Seventh Summer: Crazy-mad construction

Another episode in the conflict between my obsessive-compulsive neatnik and the creative artist, with an inconclusive outcome.

Trying to keep a six-year-old occupied without swimming or going out into Saturday crowds, we considered house tents, but Gary wanted to build something with boxes. Getting off to a terrible start, Chloe grabbed one of the shoe boxes and started cutting it up before Gary could explain what to do. He got mad and said he was going to the pool, adding insult to injury (his injury, her insult). Around this time I received delivery of a suitcase I had ordered, so we had big new box for building. While Gary cooled off (in both senses), Chloe crawled into the new box with her blankie while I put groceries and lunch things away. I was not happy with her behavior either so I wanted her to stew in her own juices for a while, and the box was a good place to do it.

Stewing done, we turned the box into an animal hospital, using blankets, plastic syringes, forceps, swabs, cotton pads, ice packs and water to treat whatever ailed the babies.

Animal doctor

Animal doctor

Treating the animals

Treating the animals











Once they were wet, we tried a hair dryer but found the solar dryer much better.

Solar drying

Solar drying

While they were drying we went out to the pool and dangled our feet. Chloe made herself a leafy headdress while I visited with a neighbor.

The latest summer headwear

The latest summer headwear

Chloe got her big girl on and apologized to Gary, and they set to work making houses, using an abundance of duct tape, straws  and various boxes.

Is it a house or a robot?

Is it a house or a robot?


Chloe in robot house


After dinner they wanted to paint everything. I got out my acrylic paints and brushes–not the best choice, in retrospect, but the floor, light switches, clothes and furniture will eventually come clean, right?

Mad crazy painting

Mad crazy painting




GC painting









While paint flowed (and flew) in the dining room, the neatnik scanned the living room in despair.

Disaster area

Disaster area

Gary put the boxes outside to dry, but when she went to bed Chloe asked me to make sure they were brought in because she was worried about wind and “possums.”

The next morning the animals settled into their new homes. Chloe wanted to take the houses home (with Gary’s ok), and I’m sure her parents were just thrilled with bulky additions to their decor.

Animals' new home

Animals’ new home


animals in little house tight crop











Her new dad (who’s been in her life about a year) often remarks about how creative she is. I believe all kids are creative when given the time, materials, opportunity and encouragement. Chloe doesn’t spend much time in front of screens. I prefer seeing her make crazy, mad art.

And all is now cleaned up; my neatnik is happy once more.


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