Family, Motherhood/Parenting

Secret Places of Peace…or Not

This blog has a lot of pictures…mostly of my daughter.  I made photo albums for all three of my kids this past Christmas, and of course, gave them the best ones…kinda like Mom always eating the burnt piece of toast! As Bethany lives 30 minutes from me, and the boys live in another province, I borrowed her albums. So, sorry to my boys, I do love you the same, and Bethany, you’ll be a star! 😊

When I wrote my blog about ‘Framed Memories” I got to thinking about how much kids like forts, and small spaces, and hiding. I did a little research as to ‘Why’? Now I realize you are all smarter than me, but I thought this made a lot of sense. If we think about how babies are snugged up until birth, and enjoy cuddles and the closeness and security of being held, then it stands to reason that would continue for a time.  “It is absolutely essential to remember that children need some time and space away from the adult gaze,” In their secret places, all kinds of imaginative processes come into play. At the same time, they are experiencing their first taste of independence.”   My mother-in-law would also say, “It’s because they need to poop.” Which is also correct.

I know all parents can relate to ‘fort building’. That really was number one with my kids. Chair forts, table forts, outside clothesline forts. My sister and I made a fort once with the eaves troughs from the house set on something…old chairs, or boxes…I just can’t recall. And of course, draped it with all of mom’s blankets. We made a bed inside and were going to sleep in it…all night. Well maybe she did, but I know I went into the house…probably about 10 minutes later.

B & C under clothesline
Bethany & Curtis in the clothesline tent

Pretending!  That was the name of the game.  Whether it was a place to play ‘house’, a fort to ‘ward off the enemy in battle’, a dungeon ‘for the bad guys’, a castle for the princess, it was always a place of great make-believe.

Other popular tents were the chair/blanket option (where you brought your stuffed animal friends),

Beth in tent


Or a snow fort! Built by Dad.

Snow fort
Bethany and Corey

Nana and Papa sent this foldable teepee style ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ tent, which of course, was a hit…because “it’s a real tent Mom!”

Tent 2
Bethany, Curtis and Corey

And liking small spaces doesn’t just limit it to tents…oh no…there’s the box option,

Beth in box

The kitchen cupboard option,

Beth in cupboard

The snuggle-between-the-chair-and-end-table option,

Beth behind chair

The read-my-books-in-the-closet option,

Beth in closet

The try-to-squeeze-myself-under-the-coffee-table option (where he fell asleep),

Curtis under table

And the, lay-in-Auntie-Colleen’s-suitcase-and-maybe-she’ll-take-me-home option.

Beth in suitcase

And so it continued…caves (I got all 3 kids in these next two!)

Kids in Cave
Bethany, Curtis and Corey at             Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park


Enchanted Forest
Kids at Enchanted Forest

Like all kids, my kids loved to hide, and of course, to play hide-and-seek. Sometimes some of their choices for hiding were…not the best…like when they are small and they just cover their eyes and think you can’t see them?  Yeah…those ones; so I used to help them hide.  Their most favourite places to hide were the dryer (which we only did with parent supervision, just sayin’, so no one calls the social worker); the hamper, which worked until they got too big or the bottom broke 😊; the shower, which thankfully none of them ever watched ‘Psycho’ or the now called ‘Bates Motel’; but the best hiding place of all? The storage cupboard above the stairs!

This was where I stored all our Christmas decorations. So, twice a year, once to take down and once to put back up, the cupboard was empty. Well, almost. This picture was taken after we had decorated the tree, then everyone had a bath, and climbed into the cupboard…because isn’t that what every family does?

Above stairs 2

This brings me to the last part of my story. One day I could hear Corey crying, and it was coming from downstairs. Here I find him in the laundry chute! Now, if you read my blog ‘Grandma’s Dumbwaiter’ I recalled there an instance where my sister tried to stuff me down the laundry chute…from the 2nd floor to the basement. Our house was only 1 floor and a basement, and I knew I would have heard any ruckus in the bathroom where the chute started, but I hadn’t. The chute was located in the furnace room, which we didn’t think was a very safe place for clothing to land, so the kids’ dad had built a ‘box’ for the clothes to drop into. The box had a little door (complete with a latch) to open in order to retrieve the laundry.  Inside is Corey.  I pull back the latch, (which is why he is crying because he can’t get out), open the door to take him out, and I’m not happy. He is 18 months old and I am sure one of his siblings has locked him in the chute. Granted, he did kind of destroy things they were playing with, but still…this was not good. I called Bethany and Curtis and they both insisted they had nothing to do with it. Now at this particular time of their lives, both had been going through a ‘fibbing’ stage, so I sent them upstairs to “sit on your hands” on the couch, which was a form of punishment in our house, “until one of you tells me what happened.”  I waited a long time. After snuggles and cuddles and feeling once again secure, Corey wanders off.  I was convinced they were not going to tattle on each other, so…I gave them each a spanking. (Yes, I spanked. No, don’t call the social worker.) Now…here’s the bad part…in the minutes that it took us to ‘discuss’ this…I realize Corey is not in his room.  (I sound like such an attentive parent…really, I was).   I look downstairs and there he is…in the laundry chute…again…while the other two were with me.  Uh oh.  And then I see the laundry basket. The little stinker had tipped the basket upside down, stood on it, and hoisted himself into the laundry chute. Oh dear. Upstairs I went, (head in hands), to seek the forgiveness of my older two, who, by the way, were not very happy with me.  I apologized, and apologized, and asked them to forgive me for not believing them. Thankfully, since they are such sweet, and understanding children, they did. And they even laughed when they learned what Corey had done. (I, on the other hand, felt extremely bad…made me want to crawl in somewhere small).

The picture below is the offending orange laundry tub Corey stood on.  Yes, we had it a long time. One more ‘small space’ that was used to have ‘some time and space away from the adult gaze…a secret place where all kinds of imaginative processes come into play.’ 

Laundry Tub

‘Just A Little Something’ I recall.

1 thought on “Secret Places of Peace…or Not”

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