Monday, January 16, 2012

{on imagination, and tiny kitchens}

This is not a post about amazing transformations. Your eyes will not pop. Your jaw will not drop. You might find yourself asking just what you're supposed to be looking at (I mean, apart from the cute baby). 

That's okay.

What I can show you is a broken old cabinet becoming a pint-size kitchen, while still looking pretty much like a broken old cabinet. 

But this post isn't really about kitchens. I've seen so many clever and beautiful little play kitchens that nothing really amazes me anymore. Oh, it has a fully-functioning stove that you built from tissue-paper and pipe-cleaners? What, it only cost you $74, and took sixty hours to make? That's nice.

This post is about imagination. 

Not my imagination; my big clomping parent imagination. That's what I'd been caught up in. Imagining what I could build, how I could have the most fun decorating it and all the cool features I'd like to add. It'll be all white with grey details -- modern, Scandinavian, she'll love it. No, I'll love it. 

Instead, we went with a bare little kitchen that I hope will let Tilly's imagination run wild. Our cooling rack, upside down, jammed where the drawer used to be. Wooden pegs and double-sided tape to hold up her apron. An Ovaltine pot for utensils. And... done. A zero-budget kitchen, built in ten minutes.

If she wants the counter to be a stove, she'll put a pan there. If she wants it to be a sink, a bowl. If, in a week or two she wants to add knobs and burners, we'll draw some on, or cut some out of felt. The point is, the designing is fun. And now she can be a part of that fun. 

I promise, this is not a post that is against fancy play-kitchens. I just about die with envy whenever we get to play with a beautiful shiny little stove, and raid a well-stocked mini-pantry. Aw, the tiny pizza. Aw, the tiny utensils. This post is against sitting around feeling defeated that you'll never make anything as good as the things you've seen online, though. 

And maybe that's something I need to remember about more than just play kitchens. We don't need to be the best of the best, the most original, the most creative. Sometimes, it's enough to make do. Sometimes, it's okay to be in progress, and let your unfinished edges show.


jean said...

perfect. lovely post, lovely child!

Ali said...

Amen. Great post - in my head it's called Pinterest paralysis. Much better to just get on with it.
She looks to be enjoying that kitchen so much.

Loreal said...

I'm sure she will love it just as much as she would love any fancy-schmancy kitchen! I keep reading about how we're supposed to give kids plain things so they can do the imagining and designing themselves, and you've accomplished that! Where did you get the plastic bell peppers? I've been hunting for play food but haven't found any I really like around here.

Nikki W said...

Very, very well said. x

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