Monday, November 16, 2009

Our Secret Spot

What a great weekend. Miss M and I had so much fun on our playdates, going to the Big Apple Circus, and just spending time together. I'm lucky in that while she's an independent little thing, she always comes in for the spontaneous hug and loves to sit in Daddy's lap while relaxing, reading, or watching TV. Lots and lots of cuddle time. Savor it while it's there, right?
It was raining a good part of the weekend in NYC, so we had to be creative in our play. We had a playdate Saturday morning and visited the playroom in our building (SO lucky to have one of those), but for the most part my little one just wanted Daddy and Me time. Who am I to argue, right?
As you saw in my last post, we are right in the middle of the Princess phase. She has more princess gowns than I can count (grandparents and her nannies are great for that), so she wears one of them almost at all times. Lately, she's started asking for a castle to go a long with her shiny princess shoes and gown. For those of you in NYC, you get the dilemma already but for those of you outside, I'll explain:
Cost of living here is RIDICULOUS. Having grown up in the South, I have pretty good perspective. For example, my sister and brother in law live in a 4 bed, 3 bath giant house in SC on over 1 acre for about 1/2 the cost of a studio apartment in Manhattan. True, you do get paid more in NYC, but not that much more. You need to learn to adjust to MUCH smaller spaces. So when my little one asked for a castle, my first thought was "Christmas!" and I began thinking of those play castles she could crawl around in and use as her little private playhouse. Problem is, I have very little play space left in our little apartment.
So, first I went old school. Remember the "forts" you made as a kid by putting two chairs back to back and throwing a sheet over them? Credit Daddy for pulling out an oldie but goodie from the deep folds of my every forgetful brain. It was fun for a bit, but 3 year old don't stop moving, climbing, and fidgeting so the sheet kept coming off. Our princess was starting to get upset. Now, Daddy is a fairly experience backpacker with a couple of good tents stashed away, so I thought, "Hmmmm...setting up one of those might be fun for her!" Again though, floorspace is at a premium and even my one man tent would take up most of our space, plus those things are NOT cheap, and I could see my monkey breaking a tent pole and Daddy having no one to blame but himself.
Then, EUREKA! I had forgetten that when she was 9 months old, her mother and I took her to the beach for a week and had bought one of those little pop up sun shelter tents for her...and that I had gotten custody of it! I set it up in front of the couch, put some pillows in it, her giant teddy bear, and VOILA! a castle fit for a princess! She was THRILLED and crawled in with her doggie and laid there giggling with excitement. I wanted to give her space though as it was her new little place, so I sat on the couch behind her as she watched Pooh Bear and sang to herself.
After a few minutes she called out "Daddy, you ok?" What a sweetie. "Yes baby girl, I'm ok. How are you?" "I ok Daddy. Daddy come here?" with her little face plastered against the mesh window facing me. An invitation from my best girl! "Of course baby, here comes Daddy!". Jumping out of my skin with excitement, I crawled into the tent. My Princess gave me a big hug and then said "Daddy, you're here! Here Daddy, you share pillow and blanket." My heart melted. There we laid there for the next hour watching Winnie the Pooh (my all time favorite) and cuddling. Every once in a while she's just look at me and giggle "Daddy!" and give me one of those spontaneous hugs. I am the luckiest man on the planet.
Everytime we get together I think "this has to be the best moment I've had with her," and then she tops it. I know there will be a ton more of these moments over the years, some of which I may sadly forget. This one, however, has now been documented and burned into my memory. I really think it was the happiest hour I've ever had. :)


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had a terrific weekend. And kids need you, not spaces. (We live in a much "cozier" space than we had previously, and much cozier than the homes of my kids' friends - and it doesn't matter to them. To me at times (parental guilt among other things) - but really, to them, it's all about feeling at home.)


ZenMom said...

Aww, how sweet is that? :)

KiddosDad said...

I'm not even going to tell you how big my house is and how little my mortgage payment it in STL, I have plenty of friends in Manhattan so I feel your pain. I bought my daughter a Barbie tent at a garage sale and she takes all her toys, our dog, anything she can fit in there and spends hours! Kids love their private little spaces!

dadshouse said...

What a great castle idea you came up with! I totally remember being a kid, just stretching a blanket out between some chairs, and crawling under it, we would imagine ourselves in a desert tent, part of a caravan. Kids have great imaginations. You and your princess, both!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend! I, too, loved anything to do with tents when I was a kid - whether they be actual tents, or homemade jobs with a sheet and any heavy object I could find to secure it to random pieces of furniture. One year I even convinced my mama to buy me those tents that you attach to the top of a twin mattress. Like these: ... Boy, how I had a ball in my own little hide-away! I don't know if Miss M has a twin bed or not, but if she does, that might be a space-effective way to provide her with a little castle on a more permanent basis. As always, great to read your blog :)

Jas said...

I have totally done that. our couch folds out to a bed, and we do that for movie nights.

San Francisco is space constrained, but i am lucky to live a little bit away from densest part of the city. our house is 1100 sq. ft, for myself, my little princess and a large (lazy) dog.
House is overflowing with stuffed animals, princesses, babies and a 110 pound swiss mountain dog, she has a cage (called the cave) and an old couch. i am afraid to post the pictures i have with daughter and dog in the cage, but i dont keep her there overnight :-)

i am sorta in the market for some kind of castle. she has a doll house, which she sometimes plays with, but i would like to find some kind of tent structure that i can put up and take down.

Patty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patty said...

Hi. My daughters have a pop-up Disney Princess castle tent. They love it. We've had it since my middle one was about 3 and she's 8 now and still enjoys it with the 3 year old. It's great because it twists and folds flat, so you can put it away in a closet or under a bed. Here's the new version for 20 bucks at Toys R Us. (And, it will look great opened up in your living room on Christmas morning!!)

Anonymous said...

I love the oldie but goodies that my girl has found fascinating too! Forts? Check! My old tea set? Check!

Newest one? A deck of cards - we are making the houses of cards!! Remember those?? LOVE IT.

Anonymous said...

Love it! I got a folding house/tent that's meant to look like a schoolhouse for The Mook when she was 2. I love it when she and a friend will take all the play food into it for a picnic.

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