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Any Old Thing

By Carissa Tobin

MON MAY 18, 2020

Does Little L need some new toys? 

Yes, she greatly enjoyed the extra Duplos that we got her at the beginning of this thing - for about a week. Then, inexplicably, she stopped playing with Duplos, except in the bathroom…

We considered getting her a mat to tumble on. But you know what she really likes climbing on? Axel and me.

An old white sheet was worn out and ripped, so I cut it up and put some pieces of it on Little L’s shelf in a basket. She loved it. It could make clothes for her stuffed companions or a blanket for her doll… anything.

Then there were the caps. I started saving, rather than recycling, the caps to things like peanut butter jars… Soon I had enough to put them together in a container on her shelf. Those kept her busy for a week. Eventually we made them into boats, using straws as the masts, which reminds me - those straws were a hit! She cut them up and pretended they were fish swimming in the river of her blanket. I just saw one on my bedroom floor today, even after I had vacuumed.

Blankets and bandanas are proving endlessly entertaining.

Then last week, she saw that we had a new jar of dish soap sitting on the counter. 

“Where you put the other soap, Mama?” It seemed she wanted it. Well, the recycling hadn’t been taken down yet, and I was able to hunt it down for her. 

It needed to be rinsed out, because, you know, there were remnants of soap in there, and I didn’t want that all over the floor. I am not a very laid-back mom.

I soaked the top in a bowl of water, changed it a few times, and pronounced it clean of soap scum. 

But it still needed to dry. Over the next couple hours, Little L asked me at least 6 times, “When the bottle is going to be dry, Mama?”

As promised, after her nap, it was good to go. 

Does this bottle remind you of anyone?
Does this bottle remind you of anyone?

I gave it to her and she began using it as… pretend soap.

She got a washcloth and was scrubbing the floor with the pretend dish soap. Of course, when a few drops of real dish soap somehow manifested, I had to clean those up with a real washcloth - or maybe I just used my sock.

She loves this little light her grandparents sent her.
She loves this little light her grandparents sent her.

Either way, this provided so much entertainment that she didn’t tell me, “Mama, don’t cook dinner! Noooooo!”

Later that night, she told me, “We should make something out of the bottle.” She’d been looking at a conveniently-placed flyer that came with those Duplos a couple months back and asking me why we didn’t have all sorts of things on it - namely the cute little house-shaped box it came in, which we had recycled. 

But now it appeared she wasn't trying to recreate that cardboard house. “We should make it into a Duplo person.” 

“Uh, okay…” Would we be cutting plastic? Didn't seem like a toddler activity.

These hangers were also a huge hit. She pretended they were trains - we have read the train book about 5 times a day for the past week.
These hangers were also a huge hit. She pretended they were trains - we have read the train book about 5 times a day for the past week.

“We could make it into a person!” She held the whole bottle up; perhaps we wouldn’t need a box-cutter after all. 

“Sure… who should it be?”

A few moments of silence, and then she announced, ‘Aunt Carrie!”

So even though we can’t visit our California family for the foreseeable future, coming soon is a dish soap reenactment of Aunt Carrie.

Plus in another few weeks we’ll probably have another empty bottle - we could add in one of the dogs, or maybe Uncle Max.

Cheap and easy entertainment. 

Small wins.