifully. Lucky little boys – in many ways!

  5. You had lucky little grandboys too! How fortunate they were to have you as their daycare provider all through their preschool and toddler years. A huge blessing! Wish I could do the same!

  6. That’s one cool playhouse! Our kids and grandkids aren’t as lucky, but they find lots of pots and pans and garage sale toys they love. So far, we haven’t run out of fun. 🙂

  7. Shirley, you can appreciate that Dad got the little windows and the tiny sample sink from the rampant RV industry in northern Indiana, back in the day. 🙂 It was pretty cool and he had a nice little cottage industry going for awhile making both playhouses and also smaller doll houses and barns. Creativity after he couldn’t farm any more. Thanks for chiming in.

  8. Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel permalink

    Such fun! It reminds me of the playhouse my father-in-law built in the 70s. Unfortunately, it is no more, but our home has an attic cubby hole play space where all my grandchildren, including my 4-year-old grandson have served me many cups of “tea”. He doesn’t do it as much as his girl-cousins did, but we certainly welcome it when he does.

  9. I love the attic cubby hole play space! That becomes a magical space too for kids to claim and let their imaginations run! Thanks for sharing, Elsie.

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