I have this lovely friend, Robin, who, along with her equally lovely husband, Kyle , is expecting her second son in a matter of weeks. As I have stated before, I firmly believe that each kid deserves a shower in their honor, not just the firstborn (I am a 5th-born), so I knew that a shower was in order. Plus I adore Robin and family and have a soft-spot for adoption. All these reasons set my mind a-thinking about how best to shower the waiting family. Since this will be their second son they didn’t need more clothes or other baby-related gear. And since this will be their second trip to Thailand for an adoption they really didn’t need any new travel gear. So what to do? Then it occurred to me. What do all kids need?
Why, their very own playfort, of course!
For the weeks leading up to the shower Jim and I discussed at length what type of fort to build. I had in mind a mini-house, designed to look just like Robin’s real house. Jim said this was way too elaborate and impossible to assemble in one day. He suggested an A-frame. I was disappointed. But I poked around on the internet and found a cool A-frame fort that I could get behind. I got excited about the A-frame and put my energy towards that. Then Jim saw a picture in a magazine of a boat playfort and the pendulum swung the other way. “Let’s build a ship!” he announced. I rolled my eyes. An A-frame, I reminded him. A few days later he was looking up photos of Thai temples on the internet. Now he wanted to model the playfort to look like a Buddhist temple. Complete with gold leaf. And dragons. I pulled him back down to earth.
On Saturday we gathered 25 people at Robin and Kyle’s house to build the A-frame playfort for Tea and his soon-to-be little brother, Pea. This was a family and friends shower, with dads and moms and kids and babies and cousins and grandmas and grandpas and uncles and aunts and great-grandmas and dogs in attendance. As anyone who has ever attended a couples shower/family shower knows, it typically looks like this: the women are engaged and animated and involved while the men stand around awkwardly not quite knowing what to say or do. This shower was different because the men all had a job and each of them dove right in to help build the playfort. This all sounds horribly sexist, I know, but somehow the men seemed more at ease because they had a purpose and a common mission. It was kind of cute to watch them. Boys, bonding over lumber and tools. So cute.
Of course, the construction was quite a draw for the kids and they helped a lot with the hammering. With plastic croquet mallets. (Jill, please note the new use for your old table legs on the front porch.)
In addition to their building muscles, each family was asked to bring a fun add-on to the playfort. The guests stepped up to the challenge and soon Tea and Pea’s playfort was outfitted with a mailbox, a bench, stools, a tool box, a house number and welcome sign, a cleaning kit, chalkboard paint, Thai and American Flags, a welcome mat, and a doorbell. All of the items were quickly put to use.
The doorbell was a huge hit and gathered quite a crowd as Tea’s grandpa installed it.
After the installation was complete the kids had to test it. Several hundred times. It works.
By early-afternoon the playfort was built and all the accessories well tested. The guests went their separate ways and left Robin, Kyle, and Tea to put on the finishing touches. A mere day later they had stained the whole house and put up the flags, shelves and hooks. Here is the finished result:
Thank you to all the guests who came to help build! Now hurry home, Pea!!